Envy

Movie Review by Neils Hesse

Starring: Ben Stiller, Jack Black, Rachel Weisz, Amy Poehler, Christopher Walken, Ariel Gade
Director: Barry Levinson

One of the seven deadly sins defined as a feeling of spite and resentment at the success of others, is ENVY.

Tim Dingman (Ben Stiller) is an average American family man with a lovely wife (Rachel Weisz), two kids and of course a neighbour who also happens to be his best friend and work mate Nick Vanderpark (Jack Black). Nick and Tim have the same kind of houses, they go to work in Tim’s car and Nick also has a wife and kids. These guys are both pretty much at the same level in life.

Nick is known for his crazy dreams so when he tells Tim about a revolutionary idea he has to make dog “poo” disappear, which he intends to call VA-POO-RIZE, Nick offers Tim the chance to invest $2000.00 into the scheme but he shrugs it off and advises Nick to do the same. Nick and an associate of his manage to actually produce the Vapoorizer and it soon makes Nick a millionaire beyond his wildest dreams.

Tim meanwhile has to sit back and see his friend move into a mansion across the street from, literally riding high on his white horse. Tim’s wife is uncomfortable with the envious environment in their household especially since she had wanted to invest in the Vapoorizer herself so takes the kids and goes to her sister’s house to cool off. With all this pressure Tim begins to lose his focus at work resulting in him exploding at his boss and losing his job, eventually he ends up in a bar where he meets the J-Man (Christopher Walken). The J-Man and Tim get involved in a mixed up scheme that is aimed at showing Nick a thing or two but ends up with hilarious and apparently dangerous consequences for both of them. Meanwhile Tim’s wife comes back and Nick makes Tim his partner so now Tim has to somehow get out of his deal with the J-Man before Nick puts two and two together.

Ben Stiller and Jack Black work well together although they both play it quite straight in ENVY. Christopher Walken gets the funniest lines here and gives the funniest performance as well as the strange J-Man who just “wanted a taste of the good life” as he puts it in one hilarious scene that sees him pleading for an arrow to be pulled out of his back.

Barry Levinson has a very interesting idea here but he does not quite pull it off despite it having a few interesting moments that will make you think about envy. Unfortunately it is not entertaining enough throughout the duration of the movie and ends up merely average.

It is not essential to see this at the cinema and could easily be waited for viewing at home.

3 out of 6 stars

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