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Fun with Dick and Jane (7/10)

by Tony Medley

One day when I was a corporate counsel, an executive walked into my office and gave me some facts about an employee and then asked if he could fire him. I said that the facts didn’t justify termination and asked what the problem was. He said, without a trace of remorse, that the man had been diagnosed with cancer and he didn’t want the company to be stuck with his medical bill, which would probably be large. I told him to get out of my office and that I would monitor the employee and if I discovered that he had been terminated there would be severe consequences. While most corporate executives with whom I came in contact were ethical people, there were still many who were avaricious louses.

Another case in point was Steve Ross, who was CEO of Time Warner in the early 1990s. He fired 2,000 employees and then gave himself a bonus so large that it would have paid the salaries of all 2,000 for 2 years! Or Jack Welch the legendary head of General Electric, who, when he retired, took perks that would have made King Solomon blush. These are only a few examples that explain my feeling that the only things that could have turned me into a Communist were corporate executives.

This movie, which is a funny comedy, is a scathing indictment of the corruption, greed, and selfishness of corporate executives. In fact, it gives credit to a long list of corporate malfeasors in the closing credits, including people like Dennis Kozlowski, the notorious CEO of Tyco, and, of course, a whole slew of people from Enron.

Dick (Jim Carrey) is on the slow track to corporate success, but today’s the day when he’s going to be promoted to a Vice President of Globodyne by Frank Bascombe (Richard Jenkins from HBO’s “Six Feet Under) and CEO Jack McCallister (Alec Baldwin, who seems to be embarking on a new career playing corrupt corporate executives). His wife, Jane (Téa Leoni), is a travel agent. An ambitious, upwardly mobile couple, they live in a nice house in a nice neighborhood. But just when Dick thinks he’s made it, disaster strikes and Globodyne sinks before his eyes…on national TV. With them both out of work and their net worth plummeting, they embark on a different path.

While Carrey and Leoni give exceptional performances as the beleaguered couple, Baldwin and Jenkins are equally adept as hateful corporate executives. The script (Judd Apatow) is tight and funny. Dean Parisot keeps the action well paced so that there is not one minute that drags. This is a comedy of ultimate revenge. At 90 minutes, it’s silly and enjoyable.

December 15, 2005