Watch Now: FUN WITH DICK AND JANE
A man and a woman holding hands in front of a house, as if they were drawn by a child’s hand, is the setting of a visibly playful and innocent poster of the 1977 comedy crime film Fun with Dick and Jane that entices the viewer in a split second. Indeed, the title of the film and the character’s names, anti-heroes played by George Segal and Jane Fonda, are based on a series of children’s educational books Dick and Jane, that were at the very peak of their popularity in English-speaking classrooms all over the world in the 1950s, post-war decade famous for U.S.A.’s booming economy and glowing suburbs. White picket fence, houses with open-floor plans and all the time in the world to read articles such as Don’t Be Afraid to Marry Young and Cooking To Me Is Poetry were just a tipping point for women’s tragic new roles as housewives and mothers.
Enter: this jewel, often described as a contemporary comic version of Bonnie and Clyde (1967), directed by Ted Kotcheff and written by David Giler, Jerry Belson and Mordecai Richler. Dick and Jane Harper have fulfilled the American dream: they are happily married and living with their son Billy in a nice house with a swimming pool and a new lawn underway. Suddenly, the rug is pulled under the characters’ feet when they are left with nothing but a huge debt and, unable to pay it off, suddenly the plot shifts and Dick and Jane become criminals. The fact that it was Columbia’s third highest-grossing film in 1977 led to a 2005 remake with Jim Carrey and Téa Leoni in the main roles, with its high earnings due to then-popular corporate scandal and the judicial proceedings regarding Enron, which was partially included in the film to keep up with the times. Fun with Dick and Jane works either way, no matter the political current!