FUN WITH DICK AND JANE. Columbia Pictures, 1977. George Segal, Jane Fonda, Ed McMahon, Dick Gautier, Hank Garcia. Director: Ted Kotcheff.

   Even though you may never have seen this movie, it’s well known enough that you may know the story line anyway. But just in case, here it is. When the husband of an upwardly mobile family of three living in what appears to be the Los Angeles area loses his job in the aerospace industry, all kinds of misfortunes come their way. To get out of their new found poverty, they decide to try their hands at crime.

   Unable to find jobs, or unable to hold them if they happen to do, giving up on unemployment money and food stamps as beyond their ability to cope, they turn to robbing small convenience stores at first, gradually working their way up to the phone company (to the great applause of the other customers standing in line), then in the grand finale, cracking the safe in the office of Dick’s crooked boss who fired him in the first place.

   Revenge is sweet.

   I should mention that this is a comedy, but in my opinion most of the gags would work a a lot better in a theater filled with people watching, such as Dick coming home to find their lawn being rolled up and repossessed, and a hole in the back yard where their new swimming pool was supposed to be.

   Some of the jokes are a little risque. When Dick shoves gun in the front of his trousers before he goes out on his first job, Jane says, “Be careful. Don’t go off half-cocked.” Or while on his first stab at robbery, that of a small one-man drug store, Dick is so nervous that he ends buying over eight dollars’ worth of condoms.

   Overall, though, the humor is mostly hit-or-miss. Call me Mr Grumpy, but while this movie has its very devout fans even today, I think that watching this movie is like being caught up in a small time warp. In that regard, though, this is a film that could be exceedingly valuable to historians looking to see what was on the minds of movie audiences of some 40 years ago.

   Or what Hollywood thought was on their minds.