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Overall Rating
2.24

Awesome: 7.41%
Worth A Look: 16.67%
Average: 12.96%
Pretty Bad: 18.52%
Total Crap44.44%

4 reviews, 30 user ratings


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Envy
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by EricDSnider

"Unfunny yet strangely tolerable."
3 stars

I need to tell you up front that "Envy" is not funny, which is generally a major liability for a comedy. But I found it strangely watchable. It didn't annoy me or bore me the way most unfunny comedies do. Instead, I felt compelled to see it through: So much of what was taking place onscreen was so odd and so completely NOT funny that it became, in a way, interesting.

It also has Christopher Walken being Christopher Walken -- i.e., bizarre, non-sequitur-ish and entertaining -- and I find that hard to resist. In fact, Walken, as a long-haired bum who befriends Ben Stiller's character, is the film's only legitimate bright spot.

Stiller plays Tim Dingman, uptight denizen of a dingy L.A. suburb whose best friend, co-worker and across-the-street neighbor Nick Vanderpark (Jack Black) invents a spray that makes dog droppings disappear on contact. Nick, a scatterbrained slacker, becomes unfathomably wealthy, and Tim is nearly incapacitated with jealousy (and regret, since Nick offered him a partnership early on, when the idea was still just an insane pipe dream).

It is J-Man (Walken), whom Tim meets in a bar, who advises him to act on his jealousy, to "stir things up," as he puts it. Rather accidentally, Tim kills Nick's horse, making this the second film this year (after "Starsky & Hutch") to feature Ben Stiller murdering a horse; PETA might want to keep an eye on him. The coverup of the horse tragedy, and the inherent difficulty in hiding an equine corpse, leads to many hijinks and shenanigans, all while Nick remains oblivious to Tim's slow-boiling rage and envy.

This is all well and good as the premise for a black comedy, but as written by first-timer Steve Adams and directed by Barry "he ought to know better" Levinson, it reeks of desperation. But rather than becoming frantic in their attempts to mine laughs from the hollow screenplay, the cast remains steadfastly reined-in, proceeding diligently through all the steps, all the forced wackiness, all the imbecility, like troupers -- like people who are good enough at what they do to know that there's no WAY this crap is going to be funny, so there's no sense in overacting. Such restraint is admirable, and goes a long way toward making the film tolerable, if not exactly good. Which is to say, I can't really recommend it, but I didn't loathe the time I spent watching it, either.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=9281&reviewer=247
originally posted: 08/08/05 17:27:11
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User Comments

3/01/11 PAUL SHORTT OBNOXIOUS, SILLY COMEDY 1 stars
11/14/10 JP Ward This flick oughtta be vaporized 1 stars
2/17/08 Phil M. Aficionado So bad it probably has to be a 2-star rather than 1. Ironic that it's about dog poo? Nah. 2 stars
4/28/06 Ace i loved it! 5 stars
1/06/06 JM Synth Of the 100-odd movies Stiller made in 04, this was the most maligned, but I liked it. 4 stars
11/21/05 matt od walken is awesome, this movie rules, period. 5 stars
10/16/05 tony why did they put stiller and black in this shit movie 1 stars
9/24/05 Nadine Thompson Most horrible movie ever. Unfunny, boring, overrated, and sickening to a waste of talent. 1 stars
5/22/05 Saab Rocks How can a movie with Ben Stiller in it be this boring and uninteresting? 2 stars
5/01/05 ed.williams Just a bad movie painful to watch. Stiller has no charcter depth. 1 stars
2/21/05 Captain Craig Jacks a blast. The movie isnt oscar material but still funny 4 stars
1/28/05 Jack Scallops This underrated comedy is worth seeing 5 stars
1/06/05 Razzie-Magnet Easily, the Worst Movie of 2004 1 stars
12/23/04 HL Valderee, Valderah, Valderee, Valderah..ha ha... 4 stars
11/21/04 The Talking Elbow A great cast can't save this disaster 2 stars
11/07/04 Hilary Adamson So fucking funny I almost needed Vapoorize sprayed in my panties! 5 stars
10/11/04 Dan Funny 4 stars
7/16/04 Movie would've been better that way. Thought Debbie was gettin up to shit on table to make Tim retrieve Vapoorize from trash can 3 stars
7/14/04 Confessions Of A Teenage Trauma Queen Kinda cute. (Any Movie in which Rachel Weisz is watchable can't be half bad.) 4 stars
6/04/04 Wanda Ruhr Needs a sequel starring Ashley Judd, in which she gets sprayed w/ Vapoorizer and disappears 4 stars
6/01/04 mike I liked it. Walken is hilarious and the Flan bits as well. 4 stars
5/14/04 Agent Sands Hilarious. Good cast, good script, good horse death scene. 4 stars
5/13/04 Whatevr Worst movie I never saw 1 stars
5/08/04 Heidi A complete waste 1 stars
5/07/04 Gobsmack GOD!!!!!!! 1 stars
5/04/04 earl hofert yuck 1 stars
5/04/04 Mike Mike The audience was bored out of their minds. I think they laughed maybe 3 times. 1 stars
5/01/04 susan lee first draft of script pretty good, hard to drag out premise though 2 stars
5/01/04 Lillian Faye This is one of the worst movies I have ever endured. So bad I am actually rating it here. 1 stars
4/29/04 Rodg Not Last Temptation has its moments 4 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  30-Apr-2004 (PG-13)
  DVD: 28-Sep-2004

UK
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