Old Movie Review: The Mask (1994)

This is a classic movie. Completely silly and ridiculous, but a lot of fun. I saw it in the theaters when it came out years ago, and have watched it on TV many times since then. I have not, however, purchased it. I think I’ve seen it too many times to make a purchase worthwhile.

 

Anyway, it stars Jim Carrey and Cameron Diaz. Jim Carrey plays bank clerk Stanley Ipkiss who is guilty of that horrible sin: he’s too nice! People regularly take advantage of him and push him around because he’s something of a softie who doesn’t stand up for himself. That, however, is about to change. One night after a series of mishaps (he loses his friend at the latest hot club, he is tossed in the gutter by security guards, he is embarrassed by his loaner car in front of the beautiful Tina Carlyle, and his car breaks down on a bridge), he jumps in the river to save what he thinks is a man only to find a pile of garbage and a strange wooden mask. Little does he know that that mask harbors the spirit of Loki, the Norse God of Mischief, banished by Odin centuries ago.

 

He puts the mask on and its power is unleashed, transforming him into his unbridled inner self: a mischievous love-fiend. He goes about town getting even with a number of unfortunate miscreants who treated him poorly, and in the process robs a bank and upsets the mobster Dorian Tyrell, the boyfriend of Tina Carlyle. There is also a police detective who is drawn into the mix and shortly Stanley Ipkiss finds himself wanted by both the police and the mob. The Mask gives him the edge, but only when it is in his possession and he is wearing it.

 

The film is a good action comedy. The effects are cartoonish: whoever wears the Mask can stretch and change shape and conjure odd objects up out of nowhere, much like a cartoon character. In fact, that’s how I would sum it up: the Mask gives its wearer the power of cartoons; he can survive gunshots or great falls, he can swallow dynamite, and run at incredible speeds. The result is a hilarious mix of the real world and Looney Tunes (or is that Luney Toons?). My favorite scene is where Stanley Ipkiss’s dog Milo puts the mask on and begins terrorizing mobsters as a rather small dog with an exceptionally large teeth-filled maw.

 

Overall, I enjoyed the movie immensely and I’ll give it four stars.

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