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Fun with Dick and Jane


Fun with Dick and Jane (1977)
Despite some contrived and dated plot elements, the 1977 comedy Fun with Dick and Jane is still worth checking out thanks to the wonderful performances by the stars that make the film seem a lot better than it is.

George Segal plays Dick Harper, an aerospace engineer who is abruptly fired from his job just as wife Jane (Jane Fonda) is supervising the installation of their new pool. Dick has trouble finding another job and the part time modeling job that Jane gets isn't enough to support their upwardly mobile lifestyle, the Harpers feel they have no choice but to resort to armed robbery.

David Giler and Jerry Belson's screenplay is rich with a lot of dated and predictable elements. It starts off as a relatively effective look at how the economy of the 70's had millions struggling, but becomes less effective as it starts to be a more cynical look at greed and what it does to people, taking some of the sympathy away from the central characters and the situation they are in. I love the scene in the Harpers' bathroom where they first come up with the idea for their new lives and the first few failed attempts at armed robbery were also very funny. Though the scene where they rip off a phony evangelist induces cheers, It was a little predictable that the finale finds the Harpers going after the company that fired Dick, which leads to a finale that is too protective of the Harpers.

Ted Kotcheff's direction is rather pedestrian and the exposition takes too long, but George Segal shows a definite affinity for physical comedy and, as she often did, Jane Fonda brings an intelligence to her character that wasn't in the screenplay. Mention should also be made of the late Ed McMahon, surprisingly smarmy in a rare film appearance as Dick's boss. The story is a little safe and predictable, but the stars definitely make it worth watching. Remade in 2005 with Jim Carrey as Dick and Tea Leoni as Jane.