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Envy (2004)

April. 30,2004
| Comedy
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A man becomes increasingly jealous of his friend's newfound success.


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Too much of everything


To me, this movie is perfection.


Great movie! If you want to be entertained and have a few good laughs, see this movie. The music is also very good,


The film never slows down or bores, plunging from one harrowing sequence to the next.


I seen this movie on DVD not long after it was released and thought it was odd there was a Jack Black/ Ben Stiller movie I'd never heard of so I bought it, I now know why I'd never heard of it because they disowned it...watched it once and the DVD still sits on my shelf over a decade later ( I really don't know why, I may watch it again someday but I doubt it )


Tim and Nick are neighbors who work at a company which makes sandpaper. It's not clear what they do but they wear suits and have offices, and they carpool together each day. Both men have a wife and kids. Nick is so annoying with all his ideas for inventions, and while they are usually ridiculous, one day he gets an idea that actually works. A spray can that eliminates what dogs do! There is a scientist (I assume he works at Nick's company) who actually comes up with the magic formula. The one question that is never answered in the movie is: where does it go when it disappears? On broadcast TV, the question may have been slightly different than the one in the original version. And I just know the original must have used one word far more than what I heard.Tim did not choose to invest in this ridiculous idea. That's okay. he and Nick are such good friends that he shares the wealth, as much as Tim tries to stop his family from being spoiled.Tim is quite envious of Nick, who built a huge mansion right across the street and has the best of everything. And yet he resists letting Nick share the wealth as much as he can, and the white horse Tim's kids love is a particularly serious problem as it does what Nick's invention can cure, only Tim won't use it. Or shouldn't have.Eventually everything falls apart for Tim, and that's when the movie really gets crazy. Tim has a big secret and the wacky J-Man to help him with a scheme to keep this secret from ruining his life even further--for a price. And you just know that whatever Tim tries to do, he will ruin his life even more and more, with hilarious results for the audience.Meanwhile, Nick's wife wants to run for State Senate.The big question we all want to know the answer to: Surely everything will fall apart for Nick too, right? And how will Tim get out of his mess? How far will J-Man go to bring Tim down? How far down can Tim go?Ben Stiller and Jack Black are both considered talented actors. Just not here. Neither man shows why they are so popular.Christopher Walken, on the other hand, stood out. J-Man is quite a character. At least for this type of movie. Let's just say he is superior to Captain Hook in that NBC live production. The weirder this movie gets, the weirder he gets.Amy Poehler does nothing for me but annoy under normal circumstances. She does even less here.But if all you want to do is laugh at something bizarre, and just escape from your own troubles, this just might work.Tim regretted not investing in what he considered a dumb idea. Someone probably should have had Tim's intelligence not to invest in another dumb idea, but I'm glad someone did.


With a cast that includes Ben Stiller, Jack Black, Rachel Weisz, Amy Poehler and Christopher Walken, how could one go wrong with a comedy? The answer, in this case, is poor writing and direction. Barry Levinson's is poorly developed, inconsistent and overall a weak film. Some of the lines made me cringe. Even Jack Black and Ben Stiller couldn't do much to rise above the bad writing and Amy Poehler is terribly wasted. The only good thing is that all five actors have good chemistry and perhaps because they work well together, they, especially Weisz and Walken, manage to draw at least a few chuckles in some sequences. Given the premise, this could have easily been an engaging dark comedy. Unfortunately, Steve Adams horrendously messes up the screenplay that 'Envy' barely stands a chance. I don't know why a talented director like Barry Levinson chose to do this movie. It's a pity that a promising cast is wasted in it.

Mike Kiker

What happens when you take 2 great comedy stars, 1 great comedy director and stick them in a movie written by a first timer? "Envy", which is Hollywood for "Complete and utter s--t!"The only thing this movie's got going for it is the great cast. Stiller, Black, Rachel Weisz, Amy Poehler, Christopher Walken. This film had plenty of talent. Unfortunately, their acting chops can't fix the terrible writing, and completely implausible story. Stiller and Black just didn't seem to have any comedic chemistry like they did in "Tropic Thunder". Amy Poehler and Rachel Weisz are both reduced to nagging wives, even though Poehler's character tries to run for senate, that doesn't fix her character's one-dimensional-ness. This movie would've been better had it just been about Christopher Walken as a wise but creepy hobo, he plays that character to a T, even if his lines are complete s--t. It's also worth mentioning that Rachel Weisz didn't appear in a comedy for another 3 years after this. I bet this film had something to do with it.Also, who invents a stupid invention like "Vay-poo-rize" and becomes that filthy rich? I mean, I can understand Bill Gates or Steve Jobs level of wealth from their respective advances in the world of computers. But the guy who invents a spray that vaporizes dog s--t? He wouldn't make THAT much! And the fact that it turns out that the product produces a lethal poison at the end of the film is completely implausible if you actually consider the real world aspects of it. If a giant corporation was going to by the product and market it, they would've discovered the negative side effects in laboratory testing, and that would've been the end of it. It wouldn't been sold on the market, and the inventor wouldn't have made dollar one! And even if something wasn't lethal and was bought up by a corporation, the inventor probably would've gotten the shaft like Robert Kearns did. (Robert Kearns was the man who invented the intermittent windshield wiper, and his patents were stolen by Ford and Chrysler, both of which he successfully sued. They did a movie about that in 2008 starring Greg Kinnear called "Flash of Genius", but I never saw it.)Speaking of lethal poison, what was the deal with the scene that featured the lady veterinarian with the incredibly thick Latino accent? The only point of that character was to make a joke about the way she pronounces the words lethal poison, which to Ben Stiller's character sounds like "little person". I call bulls--t! Guess what scriptwriters? That joke wasn't funny and I understood what she said the first time! Sorry, your joke bombed, as did your movie.Avoid this. It's just not worth it.