The Comedians of Comedy (December 16/05)
The Comedians of Comedy is ostensibly a documentary revolving around four comics - Patton Oswalt, Brian Posehn, Maria Bamford, and Zach Galifianakis - as they embark upon a tour of various clubs and bars, though director Michael Blieden emphasizes the tedium of their day-to-day routine over their actual performances (out of a 102-minute film, they're onstage for a combined total of about a half hour's worth of screen time). And while there's no denying each of these comedians can be quite funny - particularly Oswalt, who is clearly the main attraction here - Blieden's use of grainy, handheld cinematography lends The Comedians of Comedy a distinctly low-rent sort of vibe that becomes increasingly frustrating as the movie progresses. Having said that, there are several hilarious bits spread here and there - anything involving Oswalt, Posehn's Star Wars-inspired rant, Galifianakis' bizarre time-traveling set, etc - but the bottom line is that the movie would have been far, far better served with a more traditional presentation (Oswalt's one-hour Comedy Central special contains more laughs than this).
Fun with Dick and Jane (December 20/05)
Based on the mediocre 1977 comedy of the same name, Fun with Dick and Jane suffers from all the same problems that plagued its predecessor - although the movie is elevated (however slightly) by the enthusiastic performances and relatively effective third act. The story follows upwardly mobile couple Dick and Jane Harper (Jim Carrey and Tea Leoni) as they attempt to compensate for the loss of Dick's high-paying position by taking on a series of short-lived jobs (ie Dick's short-lived stint at a Costco-esque warehouse). It quickly dawns on them that they are not cut out for such menial tasks, and the two soon resort to thievery as a means of maintaining their semi-opulent lifestyle. Fun with Dick and Jane is peppered with a variety of supposed comedic sequences that instead come off as painfully unfunny and thoroughly desperate; Carrey, in particular, seems to be working overtime in an effort to elicit laughs from some decidedly underwhelming material. The distinct lack of plot is exacerbated by the screenplay's emphasis on jokes that just aren't funny, although there are a few mildly amusing bits here and there. And while the movie does improve towards the end with the introduction of a semi-compelling heist subplot, it's virtually impossible to even care by then. The Capra-esque conclusion is just silly, and has clearly been designed to appeal to a very specific segment of the audience (ie anyone who's ever been screwed by an Enron-like company).