Envy

"Terrible"

Envy Review


Even if you have not yet tired of the eye-bugging, eyebrow-dancing, class-clown schtick of Jack Black or the eye-bugging, eyebrow-dancing, fretful straight-man schtick of Ben Stiller, the first collaboration between these two one-trick ponies is still unlikely to draw a single laugh for its slapdash story of one-dimensional "Envy" run amok.

The pair star as K-Mart-class stiffs in the sandpaper trade who are best pals and neighbors in an under-the-power-lines cul-de-sac of the San Fernando 'burbs. A fusspot pragmatic by temperament, Stiller slowly turns bitter green when Black -- a wild-eyed daydreamer full of half-baked inventions and get-rich-quick schemes -- gets rich quick by helping conceive an aerosol spray that makes pet poop evaporate.

Soon Stiller and family (Rachel Weisz is wasted in a do-nothing role as his wife) are living across the street from the gaudy uber-mansion that replaced Black's tract home, complete with a carousel on the grounds and Corinthian-styled stables for a white horse that's always getting loose and nibbling on their apple tree. When jealous Stiller accidentally kills the horse in a midnight fit of drunken archery (Black's yard also boasts a bow-and-arrow target range), he tries to hide the body with the help of a weird hobo (Christopher Walken), and hilarity is supposed to ensue.

But normally reliable director Barry Levinson ("Bandits," "Wag the Dog," "Rain Man") seems to be asleep at the wheel. Subplots flail around like an unminded garden hose turned on full blast -- one involving Black's dingbat wife ("Saturday Night Live's" Amy Poehler) running for "congress, or state senate, or whatever." Some scenes -- entire acts, really -- end so abruptly that parts of the picture play as if a reel went missing. And the actors have clearly been left to their own meager devices, the result of which is a cobbled-together mess of scenery-chewing high jinks and under-rehearsed improvisation.

Throughout it all the air is thick with denial about the punchlines that do come from the screenplay (penned by professional script doctor Steve Adams) -- contrived clunkers like the chant of protesters at Poehler's plot-padding campaign rallies, who for no explored reason demand an explanation of her husband's product: "Where does the (poop) go? We want to know!"

As the end of "Envy" nears, secrets are revealed and conflicts resolved in expository episodes of ridiculous ease (e.g. Walken, who had been blackmailing Stiller over the dead horse, just changes his mind and leaves), and the movie coasts to the closing credits as Stiller and Black run out of ad-libbing steam.

Where are those funnier-than-the-feature out-takes -- which often accompany such lifeless comedies -- when you really need them?



Envy

Facts and Figures

Run time: 99 mins

In Theaters: Friday 30th April 2004

Box Office USA: $12.2M

Distributed by: DreamWorks SKG

Production compaines: Castle Rock Entertainment, Columbia Pictures, DreamWorks Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 1 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 7%
Fresh: 8 Rotten: 108

IMDB: 4.7 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Tim Dingman, as Nick Vanderpark, as Debbie Dingman, as J-Man, as Natalie Vanderpark

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

Contactmusic 2017 Exclusive

New Movies

Ghost in the Shell Movie Review

Ghost in the Shell Movie Review

This sci-fi thriller is so visually stunning that it deserves to be mentioned in the...

Free Fire Movie Review

Free Fire Movie Review

Basically a 90-minute shoot-out, there isn't a lot to this movie. British filmmaker Ben Wheatley...

Life Movie Review

Life Movie Review

Like a mash-up of Alien and Gravity, this ripping sci-fi horror movie is very effective...

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

Based on a true story, it's the historical aspect of these events that holds the...

Chips Movie Review

Chips Movie Review

It's clear from the very start that this movie has little to do with the...

Beauty And The Beast Movie Review

Beauty And The Beast Movie Review

This remake of Disney's 1991 classic is remarkably faithful, using present-day digital animation effects to...

The Salesman Movie Review

The Salesman Movie Review

Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi won his second Oscar with this astute drama which, like 2011's...

Advertisement
Get Out Movie Review

Get Out Movie Review

Leave it to a comedian to make one of the scariest movies in recent memory....

Personal Shopper Movie Review

Personal Shopper Movie Review

After winning a series of major awards for her role in Olivier Assayas' Clouds of...

Certain Women Movie Review

Certain Women Movie Review

In films like Wendy and Lucy and Meek's Cutoff, writer-director Kelly Reichardt has told sharply...

Kong: Skull Island Movie Review

Kong: Skull Island Movie Review

After the success of 2014's Godzilla reboot, the Warner Bros monsters get their own franchise,...

Viceroy's House Movie Review

Viceroy's House Movie Review

Filmmaker Gurinder Chada (Bend It Like Beckham) draws on her own family history to explore...

Trespass Against Us Movie Review

Trespass Against Us Movie Review

With an extra dose of attitude and energy, this Irish comedy-drama hits us like a...

Logan Movie Review

Logan Movie Review

Hugh Jackman returns to his signature role one last time (so he says), reuniting with...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.