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‘Richer’ Makes Shameless And Humorless Fun Of The Amish

I wish I were Amish so I could shun “For Richer or Poorer.”

The Amish practice of ignoring an offensive person (or, in this case, movie) could have been invented for “For Richer or Poorer.” Tim Allen and Kirstie Alley are rich, snotty New Yorkers who hide from the IRS in an Amish village, where they lie to everyone and decide to simplify their lives.

“For Richer or Poorer” isn’t the year’s worst movie, but it is one of the most idea-starved. Beginning with a fish-out-of-water concept lifted from “Green Acres” (which was, in turn, cribbed from “The Egg and I”), it is predictable from beginning to end, even down to the cast of TV actors who do the same thing we can already see them doing on TV (Alley’s comic whining, Allen’s scrunched-up faces, “Seinfeld’s” Wayne Knight’s slimy wheedling).

What humor there is comes from Alley and Allen, both of whom have physical comedy tricks to use when things get desperate. But the script runs to cliches about the Amish (whose culture is reduced to bowl haircuts, gray clothes and “w’s” pronounced like “v’s”) and punch lines even the writers of “Men Behaving Badly” would reject (“It was a short outbreak of lice. Minute Lice.”)

In fact, the most interesting thing about the movie is the crass exploitation of the Amish. You can practically hear the “For Richer or Poorer” producers saying, “Hey, the Amish are the perfect target. They don’t believe in the American justice system, so they won’t sue.” But the Amish get the last laugh - since many of them eschew electricity, they won’t have to see this dopey film.

MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: “For Richer or Poorer” Location: Newport, Spokane Valley Mall, Post Falls Cinema, Showboat Credits: Directed by Bryan Spicer, starring Tim Allen, Kirstie Alley Running time: 1:55 Rating: PG-13

This sidebar appeared with the story: “For Richer or Poorer” Location: Newport, Spokane Valley Mall, Post Falls Cinema, Showboat Credits: Directed by Bryan Spicer, starring Tim Allen, Kirstie Alley Running time: 1:55 Rating: PG-13



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