Tag Archives: Jim Carrey

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.

Movie Review: The Incredible Burt Wonderstone

“The Incredible Burt Wonderstone” is Hollywood’s latest magician movie. It’s been a while since we were wowed by “The Prestige” and “The Illusionist,” so apparently director Jay Roach wanted to get a new take on magicians. Unlike the aforementioned 2006 films, “The Incredible Burt Wonderstone” is intended as a comedy. To that end, it has billed both Steve Carell and Jim Carrey, two of the bigger names in comedy. It also stars Steve Buscemi, Olivia Wilde, and Alan Arkin.

 

The central character in the story is Burt Wonderstone (Steve Carell) one-half of a famous duo of stage magicians in Las Vegas. His partner is Anton Marvelton (Steve Buscemi). Together they make one of the biggest acts in Vegas. At least, in the beginning. But then, sales start to decline. An up and coming unorthodox magician by the name of Steve Grey (Jim Carrey) a.k.a. “The Brain Rapist” is threatening to capsize their operation. They have to come up with a new act, and fast. But their first idea is a disaster. So much so, they wind up dissolving their partnership. From there, the story follows Burt Wonderstone and his decline into desperation, the subsequent reshaping of his character, and his eventual reunion with Anton Marvelton leading to their collaboration on the greatest trick in magical history. There is also a love-interest angle in the story, a young assistant illusionist named Jane (Olivia Wilde), but I won’t delve into that here as it follows pretty much the standard patterns.

 

Strengths: the movie successfully showed the evolution of Burt Wonderstone’s character from self-centered, egotistical, schmuck to a reasonably decent human being who even wins the girl in the end. It was also good for a few laughs. Jim Carrey had some classic moments, particularly at the end. Weaknesses: well, although the movie was billed as a comedy and it had access to the talents of both Carrey and Carell, it wasn’t quite as funny as I hoped it would be. Like I said, there were a few moments, but not enough, in my opinion. Also, Burt Wonderstone started off as such a jerk, I didn’t think he deserved to win the girl (not that he had any competitors) in the movie. It was just silly Hollywood being stupid following the standard: boy meets girl, boy is jerk, girl is repulsed, boy reforms, and girl falls in love. Whatever.

 

Although the movie was decent, there were no great moments. Nothing that had me laughing to tears. Overall, I’ll give it three and a half out of five stars.