i saw a hermaphroditic porno once called “fun with jane’s dick” that was better than this. or was it the gay porn “fun with dick?” not sure. all kidding aside the worst thing about this film is the way it was marketed. the trailers made it look really bad and played down the elements of commentary that the film clearly has. there was one trailer that they showed far less frequently which hinted at the “getting back at the man” aspect and i’m now sure why they buried that one. perhaps i was in texas at the time and they didn’t think the anti-enron angle would play as well there…i really couldn’t tell you.
at the end of the film, before they roll the credits, they thank, by name, the heads of tyco, enron, arthur andersen, worldcom, etc. great stuff. there’s also a part where alec baldwin, who plays the ceo from georgia who gets away with the bogus accounting practices, is being interviewed about the employees who are suffering as a result of the fictional enron which has just collapsed. he’s out hunting while the news crew is following him and someone asks what his thoughts on the situation are. he says “well, i lost a lot with that company too. my heart really goes out to all the people who are having trouble getting back on their feet and who have lost their pensions. (pause) now watch this shot.” and he shoots at some animal in the distance. it’s funny, but it’s made more funny by the fact that he’s taking it straight from an actual event when our tactless leader (bush) was playing golf and talking about the war.
i never saw the original so i can’t compare the two, however i say that this one was better than expected. besides the business and political commentary there was some social material as well. one of the motifs of the film was the roll of mexican immigrants in the lives of dick and jane. there wasn’t a cohesive commentary, but the issue wasn’t avoided either, which says something. i guess this gets at one of the strong points of the film – its boldness. it wasn’t a really daring film, don’t get me wrong, but i was expecting something completely prosaic and i got a film that wasn’t afraid to poke fun at the president, show the difficulties of immigrant life, and call out business executives a bit.
the premise is fairly stupid, but this film shows what decent writing can do with a sitcom-ish plot setup. judd apatow (freaks and geeks, 40 year old virgin, etc.) is one of the writers and i’m sure he had something to do with this film not being a total flop.