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Envy – Review

30 April 2005 No Comment

Nick Vanderpark (Jack Black) and Tim Dingman (Ben Stiller) work at a sandpaper factory. Nick is a dreamer who is always dreaming up strange inventions while Tim is “mister generic suburbia” always keeping Nick grounded. One day Nick sees a man picking up his dog’s faeces and dreams up the idea of “VAPOORIZER”. A product that comes in a can that makes “dog poop” disappear. Tim is appalled by the idea and ignores Nick’s progress reports about the “VAPOORIZER” and turns down the offer to invest in the idea, which becomes a runaway success. Nick becomes wealthy, Tim’s life remains the same and the envy begins to fester, spiralling out of control once Tim’s life starts to fall apart.

Jack Black and Ben Stiller are listed as the stars but it’s Ben Stiller and Christopher Walken who steal the show. Ben is perfect at playing neurotic, emotionally repressed and on the edge characters that you feel sorry for nonetheless. Christopher Walken is always an odd fish to place. He has a wide range as an actor and is able to play anything from a psychopath to sleazy slacker (which he does with flare in ENVY). The J-MAN (Christopher Walken) has got to be one of the strangest characters to be on screen. He is part slacker, part philosopher, part bum and totally misunderstood. For all ENVY’s flaws Walken’s performance is worth watching this film alone. 

Without giving too much of the plot away here are some reasons why to watch the J-MAN/ENVY. Ben Stiller gets drunk one night after hanging with the J-MAN and kills Jack Black’s horse by mistake. He buries the horse in his yard and then decides he wants to move the horse so he enlists the help of the J-MAN. After much trouble trying to get the horse out of the hole involving a hot-wired truck an elaborate pulley system and rigor mortis the J-MAN finally gets the horse out of the hole and realises he has fried the truck’s winch. He then calls Ben Stiller who is at the J-MAN’s “cabin” (which is more of a rotting shack) at the “lake” (a dodgy looking puddle) for help. Once they are done yelling at each other they transport the horse out of the town on Ben’s MPV which provides its own list of problems involving a flood, idiot cops and even more idiotic petrol attendants. Their horse problem also gets solved in the most surprising way.

The plot is funny but there are loopholes you could build a freeway through. ENVY is perfect for when you feel like switching off your brain and having a laugh. It’s nothing memorable, very predictable but worth watching if you want a no strings attached laugh. Oh yeah and don’t forget the J-MAN.

CAST: Ben Stiller, Jack Black, Rachel Weisz, Amy Poehler and Christopher Walken

PRODUCERS: Barry Levinson and Paula Weinstein

DIRECTOR: Barry Levinson

RUNNING TIME: 97 minutes


GENRE: Comedy

RELEASE DATE: 13 August 2004

RATING: 6/10

“Canine Faeces, Envy, Equine Murder, Lies, Stray Arrows, Blackmail and The J-MAN”

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Review by Punjabi_Goth for Africasgateway.com

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