"Just Because It's About Dogshit, Doesn't Mean It Has To Be Dogshit"
Words just escape me in describing to you how bad Envy is. Mainly because none of them want to be associated in any way with the film since they feel unworthy to accurately describe what an absolute bottomless pit of comedy this truly is. What due respect paid to the adjectives which frequently help me along the way to a good thrashing, Iíll just try to put Envy in context with other garbage. Itís the worst project Barry Levinson has ever handled, which is saying a lot in a second half of a career that includes Sphere and Toys. Itís the worst thing that Ben Stiller (If Lucy Fell) and Jack Black (I Still Know What You Did Last Summer) have ever appeared in. Itís not quite as bad as this yearís 13 Going On 30, only because that film was bad and insulted motor neurons the world over. Envy is just throw-your-money-in-a-crapper bad, bad, BAD!Stiller and Black play Tim Dingman and Nick Vanderpark, best friends since forever who both work at the same 9-to-5 factory. Tim has the office while Nick, the dreamer, has low scores on his focus report. Nick is your typical poor manís Cosmo Kramer, the kind those get-your-patent-NOW commercials on TV were born for. His latest idea is for a spraycan that can eliminate pet excrement for no messy cleanup. Heís even got a catchy name for it: VaPOOrize.
When Nickís invention literally cleans-up as a cashcow, he builds his fortune right on the same block where heís lived next to Tim for years. Heís not rubbing his nose in it, he just wants to stay close to his friend. Thatís one of the biggest problems with the filmís script. Everyone in the film is nice! Kinda takes the bite out of the black comedy when the guy being hated actually buys you gifts on a regular basis.
But Nick hates Tim now. He hates being constantly reminded by his wife (Rachel Weisz) that the little investment opportunity originally offered by their neighbor could have put them on the same gravy train with biscuit wheels. He hates having to buy his family the small swimming pool and not offering flan for dessert. He hates watching Tim gallop around on his steed and how heís being played by an actor who is making a year out of killing white horses in the movies. He hates, hates, hates!!! Just not as much as you will this film.
Itís rare that any comedy can be released and be so utterly devoid of laughs. In fact, I think all Hollywood comedies are now being budgeted with a red phone on-set for the filmmakers to immediately call in Christopher Walken to liven things up. Walken doing his shtick got a chuckle out of me; but even a chuckle canít compare to the huge laughs I got out of his five minutes in Gigli. Thatís right, Gigli.Iím done talking about Envy. It has a subzero laugh quotient and none of the gags or performances are remotely interesting. Stiller has an unfunny, unending monologue towards the end that even seems to have been edited down. What else can I tell you to make sure you donít spend your hard-earned dollar on this junk at the theater, on DVD, on cable, or duped into buying something from a commercial in-between its run in three years on a network? Iíll just quote the recurring observation from the film Ė ďShit just doesnít disappear, it has to go somewhere.Ē