Santa came early this year, delivering some great movies for all the good little boys and girls who are into comedies. "Fun with Dick and Jane" and "The Producers," released last Wednesday, are good answers to get away from all the turkey and peppermint candy canes.
"Fun with Dick and Jane" is funny but painful to watch if you've ever had money troubles or if you are a Jim Carrey fan. He is not phenomenal in this film but is not horrible. He is Dick Harper, and his wife is Jane (Tea Leoni). After his company blames him for their ultimate financial downfall, his own finances are in dire straits. His family is showering in other people's sprinklers. They pay their nanny in appliances, and they don't know what to do. Dick and Jane decide to go into armed robbery to pay for their essentials -- not a normal way to deal with money troubles. But as they get back to leading a normal life they realize they can't steal for the rest of their lives. There is only one evil person to steal from, and it's going to be big.
Jim Carrey is not as good as he used to be. Tea Leoni is wonderful but Carrey just isn't as funny. He has the same quality script, but his delivery isn't as funny as expected. Not to say it is an unenjoyable film, just that one little thing was noticeable throughout. Otherwise it is great. The situation is comical and provides some good gags, especially toward the end of the film. Directed by Dean Parisot, this film is rated PG-13. I give it 4 and a half out of 5 stars.
"The Producers" is another comedy out for the Christmas season. A musical film, it is based on the Broadway play, based on the movie based on a story by Mel Brooks. This time around, Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick star as the Broadway producing team Max Bialystock and Leo Bloom.
Bloom is timid, obsessive, compulsive, and acts like a 5- year-old. Bialystock is big and bold, not afraid of anything, and in the toilet. When Bloom comes in from his accounting firm to do Bialystock's books, he finds that a producer could make more money with a flop than a hit. The two decide to go into business together to make the biggest flop in history, "Springtime for Hitler."
Definitely a stage show. The choreography, the line delivery, and the pratt falls are all better suited to the stage than the screen. In the 1968 film, Gene Wilder portrayed Bloom as a timid wimp who comes slowly out of his shell. Matthew Broderick is a 5-year-old obsessed with a blue cloth and an irregular speech pattern whose character arc is so sudden it hits like a bomb. Even Will Ferrell isn't as good as he normally is. His character is great as Franz Liebkind, the Nazi loyalist who writes the play and is mortified when it is accidentally turned into a comedy. His character has such potential, and he wasn't as good as was expected by many. Nathan Lane was great, but everyone else had at least one problem. Though it has some problems in acting and blocking and line delivery, it is an overall fun movie if you put those things out of your head. Directed by Susan Stroman, the director of the Broadway musical, this film is rated PG-13. I give it 3 and a half out of 5 stars.
Either of these movies is a fine way to spend an afternoon. After opening presents, of course.