Envy (2004)


Here’s my pitch for a product: A spray that causes really bad movies to vaporize into air. The first victim I’d choose for the spray would be “Envy”. This is a heaping helping pile of excrement. “Envy” is purely and utterly awful and I just don’t know where a plot with such potential, and a cast of great actors could have possibly taken a turn for the worst. Now, if I’m not mistaken, this is a comedy… isn’t it? Or at least it was supposed to be. Well there were Jack Black, Ben Stiller, and Amy Poehler, and yet I didn’t laugh once.

Suffice it to say, forty five minutes in to the movie I zoned out and then an hour in to it, I considered shutting it off. “Envy” is very bad. Each character, each and every one of these characters are so bitter and despicable. Why is this funny? Stiller’s character can’t be happy for his friend, so he does nothing but gripe and hate the things he has ungratefully, and that’s funny? Then there are aspects of this movie that were so mind-numbingly awful from the theme song derived obviously from “There’s Something about Mary,” to the running “Gag” about where the poop goes when it’s shot, right down to the dreadful scene in the airplane featuring the (obviously improvised) scene where Stiller and Black make up an impromptu jingle for “Va-poo-rizer.”

It’s a good thing for Stiller and Black this wasn’t the first movie they started in their careers or this likely would have been the last we’d have seen of them. With a movie with such a good cast it’s hard to believe the energy and mood for this is so lagging, grim, and dreary. Levinson, with his style here, looks like he doesn’t really know whether to make a screwball comedy, or a black comedy, and some times it doesn’t even know how to be either. I like Ben Stiller, and I like Jack Black, but for god sake, what was this? “Envy” is utterly ridiculous, and it’s vehicles like these that have made me lose complete faith in Black and Stiller. “Envy” is 105 minutes of my life I will never get back. This has to be one of the worst movies in years, and one that wastes utterly grade A talent like Stiller, Black, Weisz, Walken, and Poehler.