"Fun With Dick and Jane" first came out in 1977 and starred Jane Fonda and George Segal in what would become a sort of '70s period piece, a comedy saturated in the look and particular anxieties of its era. The remake, which stars Jim Carrey and Tea Leoni as an overextended, upwardly mobile California couple, has continued in that tradition, and for the first hour it captures with breezy humor and quick, goofy vignettes the angst of the upper-middle manager at the turn of the 21st century.
Dick and Jane Harper (Carrey and Leoni) live on a suburban cul-de-sac amid identical houses with swimming pools and flat-screen TVs. They're McMansion millionaires, with their assets tied up in an overpriced, underbuilt house and a fat pension plan with Dick's company, an amorphous global consortium called Globodyne.
Dick is Globodyne's new vice president of communications, and his first task is to be a guest on a Lou Dobbs-like cable financial show. As he's fielding questions from the host and getting ambushed by Ralph Nader (who plays himself as only he can), the ticker across the screen announces the falling price of Globodyne's stock, the departure of its CEO and its final crash and burn.
Meanwhile, Jane has decided to quit her job as a travel agent, so that by the close of business on Dick's first day as VP, they're both unemployed. It takes a few months -- of Dick looking for work alongside other desperate white-collar refugees, of Jane trying to be an exercise instructor and then a cosmetics test subject, of their lawn being repossessed -- before Dick hits on the idea of stealing.
For the most part, "Fun With Dick and Jane" is a no-brainer with a brain, the sort of light, inoffensive comedy that's ideal for those days when you want your tough sledding outside the theater. Leoni, who proved to be such a comic gem in "Spanglish," does yeoman work as Carrey's straight person, toning down her neurotic blonde persona and being a good sport in everything from those painfully swollen prosthetic lips to a Hillary Clinton mask. Even as an instant forgettable, "Fun With Dick and Jane" has lived up to its title: It's fun, and that's fine.
-- Ann Hornaday