Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB
USA, 1977. Columbia Pictures. Story by Gerald Gaiser, Screenplay by David Giler, Jerry Belson, Mordecai Richler. Cinematography by Fred J. Koenekamp. Produced by Peter Bart, Max Palevsky. Music by Ernest Gold. Production Design by James Hulsey. Costume Design by Donfeld. Film Editing by Danford B. Greene.
George Segal goes to work as an executive at an aerospace company that only a few years earlier helped put a man in the moon, and his boss (Ed McMahon) tells him that their business is in downturn and he’ll have to be let go. He goes home to his suburban mansion and informs wife Jane Fonda, immediately putting an end to the massive renovations of their backyard including the swimming pool they are building. Believing they’ll be okay until Segal gets another job, they slowly start liquidating the contents of the house and try not to let the neighbours know what’s going on as Segal has zero luck finding gainful employment. Fonda tries her hand at bringing home the bacon, but without much experience or training she’s unsuccessful (and her attempt at becoming a store model is devastating). Loan companies are unethical sharks, the food stamps program gives them a hard time and landscapers are showing up taking back the unpaid plants on their lawn. What’s a good, middle-class couple do but turn to a life of crime? Dick and Jane’s initial attempts to hold up a store go hilariously awry, but eventually they start to get the hang of knocking over stores and pulling in enough cash flow to get their house back up to snuff and even throw a pool party. Then they realize that they can really get themselves back on track with a huge, relatively easy score, as Segal happens to know that McMahon has a safe full of undocumented cash that he keeps for bribes, and the upcoming gala at his former workplace provides the perfect opportunity for this couple to get it for themselves. While mercilessly criticizing bourgeois obsession with displays of material possession as personal accomplishment, this film delivers laughs and more than a few clever sequences that are effortlessly executed by the expert leads. Remade in 2005 with Jim Carrey and Tea Leoni.