Fun with Dick and Jane
Might contain spoilers.
This is a great film. The funny, mildly insightful, and reasonably intelligent script is elevated by good direction that lets its excellent cast shine. Jim Carrey and Téa Leoni infuse it with an unforgettable level of quality. They’re ably supported by the rest of the cast: Alec Baldwin and Richard Jenkins are obvious highlights, but I must also mention Carlos Jacott as Oz, the friend who goes to jail, and Aaron Michael Drozin as Billy, the son who’s a little too influenced by his nanny for his parents’ liking.
The slapstick is first rate. This is how smart directors wield Jim Carrey: to take a generic man-wronged-by-the-system role and transform it into a living, breathing person whose exaggerated oddities only make him more recognizably human. The moment this occurred to me was when Dick crosses a wet street early in the movie and, rather than simply walk, skates across it with glee. The sequence of him setting up chairs and performing acrobatics is also effective only thanks to Jim Carrey.
While I could rave endlessly on that subject, it’s important to talk about Téa Leoni. It would have been easy for Jane to be completely overshadowed by the larger-than-life Dick. Instead, apart from the moments where the script forcibly subdues the character, Jane matches him beat for beat with the force of her own unique personality.
My favourite scene might be Frank repeatedly running away only for Dick to tackle him; really, everything about the drunken Frank had me in splits, like how he ends his explanation of the company’s bankruptcy by abruptly slapping Dick and laughing with satisfaction. On the other hand, I can’t forget the amazing scene of Dick and Jane robbing a man while wearing voice modulators and odd costumes that they just can’t stop playing with.