Envy is a green monster
Ben Stiller stars in the latest comedy flick as Tim Dingman – a middle class working guy employed as a middle manager at the local ‘plant’. He lives a modest life, with dreams of saving enough money to build a pool in his back garden. His next-door neighbour, Nick Vanderpark (Jack Black), is Tim’s best friend and co-worker at the plant, but he’s more of a dreamer who plans to, one day, cash in one of his wild ideas.
Tim is happily married to Debbie, played by Rachel Weisz, and Nick to Natalie (Amy Poehler). The only thing that truly intrudes on this wonderful life, are the neighbours who refuse to clean up after their dogs. “Wouldn’t it be a wonderful thing to create something in a can that could vaporise the poo?” Nick thought. And then, VaPooRise was born. Nick offers his buddy half of the business, but he declines the offer because the idea “can’t possibly work”. Thanks to the wonderful world of commercials, VaPooRise becomes the hottest thing around, and makes Nick and Natalie rich beyond their wildest dreams. Tim is driven mad with jealousy and his frustration at not joining in when he had the chance. So, he hits the local bar, and there, finds advice on how to deal with his new and relatively impoverished state from the J-Man (Christopher Walken). Finally, in a fit of jealous rage, Tim does something that could ruin the friendship he has with Nick forever, which involves him undertaking drastic measures in order to cover up his dirty deed.
Written by Steve Adams and directed by Barry Levinson, Envy is very uneven. The comedy is so dark that at times it’s difficult to tell whether or not it’s supposed to be funny. It limps along until it comes to a ‘yawner’ of an ending, that is more of a relief than a pleasure. Part of this can be attributed to the lack of jokes and plot lines. Jack Black is just Bill Murray without the talent and wit, while Ben Stiller doesn’t get a chance to shine in this one. Also, the film is partially destroyed by bad editing. I suggest a game for those who ignore my advice and go to see this movie – count how many times a microphone enters the frame, then go out to a bar, and have the same amount of drinks, but make sure you have a designated driver.