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Film / Fun with Dick and Jane

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Fun with Dick and Jane is a 1977 satirical comedy film directed by Ted Kotcheff, starring George Segal and Jane Fonda as the title characters.

Dick and Jane Harper are married yuppies in suburban Los Angeles. He's an aerospace engineer, while she's a dedicated homemaker. Dick makes a handsome salary, and both of them spend it as fast as possible (one of Dick's lunches costs a thousand dollars). Dick knows all his colleagues are engaged in bribery, but he's honest enough not to break the law himself. Both Dick and Jane are quite happy.

Unfortunately, Dick and Jane are idiots, and they're spending far beyond even their extensive means. They've borrowed against their house and insurance, taken all the money out of their bank account, and still have more they wish to buy. But aerospace engineering is in a decline, and Dick is about to be fired. Off to the food stamp line with them!

Until Jane sees a loan office robbed, and realizes just how easy crime can be...

The film was remade in 2005 with Dean Parisot directing, Judd Apatow co-writing the screenplay, and Jim Carrey and Téa Leoni in the title roles.

In this version, set in 2000 at the height of web-based businesses, Dick is an employee of one such called Globodyne while his wife works at a travel agency. They live moderately well with their son and a Hispanic housemaid. One day Dick gets promoted to head of VP communications of the company. He tells Jane about it along with making the suggestion to quit her job with their supposed increase in money. However, the next day as Dick does an interview on a stock-based TV show, he realizes he's been made the scapegoat for the financial failings of the company which he, of course, didn't know about. Globodyne goes under in less than a day, the employees are laid off, including Dick, and all lose their savings, investments and pensions due to them being tied up in the company's stock, which is now worthless. What's more, Jane took his advice and quit meaning both are now jobless. With a recession of jobs occuring due to the company going under, Dick can't get another job similar to his old one, and he and Jane are forced into trying minimum wage work. Unfortunately, they prove to be incompetent at it, quickly losing every job almost as soon as they get it.

After one misadventure after another and having to either trade or give away most of their luxuries. Dick, fed up, "steals" back their lawn (as before he was laid off, he was getting new grass for his house), giving him a small victory in his struggle. But it doesn't last as he soon gets a 24-hour eviction notice. Desperate times call for desperate measures and Dick sets out to gain money illegally. After inadvertently getting Jane caught up in the theft, the two realize they like the rush and thus their crime spree begins.

Was met with mixed reviews but did moderately well at the box office.

The movies have the following tropes

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     Both Films 

     Original Film 

  • Black-and-Grey Morality: If somebody in the first movie didn't commit a misdeed, it was because they were only in one scene.
  • Conspicuous Consumption: Very, very much true, particularly of Jane.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: The climax hinges on the slush fund Charlie keeps in his office, which Dick informs Jane about as they're watching him testify before Congress that it doesn't exist.
  • Disaster Dominoes: Jane is briefly hired as a model. When she trips and crashes into a cart covered with snacks, it causes a mild but lengthy version of this that ends by setting two tables on fire as Jane screams and runs out of the room.
  • Finagle's Law: Always, always applies for at least one character in any given scene. "Exceptions" come from one person's failure being another person's gain.
  • Genius Ditz: When Dick first evaluates Jane's work possibilities, she interprets his remarks as meaning she could only be a secretary or a whore, to which he responds "You're not qualified to be a secretary." Yet she shows a surprising amount of intelligence when committing robberies. (Dick arguably falls into this trope too, though he could at least consistently perform his job before he was fired.)
  • It Works Better with Bullets: Dick's third failed robbery.
  • Money Fetish: Jane in particular has an interesting reaction to stealing $200,000 cash.
  • Money to Throw Away: After robbing a televangelist, Dick and Jane find they can't ditch the cops following them, so they throw part of the money out the window. Every other car behind them, including the cop cars, stops and blocks the road as the drivers make a grab for the money.
  • Pants-Positive Safety: "If that thing goes off, you'll be going on this robbery half-cocked." It's practically impossible to draw the gun from such a space, though, and Dick's failure leads the fellow at the cash register to think he's trying to buy condoms.
  • Ridiculous Repossession: The moment that the Harpers' finances start to decline and their checks start to bounce, the company they hired to install some new grass and plants on their house immediately comes to repossess the aforementioned plants (yes, including the grass).
  • Swiss Bank Account: The local bad guy has stashed all his plundered money in an offshore bank account (it's never mentioned what country it belongs to).
  • 10-Minute Retirement: After the car chase with the televangelist in the original, Dick and Jane decide they can't take the pace of being robbers anymore, so they take stock and conclude they have enough basic necessities covered that they can retire from their life of crime. Then they see Charlie testifying about his slush fund on TV and in moments talk themselves into stealing it.
    Dick: Short retirement.
    Jane: Very.
  • Xanatos Gambit: The protagonists have successfully robbed Dick's former employer of his stash of bribe money, but armed guards are blocking the exit. They have all the money in Jane's purse. They've just called the cops and told them about the bribe money. Either their employer lets them past the guards with the money, or they show that money to the cops and send him to jail. He chooses to let them go, but winds up fired anyways—and Dick is hired to replace him.

     2005 Version 

  • Always Need What You Gave Up: Jane taking Dick's advice to quit her job as a travel agent really came back to bite them.
  • Anti-Hero: Type III
  • Artistic License – Economics: As part of his fraud, Jack had the 400 million he stole from Globodyne converted into US bearer bonds that he plans to deposit into an offshore bank account. In reality, the American government no longer issues bearer bonds since passing the Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act in 1982.
  • The Atoner: Frank Bascombe, the former CFO of Globaldyne, is guilt-ridden about his part in helping Jack McCallister in ripping off the company and ruining all the employees into poverty and is found trying to drink himself to death. However, Dick and Jane convince him to help them get revenge on Jack and help steal all their and the other Globaldyne workers' money back.
  • Batman Gambit: In the climax, after their initial plan falls apart, Dick confronts the CEO and demands that he sign a blank check. Knowing that Dick's threats are empty, he mockingly cuts him a check for $100 and leaves. But Dick reveals to Jane that he planned the whole thing: now that he has the CEO's signature, so she (an art major in college) can forge it.
  • Book Ends: The plot of the film kicks off with an unwitting Dick being made a patsy and thrown into a interview to explain Globodyne's collapse after Jack, the CEO, sold off most of the company's shares. The film ends with an unsuspecting Jack being thrusted into an interview about how he donated the entirely of his fortune (that, in reality, Dick and Jane stole from him) into a pension relief fund to give back to the employees of Globodyne.
  • Black-and-Grey Morality: More justified here as Dick, Jane and many of the Globodyne employees put their shares in the company. Thanks to the CEO's actions and the recession of jobs that followed, most of his employees were forced into crime just to survive.
  • Brick Joke: The beginning of the film establishes that it's set in 2000 just to set up the film's final joke. That being said, the film's entire plot is inspired by the Enron scandal and the ending joke just kind of hammers it home.
  • Capitalism Is Bad: This version is made of this trope, being inspired by the Enron scandal.
  • Contrived Coincidence: When Dick is mistaken for a Latino (due to a heavy suntan and a bruised jaw giving him a weird sounding accent) he claims he can prove he isn't to the immigration agent and tries to call home (due to his wallet having been stolen by another Latino). Unfortunately, his son, who was being taught Spanish by their housekeeper, answers "Hola" into the phone, which is all the agents need to deport him.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Even moreso then the original, Jack just screams this after the company tanks.
  • Expy Coexistence: The events surrounding Globaldyne are clearly inspired by the Enron scandal. The movie ends with one of Dick's old coworkers bragging about his great new Enron.
  • Fake Faint: As part of their bank robbery plan for their last heist, Jane steps through the front door and dramatically sighs to the floor while Dick loudly cries, "Oh my goodness, this woman has fainted!", distracting everyone in the room. For added measure, Dick suggests a security guard "loosen her blouse to let her breathe" in order to steal his security card. The moment he's in the clear, Jane immediately rises to her feet, supposedly revived. Since this is a comedy, the lemming-like response is Played for Laughs.
  • Hate Sink: Unlike Frank's remorse for his being complicit in the scandal, Jack is detestable Smug Snake with no redeeming qualities or any real motivation beyond extreme greed who never once exhibits anything but self-interest.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Jack spitefully writes Dick a check for $100 after confronting him in the final heist knowing what Dick and Jane were planning to do. In the process he unwittingly gives Dick and Jane his signature, which Jane then forges in order to carry out the scheme.
  • Hope Spot: Dick gets a call from a company asking him to come over, Dick thinking it's a job interview. When he gets there, he is dismayed to find a long line of former co-workers also waiting to be interviewed, but then he is recognized by a manager who tells Dick he does not need to wait in line. But then it turns out they had no intention of interviewing him or offering him a job, they just wanted to make fun of him and get a picture.
  • Humiliation Conga: To Dick after the Globodyne company collapses.
  • I Meant to Do That: A variant. Dick and Jane try to hide how poor they are, but even their lawn plants are under payment, and the company that they were paying for them out comes to claim them after the check bounces. Jane sees the neighbor watching, so she starts ordering them to remove the plants, claiming they put in the wrong ones and she wants them gone and her money back.
  • Involuntary Charity Donation: Dick and Jane forge Jack's signature to set up a relief fund for former Globodyne employees using the money Jack stole from the company.
  • Justified Criminal: Dick and Jane try to use every other options available to legally survive before they start their crime spree. This is also shown to be the main reason various other people from the company have turned to crime as well.
  • "Just Joking" Justification: One of Dick's earlier, unsuccessful, attempts at thievery involves holding up someone at the ATM with a (fake) gun. Turns out the guy was his neighbor and immediately recognizes Dick. He manages to get out of the situation by playing the whole thing off as a prank.
  • Just Like Robin Hood: At the end when Dick and Jane trick Jack into giving away the money he swindled from his employees.
  • Kick the Dog:
    • A tech company CEO pretends to call Dick in for a job interview, even letting him to bypass a long line of people queueing up for it. It turns out that he's just there so that the guy and the other higher-ups in the company can mock him and take more pictures of him for the 'net. Turns into a The Dog Bites Back moment when during their crime spree, Dick and Jane rob the guy blind, which leads to him getting fired or being forced to resign in disgrace in the process.
    • Jack not only tosses his entire company under the bus in order to become richer, when Dick and Jane confront him in the climactic heist, Jack coldly tells Dick (who is pointing a gun at him, mind) that he thinks he sucks and that he thinks so little of him that he will oblige Dick's request to make a check for him and makes it for the amount of $100 dollars, saying "this is exactly how much I think you're worth" before walking away.note 
  • Know When to Fold Them: Dick and Jane quit their crime spree after two former Globodyne employees botch a robbery job at the bank they themselves were planning on stealing from (which was meant to be their last one). It gets further strengthen after they see on the news other employees failing in various criminal activity as well.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Jack purposely bankrupted his own company in order to steal all the money from his employees. In the end, he unwittingly gives it all back. Even better Dick, who was made a scapegoat about Globodyne tanking and humiliated on live TV, gets even by having Jack announce his "charity" on live television. Sure to the public he's being altruistic. But to Jack, it just means the millions he swindled are now kaput. As the cherry on top, his net worth is now only $2,238.04, meaning that he is financially ruined.
  • Line-of-Sight Alias: Dick makes a phone call, sees some colored napkins in front of him, and comes up with the alias "Officer Redgreen." He also lies that he's from the "MVPDL", which he got from reading of bunch of letters from an espresso machine.
  • Menacing Mask
    • One of the robberies featured in the montage scene shows Dick and Jane robbing a Chinese restaurant while wearing full-head rubber masks of Bill and Hilary Clinton. Played for Laughs when the clerks don't treat them with any suspicion and actually seem to happily welcome them until they pull the guns out and aim them.
    • Later in the movie, the bank Dick is in the process of robbing happens to also be the target of a couple of robbers wearing rubber Bill and Hilary masks covering their faces rather than their heads. After they're apprehended, they are revealed to be Oz and Debbie.
  • Mistaken Ethnicity: When trying to find a new job, Dick hangs around with a bunch of illegal immigrants from Mexico. He ended up spending so much time with them he got tanned red, and when he tried to get a job, another guy socked him on the jaw, giving him a strange accent. This got the Department of Immigration to think he's also an illegal immigrant and ship him down to Mexico.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Jack caps off his Breaking Speech at Dick in the final heist by making a check for the amount of one hundred dollars and handing it to Dick, saying "this is exactly how much I think you're worth" and then walking away. The Harpers (who were already looking for him to sign some papers so they could take all of the money in his bank account) then copy the check's signature to do it themselves.
  • No Ontological Inertia: Everything tanks when Globodyne goes down in the remake. Partially justified by the economic downswing caused by the sudden failure of a major corporation.
  • Nothing Personal: After Dick and Oz have done everything they can to impede the other from reaching Pyramid Tech to get the job interview first (from nutshots, throwing a trolleys worth of water cooler bottles down the stairwell and spraying with the fire extinguisher), when they see the huge line of hopefuls already there the resigned pair decide to go and get drinks together.
  • Oh, Crap!: Jack's reaction as he reads of his "charity" fund during a news conference, coming to the realization his ill-gotten money has been given away.
  • One-Liner, Name... One-Liner: In the midst of Dick's bank heist, another group comes in to rob the bank themselves. Meanwhile, Jane is waiting in the car as the police arrive.
    Jane: Oh, Dick, oh, Dick, oh, Dick. Run, Dick, run!
  • Oppressive Immigration Enforcement: The remake has Dick Harper (played by Jim Carrey, who could not be more Caucasian) arrested by Immigration alongside a number of labor workers, mistaken for Mexican because he has a mild tan from being on the street all day and mumbles because of an injured jaw (and his son said "Hola" to answer the phone when Dick used his One Phone Call to call his house — the Immigration agents immediately hung up the phone after that and dragged him away) and sent to Mexico within a few hours, forcing Dick to cross the border (and nearly get shot) to return home. They showcase even more incompetence when they ignore an actual illegal immigrant because he had Dick's wallet and ID (that he stole), even when he looks absolutely nothing like Dick's photo.
  • Outlaw Couple: The two sum up to this, though neither fulfills a "brawn" role.
  • Present-Day Past: Set in 2000, but a convenience store's door sticker has a "born before" date of 1983.
  • Police Are Useless: During the immigration bust scene, Dick drops his wallet after getting punched off a truck who asks for painters. One of the Latino men pick it up and the police mistake him for Dick via a picture ID by the INS, despite the fact there should be a photo with a clearly Caucasian man in it.
    • And even worse, Dick - a US citizen whose obvious American accent is temporarily obscured by an injury - is deported to Mexico with seemingly no due process, and despite his lack of any Mexican identification documents.
  • Promoted to Scapegoat: Dick is made VP of Communication right on the eve of Globodyne's bankruptcy. He isn't aware of it till he gets called out about it on a news show. It also later shown he's about to be indicted as part of the investigation of the company despite not knowing anything about it.
  • Precision F-Strike: Jane calls Jack McCallister a FUCKER for stealing all their money.
  • Ripped from the Headlines: The movie was inspired by the 2002 Enron scandal, with Enron's executives sarcastically getting "thanked" in the closing credits.
  • Ridiculous Repossession: As in the original, the moment the Harpers hit financial straits, the company they hired to place new grass on the front of their house arrives to repossess it.
  • Sarcastic Confession: When Dick is asked where he's getting all his money.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome:
    • When Globodyne goes down the drain and Jane quits her job, Dick tries to reassure her that they can sell the house so they'll still have money. But Jane explains that since the economy has crashed after Globodyne, so has the housing market, to the point that selling the house at the current point would actually cause them to owe the bank money.
    • Dick gets fired from his job as a superstore greeter after he chases down an old lady to direct her towards items to buy; the old lady got scared of him and threw laundry detergent in his face, thinking he was trying to assault her.
      • Jane lies on her resumé about knowing Jeet Kun Do in order to get a job as a gym trainer, only to end up kicking one of the people in her class in the face because she has no clue what she's doing.
    • Jane initially thinks Dick is joking about robbing people to regain their wealth, but then tries to stop him when he starts to rob a smoke shop, only to join in when she learns that the bank is going to take their house.
    • Just because Dick and Jane turned out to be successful and competent robbers doesn't mean anyone can become a criminal mastermind; what was supposed to be Dick and Jane's last heist goes sour because two of their friends tried to rob the bank they were in the middle of robbing, but screwed up by going in guns blazing without planning ahead, leading to the cops coming immediately and apprehending the two.
  • The Show Must Go On: According to the DVD commentary, Tea Leoni dislocated her shoulder while sliding on the coffeeshop counter. You'll notice that she struggles to hold the things they steal.
  • Test Subject for Hire: As Dick and Jane are forced to take up a series of menial, low-paying, or degrading jobs just to make ends meet, Jane joins the human trial for a botox-like injection to earn some quick cash. She ends up one of the unfortunate test subjects with gross facial swelling and a rash.
    Scientist: This is a new drug in the same family of botox— we don't expect any problems. Your check for fourteen dollars is waiting for you at the front desk, and we think you all are going to look beautiful. Now, if you can begin by filling out those forms, those are insurance waivers...
  • This Is Going to Be Huge: At the end of the movie, Dick runs into a former colleague who tells him he got a great new job at a company called Enron.