CORPORATE LINE: Ben Stiller (“Meet the Parents”) and Jack Black (“School of Rock”) star in the comedy “Envy,” under the direction of Academy Award® winner Barry Levinson (“Rain Man”). The film also stars Rachel Weisz (“The Mummy,” “About a Boy”), Amy Poehler (TV’s “Saturday Night Live”) and Academy Award® winner Christopher Walken (“The Deer Hunter,” “Catch Me If You Can”).
Tim (Ben Stiller) and Nick (Jack Black) are best friends, neighbors and co-workers, whose equal footing is suddenly tripped up when one of Nick’s harebrained get-rich-quick schemes actually succeeds: Vapoorizer, a spray that literally makes dog poop, or any other kind for that matter, evaporate into thin air. Tim, who had poo-pooed Nick’s idea and passed on an opportunity to get in on the deal, can only watch as Nick’s fortune—and Tim’s own envy—grow to equally outrageous proportions. The flames of jealousy are fanned by an oddball drifter named J-Man (Christopher Walken) who takes it upon himself to help fix Tim’s situation, but only causes Tim’s life to careen more wildly out of control…taking Nick’s with it.
THE GOOD: There is a nice parable somewhere in there—something like—about dreams and not to give up…
THE BAD: …and then about half way through the film I was ready to give up. Jack Black and Ben Stiller are hilarious—but not in this movie. Stiller is good at acting and Black acts like an idiot so well you wonder, well never mind. Actually Black gives the few rare laughs in the entire film.
Envy has a premise, but it doesn’t go overboard, underboard, or onboard. It goes no where. Hell, the ultra rich Nick doesn’t even move out of his neighborhood—instead he builds a giant mansion in the middle of the same crummy block he lived on before he became as rich as Howard Hughes. That alone doesn’t prove the film to be asinine, but it’s a start. The rest of the film just meanders on this endless crusade of sh*t—or poo if you prefer—and where it all ends up.
And if you think Christopher Walken is going to come in and save the day—you’d be wrong.
FRANKLY: I came, I saw, I laughed, I drank a lot of liquids, and then I was glad when Envy was over so I could rid myself of waste.
+ Charlie Craine