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DVD Reviews

HTF REVIEW: Fun With Dick & Jane (2005)



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#1 of 11 OFFLINE   Aaron Silverman

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Posted April 14 2006 - 06:34 PM

Posted Image
Fun With Dick And Jane

US Theatrical Release: December 21, 2005 (Sony Pictures/ Columbia Pictures)
US DVD Release: April 11, 2006
Running Time: 1:30:44 (The film skips ahead 1:24 at the very beginning) (28 chapter stops)
Rating: PG-13 (Brief Language, Some Sexual Humor and Occasional Humorous Drug References)
Video: 2.40:1 anamorphic, 1.33:1 non-anamorphic (Extra Features: 1.78:1 non-anamorphic & 1.33:1 non-anamorphic)
Audio: English DD5.1, French DD5.1 (Extra Features: English DD2.0)
Subtitles: English, French (Extra Features None)
TV-Generated Closed Captions: English (Extra Features: None)
Menus: Not animated.
Packaging: Standard keepcase; insert features cover images from other Sony Pictures titles on both sides.
MSRP: $28.95

THE WAY I FEEL ABOUT IT: 3/5

Dipping once again into the bottomless well of remakes, Sony has drawn a bucket of water that, thankfully, isn’t rancid. Far from it, in fact. This time, we revisit a relatively forgotten mid-‘70s comedy that featured George Segal and Jane Fonda, replaced here with Jim Carrey and Tea Leoni. The talented leads get to work with a decent script, and the result, while no classic, is much more entertaining than one might expect.

In a nod to the corporate scandals of recent years, the setup involves young up-and-coming executive Dick Harper (Carrey) losing his job when his high-flying corporation tanks. The timing couldn’t be worse, as he’s just convinced his wife Jane (Leoni) to quit her stressful position at a travel agency, and they’re in the process of spending a small fortune on home improvements. In a flash, they go from McMansions and Beemers to an income of zero. With mounting bills and a young son to support, they need cash – and fast.

Although the marketing campaign for Fun With Dick And Jane would lead one to believe that the bulk of the film involves a Bonnie & Clyde-like series of bumbling capers, Dick and Jane’s life of crime only takes up a few minutes of screen time. They begin with far less edgy attempts to find normal work, which, combined with various over-the-top schemes for saving pennies, provide a lot of laughs. Their gradual descent into desperation makes their eventual turn to robbery believable (so to speak) while keeping them likeable. The capers never get too violent, and maintain a constant undercurrent of humor, so the potentially dark subject matter never detracts from the light, comic atmosphere.

There’s nothing here that’s going to blow anyone away – this picture is light, silly fun. But for what it is, it works. It doesn’t forget to be funny while it resolves the plot with a climactic con job, which already gives it a leg up on many similar comedies. Most of the humor works pretty well, and some of the gags are truly inspired. Carrey and Leoni are near the top of their game here. Who knows – maybe it’ll get remade again in another 30 years. In the meantime, this edition hits the mark.


THE WAY I SEE IT: 2/5

Every now and then, someone at Sony gets the bright idea to put both widescreen and fullscreen versions of a film on a single disc. On the same side. Fun With Dick And Jane is so short that the effect isn't as brutal as it might have been, but the image is still pretty disappointing. Most of the time, the bitrate is quite low, with detail to match, and various digital artifacts make a mess of the picture. On the plus side, colors are lifelike and blacks are solid. Interestingly, there are brief spikes in the bit rate during some scenes, which look much better than the rest of the film. For example, some shots around a swimming pool display very nice-looking water. Too bad they didn’t leave out the pan & scan layer and make the whole movie look that good.


THE WAY I HEAR IT: 4/5

The audio fares much better than the video. The sound is rich and clear, with a nice balance of dialogue, music and effects. The LFE is put to good use to give the track some extra kick. The only negative, really, is the amplitude (or lack thereof) of the rear channels. While the music is essentially just a front stereo mix, there are various ambient sounds back there. However, they’re easy to miss unless the volume is cranked way up.


THE SWAG: 2/5 (rating combines quality and quantity)

Commentary With Director Dean Parisot, Co-Writer Judd Apatow and Co-Writer Nicholas Stoller

The commentary is on the chatty side. Come to think of it, that’s a bit of an understatement. The participants ramble on about all sorts of anecdotes, only occasionally discussing the film itself. Fortunately, these guys are amusing enough that the track is listenable, but don’t expect to learn very much about the making of this movie.

Gag Reel (3:05)

Better than most, thanks to Mr. Wacky himself. Minimal random crackups as opposed to honestly funny ad-libs.

Deleted Scenes

Six deleted scenes are included, running a total of about 11 minutes. For the most part, they aren’t that exciting, but they do have their moments. One in particular, wherein Dick battles a security guard in a toy store, is quite hysterical.

Press Junket Highlights (3:55; jumps ahead 1:24 at the beginning; 1.33:1 non-anamorphic)

These are highlights from EPK interviews with Jim Carrey and Tea Leoni (you know, the ones that get repeated on various tabloid shows, intercut with each show’s host asking the same pre-answered questions). It’s much better than it sounds, as they get pretty nuts. Some of this stuff ain't getting anywhere near Access Hollywood.

Trailers

When the disc is first inserted, the trailers for Click, Memoirs Of A Geisha and The Benchwarmers play automatically. They may be skipped.
  • The DaVinci Code (The one with the big spoiler in it) (2:32) (DD5.1; 1.85:1 anamorphic)
  • Click (2:32) (DD5.1; 1.78:1 anamorphic)
  • The Benchwarmers (2:58; jumps ahead 1:14 at the beginning) (DD5.1; 1.78:1 anamorphic)
  • Marie Antoinette (1:46) (DD5.1; 1.78:1 anamorphic)
  • Rent (TV Spot) (0:32) (DD2.0; 1.85:1 non-anamorphic)
  • The Legend Of Zorro (TV Spot) (0:32) (DD2.0; 1.85:1 non-anamorphic)
  • The Fog (2005) (TV Spot) (0:17) (DD2.0; 1.85:1 non-anamorphic)
  • Into The Blue (TV Spot) (0:17) (DD2.0; 1.33:1 non-anamorphic)
  • Spanglish (TV Spot) (0:17) (DD2.0; 1.85:1 non-anamorphic)
  • Memoirs Of A Geisha (TV Spot) (0:32) (DD2.0; 2.35:1 non-anamorphic)
  • The James Bond Ultimate Collection (1:43) (DD2.0; 1.85:1 non-anamorphic)
  • Cutting Edge: Going For The Gold (1:37) (DD2.0; 1.78:1 anamorphic)
SUMMING IT ALL UP

The Way I Feel About It: 3/5
The Way I See It: 2/5
The Way I Hear It: 4/5
The Swag: 2/5


Admittedly, expectations were pretty low for this one, but Fun With Dick & Jane is an above-average comedy that manages to maintain the funny throughout its short 85-minute running time. As for the A/V quality of the disc, well – let’s just say that it sounds really nice. Hopefully Sony will nix the 2-versions-on-a-single-side practice, at least until Blu-Ray provides sufficient storage for it to not compromise the picture. With a fine cast, jokes that score, and extra features that are good for a few extra chuckles, Fun With Dick & Jane isn’t a bad choice if you’re in the mood to laugh.
"How wonderful it will be to have a leader unburdened by the twin horrors of knowledge and experience." -- Mr. Wick

#2 of 11 OFFLINE   Carl_G

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Posted April 15 2006 - 02:03 AM

Thanks for the review, too bad for the video quality. Good funny movie when I saw it in theater, and sure I'm not hoping for a reference disc, but Sony shouldn't botch it with such low bitrate. Especially when home equipment now outshines most theater equipment.

I'll pick this one up for the extras. Maybe good movie to have a few beers to the point where I don't care about the PQ Posted Image .

If nothing else, at least this won't be yet another case of my wife coming home getting us all fired up for a movie night only to discover she grabbed the full screen version. Of course we men would never do that.....

Leads me back to the thought I had a while back - since it's all digital, why not a layer of data that overlays the entire movie that simply gives the pan-and-scan coordinates, the player picks up on that and sends a full screen pic from the widescreen source?

Off to the patent office...

#3 of 11 OFFLINE   Yumbo

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Posted April 15 2006 - 03:12 AM

Recommended movie, esp. the robot mimic scene.
Video is fine, just not stellar.

#4 of 11 OFFLINE   Tim Glover

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Posted April 15 2006 - 06:43 AM

Nice review Aaron. Too bad about the video quality. Sony has been rather inconsistent for sure. Perhaps they are busy doing their Blu-Ray transfers. Posted Image Regardless, I bought this already but haven't given it a spin yet.

Funny movie, sometimes un-even...but still pretty solid. Posted Image

#5 of 11 OFFLINE   TedD

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Posted April 16 2006 - 02:29 AM

Thanks for the heads-up on video quality. Just cancelled my order.

Ted

#6 of 11 OFFLINE   Yumbo

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Posted April 16 2006 - 07:23 AM

Rent it and see for yourself about PQ.
Looked acceptable on a 185" projection.

#7 of 11 OFFLINE   Aaron Silverman

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Posted April 17 2006 - 06:38 AM

Glad you enjoyed the review, guys! Sorry it's shorter than usual. The screener arrived late and I wanted to get the writeup online as quickly as possible.

Ted, I don't know how sensitive you are to PQ, but I don't know if I'd call it bad enough to justify cancelling your order if you like this movie. It didn't stand up to close scrutiny, but I wouldn't say it was distractingly bad, for the most part.
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#8 of 11 OFFLINE   Jason_V

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Posted April 17 2006 - 07:17 AM

The future "in-laws" gave it a thumbs up when they saw it on Christmas, so it'll go on the "To Netflix" list.

#9 of 11 OFFLINE   jonathan_govols

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Posted April 17 2006 - 08:00 AM

I really enjoyed this film more than I thought I would. It was kinda different from Carrey's other comedies, but I can't put my finger on how. I want to say this is more grounded in reality, but it's really not. Maybe it's just that the characters feel more real. I don't know.

Granted this is not in the upper echelon of Carrey comedies, IMO. But it's a solid film that is fun to watch. It would be like a B+ for me.

#10 of 11 OFFLINE   Sam Davatchi

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Posted April 18 2006 - 02:03 AM

Quote:
I really enjoyed this film more than I thought I would. It was kinda different from Carrey's other comedies, but I can't put my finger on how.
Well, it's because it's not just a light comedy. It has drama and it's more of a black comedy, not a happy good feeling movie.

#11 of 11 OFFLINE   Carlo Medina

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Posted April 18 2006 - 10:46 AM

Sucks about the image quality--that kept me from purchasing this sight-unseen despite liking both lead actors. With HD/BluRay nearly here, it no longer makes sense to purchase major studio releases (as opposed to smaller films which may never make it to HD) that have less than great PQ.

Of course this is SONY, so either a BluRay will come, or the inevitable Sony Double (Triple/Quadruple) Dip.

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