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"ENVY"
(2004) (Ben Stiller, Jack Black) (PG-13)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Heavy Minor Heavy None Moderate
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Mild Minor None Mild Heavy
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Heavy None Mild Moderate Moderate


QUICK TAKE:
Comedy: A man's life spirals out of control as he lets his envy of his best friend's sudden wealth get the better of him.
PLOT:
Tim Dingman (BEN STILLER) and Nick Vanderpark (JACK BLACK) are best friends. Not only do they live across the street from each other with their respective wives -- Debbie (RACHEL WEISZ) and Natalie (AMY POEHLER) -- and kids, but they also carpool together to the sandpaper factory where both work.

Yet, where Tim's performance review shows that he's a good worker -- resulting in his promotion -- Nick's shows that he lacks focus and is something of a dreamer. Thus, it isn't surprising when he suddenly comes up with the idea for Vapoorizer, a spray on application that miraculously causes dog poo to disappear.

He doesn't know how he'll actually make it work, but everyone thinks it's a great idea, except for Tim who refuses to invest $2,000 into the idea. Ever the optimist, Nick continues on his quest and actually manages to create the product. Eighteen months later, the Vanderparks are wealthy beyond their wildest dreams, but have opted to stay in their old neighborhood, albeit with a monstrous mansion. With a bowling alley. And a carousel. And a horse with a "stable" bigger than Tim's house.

Although Nick keeps buying or giving things to Tim and his family, the latter eventually allows his envy of Nick's wealth and lifestyle to drive him crazy. After Debbie decides that she and the kids need to get away from him, and after Tim explodes at his boss and is fired, he ends up meeting J-Man (CHRISTOPHER WALKEN) at a bar. Understanding Tim's plight, the somewhat off-kilter man tells a drunken Tim what he needs to do.

But in doing so, Tim ends up accidentally doing something quite bad. From that point on, and as he tries to cover up that envy-generated incident, Tim and his life start spiraling out of control.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
If they're fans of anyone in the cast, they just might.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: PG-13
For language and sexual/crude humor.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • BEN STILLER plays a man who becomes ultra-envious of his neighbor and best friend who becomes ultra-wealthy through his invention. He tries to cover up accidentally killing his best friend's horse, uses some profanity, gets drunk and lets his envy get the better of him.
  • JACK BLACK plays his best friend and neighbor who comes up with the idea for Vapoorizer and becomes ultra-wealthy from it. Although he flaunts that wealth by living extravagantly, he buys or pays for many things for Tim and his family. He uses some profanity.
  • RACHEL WEISZ plays Tim's wife who must put up with his envy of Nick, but then becomes addicted to wealth as well when suddenly surrounded by it.
  • AMY POEHLER plays Nick's wife who decides to run for the state senate, but must deal with questions and protests about where all of the disappearing dog poo has gone.
  • CHRISTOPHER WALKEN plays a philosophizing stranger who drinks with and befriends Tim, helps him deal with the dead horse, and then tries to blackmail him regarding that.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    Here's a brief summary of the content found in this comedy that's been rated PG-13. Profanity consists of at least 1 "f" word, while other expletives and colorful phrases are uttered. Brief, sexually related dialogue is present (including about penis envy), while a wife wants to have sex with her husband in the laundry room and pulls him between her legs.

    Various characters have varying degrees of bad attitudes, while some drink (one to the point of intoxication). Some crude humor is present, a man accidentally but separately shoots a horse and man with arrows (the former dies, the latter lives), while some brief tense family material (comedy style) occurs.

    Should you still be concerned about the film's appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home, you may want to look more closely at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.



    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • The families have wine with dinner.
  • Tim goes into a bar, tells the bartender that he doesn't normally drink, but wants one due to having a bad day. The bartender then gives him a tropical drink. J-Man then introduces himself (and has a drink) and buys another round for both of them. Later, Tim appears to be a bit intoxicated from that.
  • Nick's butler brings a bottle of wine over to Tim. Later, we see Tim drunkenly walking along and drinking straight from that bottle. He then accidentally shoots Nick's horse with an arrow while drunk.
  • A song has a lyric about "You could end up crying in your beer."
  • Tim and J-Man have drinks by them.
  • Tim and Nick have champagne.
  • Tim and Nick have champagne in a hot tub.
  • Debbie carries a glass of champagne.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • We see a dog defecating and then its owner picking up the excrement with a gloved hand.
  • We see some dog excrement on a sidewalk, with Nick's inventor friend spraying Vapoorizer on it, causing it to disappear.
  • A woman asks, "Where do the turds go?" in relation to Nick's product.
  • A song has a lyric about "Sh*tting in your pants."
  • We see the dead horse strung up and suspended in the air and later see it floating down a river (beyond being dead, it doesn't appear to be bloody or gory).
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Tim lets his envy of Nick's newfound wealth and lifestyle get the better of him.
  • Tim yells at his boss (over Tim' envy of Nick, and he gets fired over that).
  • J-Man admits that when he was ten, he fired BB shots at his own house to make it look like his rich friend had done it.
  • Tim accidentally kills Nick's horse and then tries to cover it up -- literally and figuratively -- and lies about knowing what happened to it.
  • Some viewers may not like and/or be offended by humor stemming from a horse accidentally being killed by an arrow and then various shots of the carcass being transported about (all in the name of comedy).
  • J-Man lies to Debbie about why he's there and what's recently happened (all to cover for Tim).
  • Tim doesn't tell his family that he got fired and fakes going to work.
  • Debbie tells Tim that he can't confess to telling Nick about the horse (for fear of being cut off from Nick's money).
  • J-Man tries to blackmail Tim into being a third partner lest he tell Nick what Tim did to his horse.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • None
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Bow and Arrows: Accidentally used to kill a horse and injure a man. See "Violence" for details.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "Doodly-f*cking doo" (or something like that), "Sh*t just doesn't disappear," "I shat my pants," "Sh*t-spray," "Sh*t-box," "What in the sh*t is this?" "Dog turds," "Nuts" (crazy), "Bastard," "Going to be hell to pay," "Who the hell knows," "Let it tumble out like circus freaks," "Great big dimwit," "Candy ass," "Up your ass with Mobil gas," "Hell-hole," "Pissed off," "What the hell was that?" "Freaks out," "Kick ass," "I am such a jerk," "For crying out loud," "Get the hell out of here," "My ass," "Screw" (nonsexual), "You're a stinko pinko," "Who the hell knows," "Bastard bitch merry-go-round," "Crappy" and "Freaking nitwit."
  • J-Man admits that when he was ten, he fired BB shots at his own house to make it look like his rich friend had done it.
  • Talking about Nick's place, J-Man states that the sight of it is pulling his testicles up.
  • Although both are accidental, Tim manages to shoot both a horse and man (separately) with arrows.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • A sudden explosion on an empty, but rapidly spinning merry-go-round might startle some viewers.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • None.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • A song has the lyric, "Going to be hell to pay."
  • A song has a lyric about "Sh*tting in your pants" and "You could end up crying in your beer."
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 1 "f" word, 29 "s" words (some are also seen written on signs), 1 slang term for sex ("do it"), 2 for male genitals ("hog" and "manhood"), 7 asses, 7 hells, 5 turds, 1 crap, 12 uses of "Oh my God," 6 of "Oh God," 2 each of "G-damn," "God Almighty" and "Swear to God" and 1 use each of "By God," "For Christ's sakes," "God" and "My God."
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • Talking about Nick's place, J-Man states that the sight of it is pulling his testicles up.
  • Tim and Nick are in a hot tub with a foreigner (during their sales attempt aimed at that man), but he keeps talking (through his translator) about their penises being comparable in size when they entered the tub, and about him going into a tub with another man at a younger age who had a "hog" (penis) like a freight train. He then mentions that "freight train sized manhood" of that other guy that made his seem small.
  • We see Debbie in a lacey and partially see-through outfit (top and bottom with purposeful holes in it) that shows cleavage. She asks Tim if he wants to "do it" on the laundry. He says he'll lay with her after he tells her something, but she spreads her legs on the machine, leans back and pulls him forward.
  • We briefly see a miscellaneous couple making out in a car (clothed).
  • A classic style statue shows bare breasts (nothing explicit).
  • SMOKING
  • None.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • Debbie gives Tim a verbal jab regarding if he had only invested in Nick's idea.
  • Tim and Debbie get into an argument and she has to leave the house with the kids to get away from him for a while.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • Envy of others, their possessions or lifestyle.
  • Lying to try to cover up wrongdoings.
  • Violence against animals used for humor.
  • VIOLENCE
  • Tim drunkenly fires an arrow that accidentally hits a horse. We don't see the impact, but hear it and then hear the horse fall to the ground. We then see the dead horse with an arrow in it (no blood) and various shots of Tim trying to move the dead horse, including running into it with a small go-cart type car that smashes into the horse.
  • Tim accidentally tumbles down a steep embankment (slapstick style).
  • Nick boards his out of control and rapidly spinning carousel, trying to shut it off. He ends up hanging from the outside and is then flung off onto the ground. Tim then tries the same and is also flung off (into an archery target), but both are okay.
  • There's a sudden explosion on an empty, but rapidly spinning merry-go-round.
  • Tim randomly shoots an arrow and we hear but don't see it hit a person (we then see them, first appearing dead and then quite alive) with the arrow sticking out of their back (no blood). After being asked to do so, Tim then yanks the arrow out (with no blood, but we hear the sound of the process).



  • Reviewed April 27, 2004 / Posted April 30, 2004

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