Ben Stiller and Jack Black star as Tim and Nick, 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 -- to where exactly is anyone's guess. Tim, who had scoffed at 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. When the flames of jealousy are fanned by an oddball drifter (Walken) who imposes himself into the situation, Tim's life careens wildly out of control ... taking Nick's with it. Written by
The central image of this movie is a dog taking a crap. Knowing this, I can't imagine how anyone could judge Envy by the same criteria as a "real" movie. This movie is stupid and it knows it's stupid. It's fully aware of that fact, so don't bother using that as a critique. Accept the stupidity into your heart and let this film melt your brain with comedy. In many mainstream comedies, audiences have to wade through some cheesy or worn out plot to get to the funny stuff. But at the end of the day the stories these movies are telling aren't really any good, they're merely a labored suggestion of substance. Ultimately the reason we watch them is to see some funny performers doing funny things, not for the narrative. However good a movie like the 40-Year-Old Virgin maybe, Bergman it ain't! The story only really functions to support the comedy. So then why not make a joke out of the plot too? Why not make a comedy that is one long extended joke? Just enjoy the insanity of the brilliant cast and be thankful that Envy has the common decency to forgo the usual pretense of profundity and focus on poop jokes instead.
Now this next point may be a harder argument to make and may contradict my last point, but if you do look closely at the recurring gags and images in Envy, the dare-I-say motifs of the film, you might find that it is actually a very nasty spoof of our consumer culture. Plus, the main conflict of the film is that the characters have such a hard time reconciling their greed for material possessions and their moral obligations to other human beings. Jack Black's character even utters a line that I think many people actually live by: "Nice things make life better." So perhaps Envy is secretly brilliant and is merely hiding behind a mask of utter stupidity. That would make it the inverse of most movies out there today (I'm thinking of Inception right now).
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