I’ll admit that I
shied away from this movie, discouraged by what The Critics had to say. I should
have followed the Lisa
Logan Method for Judging Movies, but I didn’t. The Critics hated Envy,
so I stayed away. But on a recent trip to our favorite video store, four of us were
having a hard time agreeing on something, so one of us (nope…not me) pulled this one off
the rack, and, surprisingly, no one vetoed it. So we took it and ran before someone came
up with an objection.
Jack Black and Ben Stiller star in this random
comedy about, well, envy. Nick (Black) and Tim (Stiller) are best friends. They work
together. They live across the street from one another. Their families are inseparable.
One day, however, Nick comes up with this incredible, life-changing
invention—Va-Poo-Rize, a spray that makes dog poo disappear—and, despite Tim’s criticism,
it’s a huge success. As Nick tears down his old house and builds a mansion in its
place—complete with a carousel and a giant pool and a bowling alley and lots of servants
around every corner—Tim burns with envy (and regret, since he could have shared in the
success, had he just invested $2,000). One day, when Tim shows up at a local bar to
drown his sorrows (“Just give me whatever people drink.”), he meets the eccentric
drifter, J-Man (Christopher Walken), who tries to help Tim out—and only succeeds in
making things worse.
Okay, so The Critics hated this movie—and a
lot of movie-goers did, too. So take that as your warning. I, on the other hand,
watched it in mixed company (meaning both guys and girls—and both stupid-comedy fans and
sappy-romance devotees), and there were times when we all laughed until it hurt. Yes,
it’s totally random and just plain bizarre at times—and I liked it. There are parts that
still make me giggle when I think about them (I personally loved the image of Nick’s
newly-rich child giving a concert on his new grand piano, accompanied by Tim’s
still-middle-class kid on percussion, hitting a garbage can cover with his sister’s
doll). But it’s not for everyone. You have to be able to enjoy a lot of random,
over-the-top behavior from the entire cast. But, despite the fecal subject of Nick’s
invention, it’s not really a gross-out comedy—which I found totally refreshing. So I’ll
stand boldly against The Critics and say that I enjoyed Envy. Oscar
material it’s not, but it made me laugh. And I’d gladly watch it again.