Starring: Ben Stiller, Jack Black, Rachel Weisz, Amy Poehler and
Directed by: Barry Levinson
speaking? Envy creeps up in you
for the people in the next theater watching another film! No.
Envy is not that bad - close - but it's no rotten kielbasa
sausage left on the third shelf for a couple of months -Tom Greenified
reeking poopfest. Still it is not the finest work Ben Stiller
or Jack Black have done. The draw to the film is the outstanding
performance by Christopher Walken - he is positively hilarious
and worth the credit card debt to take the whole family to the
Tim (Ben Stiller) and Nick (Jack Black) are bestest
friends. Heck they even live next door to each other and their
kids are best friends. Nick's a wild-eyed dreaming sort; constantly
scheming up new inventions and unusable products. While Tim's
more of a glazed-eyed worker bee sort ; content with his generic
Nick dreams up a product that can va-poo-rize dog poop, the Negative
Nelly within Tim figures it's just another fantastical Nick brain
tick and declines a 50/50 inclusion in the fledgling product's
Nick's product (via clever info-mercials) skyrockets to wealth.Tim,
on the other hand, is still a schlub. And on top of being a upper
eschelon schlub, now has the pleasure of watching his best friend
and family get it all - even the regulatory rich man with no class
humongoid mansion, designed in early doggie style rococo (thanks
to "fine art" by graphics designer Martin Charles).
Nick's mansion of interior design horrors, comes complete with
a bunch of Kane-ish size rooms riddled with flamboyant 30 foot
marble Grecian statues of himself - and more dogs - the obligatory
min-bowling alley and a 1600 square foot bed in the master bedroom
draped in crushed velvet. He invented VapPooRize
even as gaudy as Nick's tangible items are, the "envy"
erupts within Tim and things come to a crispy green-colored head.
spirals; he gets fired, his family leaves him, and he slinks into
a local bar to drown his personality. Here he meets the J-Man
(Christopher Walken). The J-Man is not really a nice guy - heck
he's not even sane. But Tim needs a friend right now - preferably
a poor down and out one - and the J-Man supplies the void. He
also supplies the best parts of the film
Nick and Tim's friendship survive wealth? Will Jack Black, err,
Nick bust a blood vessel jumping around like a rabid Loris monkey?
I'm a big Stiller fan it's no secret (my laminated lifelong member
to the Intl. Stillerians Society is firmly within my wallet),
but the film lacks oomph and that "thing" found in buddy-gone-awry
flicks that you find in the likes of say a Dumb and Dumber,
a film that also went off the map of reality, yet we cared for
the silly palookas and their friendship woes.
Black's a funny guy. But whisping his hair into a Heat Meiser
point and dressing him in leopard print Heffner-y robes doesn't
not a performance make. The filmmakers just kind of exorcize his
patented demons here as Stiller saddy-cakes about looking very
ghost-of-Christmas-future Jerry Stillerish physique-wise. They
also feel the need to drag a dead animal around for the sake of
a (drawn-out) giggle - that caca never goes over well with me
as a reviewer or human...the film just doesn't work
does. It may just be his funniest (purposely) role to date.
recommendation: Pocket Flan and Vandermark Wine