The Black Comedy of 2005 Fun with Dick and Jane, starring Jim Carrey and Téa Leoni and currently streaming on Netflix, is actually a remake of the 1977 film of the same name. Although there are some differences, both films focus on a middle-class married couple who has to resort to stealing to maintain his basic finances after his job falls. The premise of both films remains an economic issue for Americans around the world, showing the lack of progress in creating reliable safety nets for hard workers experiencing sudden unemployment.
According to CBS News, in 2019, 40% of Americans were just one missed paycheck away from poverty, indicating that the hilarious and sad situation that Dick and Jane find themselves in could become reality for anyone. what a middle-class American. Surprisingly, the decades separating the original Fun with Dick and Jane of the remake and the current economy of the country prove that these questions are still relevant for ordinary viewers who may find themselves in a similar situation. The 2005 version of Fun with Dick and Jane poses new concerns, however, as the subjects of corporate greed and the unreliable real estate market stake their claim.
Although Jim Carrey has played some rather odd roles, Dick Harper is one of his most tamer characters. Dick begins the film with a promotion announcement, convincing his wife Jane that she can quit her job and stay home to care for their son. Shortly after, its CEO quietly sells 80% of his stock in the company, bringing the company down and leaving Dick jobless. The corporate collapse also plunges the economy into a recession, destroying the American Dream itself. Jane soon realizes that all of their pension, savings, and investments were tied up in shares of Dick’s company, which are no longer worth anything. The family once thought they were making smart decisions, but now they found themselves on the verge of losing everything they worked for.
This opening of the film might be of concern to many Americans, as businesses often close without warning, if at all. A company can go bankrupt overnight and hundreds of people can simply find themselves out of work. The United States witnessed this recently when COVID-19 first hit in 2020, forcing many businesses to close because they were on the brink of bankruptcy. Other businesses might have taken advantage of Americans shifting their day-to-day activities to stay at home, but the country as a whole suffered a huge crisis with unemployment and economic damage.
As Dick and Jane try to find replacement positions, they are forced to settle for low-paying jobs where they are treated unprofessionally by their employers. They are quickly losing those entry-level retail positions and their utilities are quickly being cut. Another relevant moment for Americans today is the employment situation, as many people have been unable to find work to replace their previous wages. There is also the issue of the housing market in today’s society, which is also mentioned in Fun with Dick and Jane when Dick suggests they sell their house for cash and Jane points out that their house is now valued below what they paid. They would actually owe money to the bank if they sold, forcing them into a tight spot with very few options.
In Fun with Dick and Jane, the titular couple eventually turn to a life of crime to make ends meet until they hold original CEO Jack McCallister hostage. McCallister doesn’t care at all that he ruined Dick and Jane’s lives, or that his decision ruined the economy. He harshly writes Dick a check for one hundred dollars, further insulting him. Dick then commits fraud, falsifying McCallister’s name to create a trust fund that supports the employees of the company he destroyed. McCallister could sue Dick for fraud, but he decides against it after being publicly praised for his philanthropy.
Fun with Dick and JaneThe ending had a light tone where the underdogs were finally able to win. This ending may not be the reality that many people in their situation might face, but the moment still brought catharsis to the film, leaving audiences with a sense of relief that Dick and Jane were okay. The underrated black comedy was able to bring light and humor to a rather serious and real problem that people are and will likely continue to face in society.
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