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Envy

Disappearing Crap

Director Barry Levinson (Good Morning Vietnam, Rain Man) teams up with Ben Stiller, Jack Black, and a crap dissolving spray called "VaPOOrize" in this seemingly funny new farce from DreamWorks. It's clear that Levinson doesn't have the spark he used to, but Envy has all the makings of a great dark comedy, and a fantastic first ten minutes. Tim (Stiller) and Nick (Black) are average Joes slaving away at a sandpaper factory until Nick has an idea for a new invention. Tim rejects Nick's offer to be partners and begins his downward spiral into the depths of jealousy when "VaPOOrize" becomes an overnight success.

The opening moments carry a subtly and slowness that lend a cleverness to the dumb humor of the script. However, once the pace quickens, Envy loses all its charm. Stiller plays his usual pathetic character, and there's a feeling that Black would be brilliant if only he had more screen time to develop his thinly written role. The standout here is Christopher Walken, whose usual zaniness never seems to get old.

Apparently the first test screenings were received so badly that DreamWorks decided to shelf it for while. Still, Envy has its funny and tense moments, and ends up not being a complete waste of time; just nowhere near as good as it should have been. For a darker, not to mention much better, black comedy save ten bucks and rent The Cable Guy - you can watch Jim Carrey beat up Owen Wilson in a men's room!