• FUN WITH DICK AND JANE is a fundamentally sick movie that has a few good moments. George Segal and Jane Fonda star as an upwardly mobile couple, living far beyond their means, who suddenly encounter financial disaster when Segal loses his engineering job with an aerospace firm. Faced with the imminent loss of their comfort and status symbols, the two descend into a life of crime, resorting first to welfare chiseling and then to armed robbery to maintain their lifestyle. This is all presented as good, clean fun, justified by the fact that everyone around them is cutting corners also. Despite the film's anti-moral context, a few of the comedy sequences work, because the quality of the writing and direction is far superior to the quality of the film's intent. Segal and Fonda rob the telephone company (to the cheers of people waiting in line to pay their phone bills); Segal attempts to hold up a drug store, but gets his gun stuck in the crotch of his pants; and for a finale, the pair crack open a safe at the aerospace company which is full of cash intended for bribes. These, according to the film's advertisements, are examples of "the imagination and ingenuity that has made American business what it is today." Fun With Dick and Jane is an example of how low some filmmakers will go to pander to public cynicism. Rated "PG."
• FREAKY FRIDAY, a new film from Disney, pokes fun at the generation gap with a clever idea—having a mother and her 13-year-old daughter switch identities for a day. Jodie Foster and her mother (Barbara Harris), each envious of the other's lifestyle and wishing they were "in each other's shoes," literally get their wish as their minds suddenly switch bodies. The mother (in the daughter's body) initially has the worst of the bargain, having to cope with classmates who don't understand why she is suddenly a klutz in everything from typing to hockey. But the daughter, attempting to imitate her mother's "life of leisure," is soon overwhelmed by a balky washing machine, a snarling house-keeper, and a male chauvinist father (now husband) who expects her to prepare a buffet for 25 on three hours notice. John Astin is appropriately befuddled as the husband/father, while Ruth Buzzi and Kaye Ballard have great cameos as blood-and-guts girls' hockey coaches. Mary Rogers' screenplay, based on her book, is full of the usual Disney sight gags, including a police-vs-Volkswagen chase scene that should delight the younger kids. The movie also contains enough intelligent, ironic humor to keep the adults in the audience from becoming restive. Rated "G."
• Barbra Streisand's latest valentine to herself is A STAR IS BORN. This rock-musical remake of the 1937 and 1954 versions will undoubtedly be snapped up eagerly by Barbra's legion of fans, even though in many respects she appears to be shortchanging her audience and her own talent. The plot is too thin, the character development too slow to maintain any kind of momentum during the movie's two hours and twenty minutes. Kris Kristofferson, as the self-destructive rock star who gives Barbra a boost up on his way down, actually invests more range into his thankless role than Ms. Streisand, who comes across as a hyperkinetic thrush from beginning to end. The pop songs by Paul Williams and others, and the pedestrian script by Joan Didion and John Gregory Dunne, offer no challenge to Streisand's singing or acting abilities. With a built-in sympathetic role, some agreeable songs to sing, and a proven vehicle for a storyline, Barbra Streisand seems determined to play it safe for the time being. One wonders how long her fans will continue to let her get away with it. Rated "R."
This article originally appeared in print under the headline "Movies".