This is a film that I am truly, completely stunned I didn't enjoy. I love Ben Stiller. I love Jack Black. I love stupidity. I love director Barry Levinson. Yes, I knew the reviews had been less than kind...but, that doesn't always matter to me. In this case, the reviews have been too kind.
"Envy" is a nearly perfect example of how not to make a comedy. In this film, a talented director appears to not have a clue how to make this mishmash work.
A talented cast is completely wasted. Production design is remarkably absurd. Costuming is reprehensible. The script is beyond weak. The original music was cute the first time we heard the unique lyrics...by the end of the film I just wanted to scream "Shut the hell up!" It wasn't cute anymore.
What happened Barry? Personal life crisis? Financial issues? Dying of dementia? Barry, oh Barry...you're so much better than this crap. I truly never would have imagined Barry Levinson could make a film this completely awful.
There is no character here I liked...none I sympathized with...I had no emotional connection to the film at all. The ludicrous nature of the happenings following the invention of "Vapoorizer" were so far beyond believable that I could never buy into the script at all.
Jack Black? He is lifeless and stupid here. Ben Stiller? Same look, Same Act, Different Film. Christopher Walken? When he's good, he's great...when he's bad, he makes crap like this film.
I'd never have imagined a filmmaker could make me not want to watch Rachel Weisz and Amy Poehler but it happens here. It's stunning and awful to see such beauty and talent wasted.
I am starting to believe that the Writers Guild will admit anyone who comes to them with a script written on toilet paper...because that simply had to be the origin of the script by Steve Adams.
Even the kids in this film are obnoxious.
I am going to go visit the doctor from "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" and see if they can erase this film from my memory...otherwise, I fear the trauma will follow me for the rest of my life
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic