Jim Carey plays Dick Harper, and Tea Leoni plays his wife, Jane. To say that Dick and Jane are uptight and rigid is quite an understatement – during the week, they look forward to Saturdays when they can have “spontaneous” love making. They live in an upper middle class neighborhood where everyone is keeping up with the Joneses and can afford to do so, with high-end cars, imported luscious lawns and Hispanic housekeepers/nannies to boot.
Harper is an executive who believes he is given a promotion as the new V.P. of Communications of his company, Globodyne, due to his hard work and perseverance. He’s given the promotion by C.F.O. Frank Bascombe (played by my favorite actor, Richard Jenkins, veteran of many Farralley brothers’ and Coen brothers’ movies) and by company CEO, Jack McCallister (played superbly by Alec Baldwin, who plays this rogue/scoundrel sweetly and with a southern accent). Dick’s wife, Jane, works as a travel agent and quits her job in light of her husband’s promotion.
However, Harper’s promotion is a sham, and he’s used as a scapegoat on a financial show, Money Life, to provide the company’s false financial projections. Harper is confronted with the company’s shenanigans on this show by the show’s host, and also by Ralph Nader. The company tanks, and so does Dick and Jane’s upper-middle-class world. They are forced to downsize to the extreme, and there are so many priceless scenes regarding their downsized lives, loss of material possessions (did you know that lawn can be repossessed?) and attempts at finding any type of work to pay the bills.
This is a fun romp of a movie, and very timely now given the nosedive in the economy and further layoffs suffered by both working class and executives alike. It’s a well crafted story and script, co-written by Judd Apatow and one of his funnier endeavors. Some of the scenes are perfect for Carey’s physical humor. Leoni keeps up with him quite well. It’s not exactly a happily-ever-after ending, but it is a good one if you like making those in power responsible for their actions.
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