Sunday, December 25, 2005

Movie Review: Fun with Dick and Jane

Now THIS is crisis management for couples!

So Fun with Dick and Jane was my Christmas movie this year. I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised and encouraged. I heard some critics say that they found it difficult to root for a couple that would rob small businesses. But really the movie was so light hearted that it didn't take too much suspension of disbelief to excuse this minor slip-up. After all, they could have just as easily robbed big name gas stations and big name coffee shops. And in the end the robberies' role in the movie wasn't all that big. Besides, the couple commented that they would try to give back to society, which they did in the end, sort of.

I went into this movie thinking that it would be all about these two committing dozens of robberies, like a comedic Bonnie and Clyde duo. But it was actually more about how they coped with the Enron like situation they were in. I felt that this movie illustrated very beautifully how a husband and wife should cope with hardship. Now understand that I don't mean that couples today should start robbing neighborhood mom and pop shops. What I mean is that couples should look to each other for strength. The beauty of this movie was that no matter what happened, the couple remained unified. Very refreshing for a Hollywood movie.

Everything that affected one spouse affected the other spouse. Each situation that came up, they handled TOGETHER. When Dick got his promotion he encouraged his wife to quit the job she hated. It was so beautiful. I felt such love when Dick brought this up. And she was so appreciative that he could provide that for her, even if it didn't work out in the end. Hmmm... Why couldn't she get her job back? They didn't explain that. But let's get back on topic.

The couple showed more and more love and unity the more desperate the situation got. The most disconnected the couple were was when Dick robbed the neighborhood lawns of patches of grass so he could have his own lawn back. But this event actually displayed an already strong sense of unity. When Jane woke up in the morning and Dick showed her their new lawn, he treated the entire grass crime spree as if it was a wonderful present for his wife. It was almost as if he did it all for her. It was a very touching moment. And she loved the new lawn, even though we as the audience knew that it looked utterly horrible.

And finally, later on when Dick decided to go rob a store for the first time, she jumped out of bed to tag along, jokingly saying, "I have to see this. You need a wheelman don't you?" Hilarious. It might seem a bit thin of an excuse to explain why the wife tagged along for a robbery when most wives would try to stop her husband. But really it wasn't so out of place. They really laid the groundwork... they spent good time to develop the desperation necessary to convince me that this couple WOULD resort to crime to pay the bills. It took only a small leap to force them over the edge. Granted, Dick's leap was a bit more dramatic and logical and Jane went over the line much easier when most wives would be more resistant, but really it didn't bother me all that much.

My only real complaint is that the bad guy didn't get it in the end. Yeah, he lost money, but he wasn't arrested or even embarrassed. He was actually a hero in the end. Not good. He's the bad guy for goodness sake! Oh, also Dick and Jane didn't really seem to make amends for their crimes.

To sum up, this movie was about a strong unified couple dealing with crisis. It used a rather Cliché device (Enron) to give the story some rather unnecessary relevance, but I'm sure many victims of the Enron scandal got a lot of release by watching it, and it did give a good backdrop for the story. The flaws were few and minor and overall the feeling I got from this movie was very positive because the duo and chemistry between Dick and Jane was very good. I believed that they were married. I believed that they loved being married to each other and I believed that they would grow through struggle. 7 stars from me. And that's pretty good for a comedy.

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