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Stiller/Black pairing fails to rescue lacklustre yarn

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OPENS AUGUST 27, CERT 12A, 99 MINS

Ben Stiller and Jack Black play longtime neighbours and co-workers at a local factory. Tim (Stiller) is the focused company man while Nick (Black) is a bone-idle dreamer. When Nick invents a handy spray to make dog shit vanish, Tim remains sceptical and refuses to put money into the product. Eighteen months later, Nick is the multi-millionaire king of the “Va-poo-rise” empire, still living next door to Tim, but now in a mansion with a full complement of household staff and every vanity product imaginable. Of course, Nick is driven mad with jealousy, and fun and frolics commence. Except they don’t.

Stiller and Black are as funny as ever, but director Barry Levinson seems to have mislaid his gift for comedy. His lead duo’s chemistry occasionally shines through but neither they, nor Christopher Walken (marvellous as a crazy hobo who kicks off most of the tit-for-tat action) can rescue Steve Adams’ uninspired script or Levinson’s lacklustre pacing. If you want to see a decent Stiller movie this month, check out Dodgeball (see p 134).

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