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Saturday, February 25, 2006

CD REVIEW - Fun with Dick & Jane

Fun with Dick & Jane
Music by Theodore Shapiro
Varese Sarabande VSD-6711
23 Tracks 35:38 mins

The much-underrated Theodore Shapiro has been writing consistently good scores for some time now, mostly for comedies like Starsky & Hutch and Dodgeball but he also wrote a highly effective score for the thriller Heist. Unfortunately, none of these scores are commercially available, so it was with great pleasure that I approached this CD, featuring his latest effort for this Jim Carrey/Tea Leoni-cast remake of the 1976 Jane Fonda/George Segal comedy. And again the composer didn't disappoint, adopting a tremendously cool mix of urban rhythms, combined with standard orchestra. It's kind of retro-modern, if there's such a thing, sounding contemporary, but at times combining a somewhat Blaxploitation sound, with Bondian strings.
What the score has in spades is energy, and plenty of it, with some cool grooves and out-and-out fast, beat-driven action. One or two poignant moments for piano and strings feature, but it's the action writing that dominates, including a tremendous Mexican-styled cue "Illegal Immigration.
The music remains fresh throughout, due to the cues being somewhat brief, the longest being only 2 minutes and 39 seconds. Normally, I'm not a lover of brief cues, as a result, finding many of Thomas Newman's scores less than satisfying, but there's so much inventiveness and likeability about this score one can't help but warm to it.
I certainly hope that the availability of this score proves to be a breakthrough for the composer, resulting in all of his future work being available on disc.


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