The Mask

When I was invited to write my recent Polygon article about comic book films of the ’90s, I looked over a list and was a little surprised that I had seen and was very familiar with close to all of them. I checked out a few I hadn’t seen, like TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES III (not great, but not really my thing), and there were a few I felt I really needed to rewatch because I hadn’t seen them since they were released. In the case of THE MASK, holy shit, that was 25 years ago. I’m not sure it’s a movie anybody talks much about anymore, but I thought it was interesting enough to earn a full review.

I believe that wave of movies I wrote about were all ripples that came out of the giant splash that was Tim Burton’s BATMAN in 1989. More than just a hit, BATMAN was a cultural phenomenon. It’s hard to explain to people who weren’t there, but the hunger for Batman caused by that movie does not have a contemporary comparison I’m aware of. Wearing of bat symbol clothing (licensed or bootleg) rivaled Seahawks gear around here during playoffs. It was a time when they made Converse with bat symbols on them and then I swear to you they made a phone shaped like Converse with bat symbols on them. So studios scrambled to find another old character who could capture the zeitgeist like Batman had, and all those movies being in production paved the way for adaptations of lesser known comics (we didn’t call them “properties” back then because we didn’t want to sound like assholes).

Enter Oregon’s Dark Horse Comics, founded in 1986, now known for publishing Hellboy, Sin City and 300, as well as licensed titles like Alien vs, Predator, Star Wars and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. In 1991 Disney released THE ROCKETEER, the first movie based on a Dark Horse comic, and in 1992, founder Mike Richardson expanded into movies and television himself. Dark Horse Entertainment’s first film was DR. GIGGLES (which some places say is based on a comic, but I think the comic was just released as a tie-in) followed by THE MASK, based on one of their early titles created by Richardson. TIMECOP, BARB WIRE, MYSTERY MEN, VIRUS, AMERICAN SPLENDOR, HELLBOY, 30 DAYS OF NIGHT and POLAR were all produced by Dark Horse.

Little did they know when they started making THE MASK that the comedian they’d hired to star would be white hot by the time of release. Despite having appeared in movies since the early ’80s, to most of us Jim Carrey was still “the white guy from In Living Color” when ACE VENTURA: PET DETECTIVE became a surprise smash. THE MASK came out five months later.

Also relevant: this was the summer after JURASSIC PARK convinced us computers could do anything. Here Industrial Light and Magic applied that burgeoning technology to a cartoon tradition, giving ol’ Rubberface the ability to stretch his limbs, pop his eyeballs out and drop his jaw all the way to the floor. We’d never seen anything like it.

Carrey plays Stanley Ipkiss, an awkward, lovable loser and savings and loan employee who finds a magic mask floating in the river and when he puts it on it turns him into a green-faced, big-toothed id-creature who does cartoon things like grow a giant tongue to pant with when he’s horny, or pull a bunch of huge guns out of his pants. As Stanley later explains, “It’s like it… it brings your inner-most desires to life. If deep down inside you’re… a little repressed and a hopeless romantic you become some sort of a love-crazy wild man.”

He can zip around, spin like the Tasmanian Devil and crash through walls, so he robs the bank and does a sexy dance number with bank customer/torch singer/gangster’s moll Tina (21-year old model Cameron Diaz in her first ever acting role). One of those gets the police after him, both get the mob after him, specifically an up-and-comer named Dorian (Peter Greene, his movie between PULP FICTION and THE USUAL SUSPECTS).

Something many of the ’90s comic book movies took from BATMAN besides gothic scores and icon-based poster art was a fascination with the ’30s and ’40s. Though it didn’t take place in the past, BATMAN reveled in the era of the early Batman comics, bringing in art deco, old timey newspaper men and gangsters with tommy guns. I think that carried into the retro sensibilities of DICK TRACY, THE SHADOW, THE PHANTOM and THE ROCKETEER. And THE MASK is a weird offshoot of this because it takes place in the ’90s but when his asshole buddy Charlie from work (comedian Richard Jeni) gets him into the “hottest new joint in town” where “only the creme de la creme need apply,” it’s a retro place called Coco Bongo that’s somewhere between the swing revival (yes, The Brian Setzer Orchestra are heard) and straight up cosplay. Tina seems like kind of a bootleg Jessica Rabbit or Breathless Mahoney, and at the end she 1) gets tied to a bomb and 2) tricks the bad guy by asking for a “last kiss.” Also, in The Mask form Stanley wears zoot suits.

Okay, admittedly that’s because he idolizes the wolf from Red Hot Riding Hood. I guess to give a reason for all the animated antics, Stanley seems to be one of the Warner Brothers Studio Store’s best customers. In his apartment he has a maquette of that wolf, collectable cels of Daffy and Porky, and a Taz pillow. When he comes home from work he pops in a tape of Tex Avery’s Screwball Classics to relax.

In the comics, from what I’ve read about them, The Mask (called Big Head) is more of an anti-hero, or even a villain. The mask passes to different wearers, but the first story is about Stanley, and it sounds much grimmer than in the movie. Apparently after going on a rampage he starts being verbally abusive to his girlfriend, and when he has to put the mask on to escape from cops he ends up killing eleven of them. In the movie they make a point of him not hurting innocent people – when he does his “Cuban Pete” number it causes the police to sing along and even join in dancing, in that extremely corny “You’d never expect it from these hardcases, but look at them boogie!” comedy tradition.

There’s an exception though. There are these two auto mechanics who seem to be maybe taking advantage of Stanley, keeping his car too long and maybe lying about what needs to be fixed, and he doesn’t know how to stand up to them. So as the Mask he, you know… brutally rapes them. They don’t call it that, and we don’t have to see it, but they’re carried out on stretchers with mufflers stuck up their asses. A cop yells for a proctologist. The incident is played for laughs and never mentioned again.

Otherwise it plays enough like a fluffy comedy-romance that it wasn’t crazy when they made a line of action figures (I’m sure the Peter Greene one was the most coveted) and a kids’ cartoon. New Line Cinema originally saw it as a horror franchise, so they hired Chuck Russell (A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 3, THE BLOB) to direct, but he didn’t like the violence in the comics and hired screenwriter Mike Werb (DARKMAN III, FACE/OFF, LARA CROFT: TOMB RAIDER) because he had written a CURIOUS GEORGE script. (Story credits go to Michael Fallon [additional dialogue: HARDWARE] and comics writer Mark Verheiden for earlier drafts.)

The dark undercurrent I do see doesn’t seem entirely intentional. The movie strongly pushes that idea of the aggrieved “nice guy” who believes he’s deserving of love that he’s only deprived of because he’s so damn nice and you know how the women are they pick the mean guys am I right why don’t they pick me god damn it why. Stanley literally wrote a letter called “Nice Guys Finish Last” to local advice columnist Peggy Brandt (Amy Yasbeck, star of SPLASH, TOO). Working as a reporter, Peggy meets Stanley, learns that he wrote that letter, and raves about it, claiming that many women wrote to her wanting to meet him. She seems like she’s going to end up being his sweetheart, and in a later scene when he confesses to her about the mask, she tells him, “I don’t know what’s happening to you, but I do know this: that letter you sent my column, that was from a guy with more guts and more heart than any of the creeps I’ve met in this city. Whatever that mask is, you don’t need it. You, Stanley Ipkiss, are already all you’ll ever need to be.”

“Gosh, Peg,” he says. “Do you really mean that?”

“Actually… no,” she says. The mob paid her $50,000 to lure him in and she was just stalling. “Sorry. You really are a great guy, I just can’t lose my condo.” You see, because nice guys finish last and if you want to finish first, second or third you need to unleash your green side that violates mechanics and acts very Pepe Le Pew and turns Cameron Diaz on.

The thing some of these Nice Guys are missing is that maybe just because some hot lady came into the bank where a Nice Guy is working doesn’t mean she owes it to him to fall in love with him. Maybe she has her own thing going on – in this case, casing a bank to rob. The movie doesn’t take time to learn much about her personality and Stanley knows even less, so she’s just Hot Lady, the prize for Nice Guy to win from Bad Guy or get mad at if she chooses Bad Guy over him.

(She chooses Stanley, so if he still counts as a Nice Guy then sometimes they do get a ribbon.)

Stanley being such a Nice Guy doesn’t seem to affect his opinion of his piece of shit only friend Charlie. When Tina walks into the bank Charlie says, “Hold the phone. Killer at three o’clock. Stand back and observe.” Sure, we’re supposed to be happy when she brushes him off for Stanley, but then Stanley still goes out with Charlie that night. Later Charlie tells him, “A girl like that is always looking for a BBD. A bigger, better deal.” How does he know one single thing about “a girl like that”? I don’t believe he does. And more importantly who the fuck makes up abbreviations like that and says them as if they’re useful? I’m against it.

But as far as a comic book movie trying to channel the spasmodic comedy powers of Jim Carrey into a character, THE MASK is far superior to BATMAN FOREVER. He’s sort of like Robin Williams’ genie but doing most of the movements and facial expressions for real. He skips around to different voices and passionately imitates lines from old movies and I don’t always know what the fuck he’s talking about, but he throws himself into it. Since he imitates Clint’s “Do I feel lucky?” line from DIRTY HARRY I am required to point out that Carrey himself was in a DIRTY HARRY movie: THE DEAD POOL, as well as Clint’s PINK CADILLAC.

He’s also very natural in the makeup and wears giant teeth without looking uncomfortable, so he probly should’ve starred in BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY.

Man, people sure loved his dog Milo back then. You know how fickle people are about celebrity dogs, they go crazy and they pump up the one from Frasier or the one from THE ARTIST but then when it comes time for them to greenlight their passion project everybody has moved on to some new up and coming pup. It’s an ugly business. But I’m happy to say that the part where he wears the mask and gets a vicious Ed “Big Daddy” Roth type head is still pretty cool.

Plans were made for a THE MASK II, with Russell, Carrey, Diaz and even Yasbeck returning as a reformed Peggy Brandt. But Carrey decided he didn’t want to do it. One funny side effect of that is that Nintendo Power Magazine had done a contest to win a walk on part in the sequel. Here’s the guy who won the contest explaining how they made it up to him:

Ten years later, New Line released SON OF THE MASK starring Jamie Kennedy, which I haven’t seen (yet). The animation and comedy seemed horrifying on the trailer, the movie flopped and received reviews so bad that Kennedy got sad and made a documentary comparing critics to hecklers. Perhaps if New Line/Dark Horse hadn’t poisoned the waters so badly with that one people would remember THE MASK more fondly, or maybe it’s just too much a product of its time. They could do a late sequel now, but those types of cartoony FX would seem less novel, plus Diaz says she’s retired, and the plot would have to be about how Stanley’ status as a beloved member of the community is threatened when it comes out that he raped those mechanics.

So maybe it’s best if THE MASK remains a hazy green and yellow memory of how ssssmmmmokin’ things were back in 1994. No shame in that.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, March 12th, 2019 at 11:15 am and is filed under Comic strips/Super heroes, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

86 Responses to “The Mask”

  1. That’s a pretty fair take. Although I won’t hear a word spoken against Jackie Chan’s Mr. Nice Guy.

    (I will say this though–I think the ‘I’m unappreciated, can’t get a date, why aren’t things working out for me?’ position is one that pretty much anyone can empathize with at some point, I’ve seen it across all gender and race lines, and I think it’s worth separating the “enjoying a good cry/catharsis” part of it from a more toxic scapegoating of others. The difference between saying “It’s so hard to find a good man” and “It’s so hard to find a good man because they’re all disgusting pigs.” Okay, that’s enough quotation marks outta me…)

  2. I can’t tell you how happy I am you mentioned the Nintendo Power thing…

  3. Don’t bother with Son Of The Mask. Its just pure pain.

    I had the displeasure of seeing it while I worked as a theater projectionist. This was back in the days of 35mm projection. Normally in the multiplex days you just set it up and it ran smoothly in one continuous thread on a playyer system. (Not the Tyler Durden changeover method).

    Anyway I was covering at a theater that wasnt my regular, working this older theater where this one platter had a habit of slowing down which would cause the film to wrap around the “brain” (the dispensing mechanism that kept everything constant). So I had to stand next to the platter and spin it at a constant rate so the film wouldnt break and disaster would be averted.

    In order to stave off madness of the sound of sprockets in the projector, I turned on the monitor so i could at least have something. But it was no use. I smoked cigarettes and watched the godawful film. Ive never been angrier at a movie in all my life.

    Anyway, had to share this unique experience. Sorry for the rambling.

    (Last thing, thank you for validating my belief that Batman Forever is the worst of those. Peiple dont believe me but that one is just the pits).

  4. I have a life long love affair with bad movies. I enjoy, and very much stick up for all types of them. From mislead mainstream extravaganzas like BATMAN & ROBIN to wacky delusions like THE ROOM to the more self conscious stuff like the SHARKNADO sequels…I love them all.

    But SON OF THE MASK is the worst. Really hard to get through. One of the first movies I got through Netflix too (in the DVD through the mail days).

    It really is that bad.

    I can’t wait to read Vern’s review of it!!

  5. I just assumed that SON OF THE MASK was a product of the mid-2000s DTV boom; I had no idea it was theatrically released.

  6. Hey, Vern, love your reviews, your takes on movies are usually out of the box and really inspired.

    With that being (didn’t want to write “but”), I think you are doing this movie a disservice by focusing so much on the “nice guys” aspect of it, instead of other aspects of it, such as the SFX, which are in my opinion quite advanced for the time, and also some of the humor, which although somewhat dated, does draw a lot of its inspiration from the timeless Warner Bros. /Tex Avery cartoons and it has some really funny gags.

    So, basically, I wish you had reviewed it like you do some other movies, which can also be quite “dated” in their ideas but you at least give them a fair shake.

    Anyway, long time reader here and greetings from Portugal, keep up the awesome reviews.

  7. Dan- I don’t think it’s giving the movie an unfair shake to dwell a little bit more on the aspects of it that aren’t aging well, especially since we’re directly experiencing the ugly result of a lot of the ingrained “Nice Guys DESERVE to get the girl” thinking in the culture right now.

    That said, I think this one holds up better than the first ACE VENTURA, which similarly used Carrey really really well, but takes a big transphobic swing towards the end that makes it pretty ugly to watch these days. Still, you can see why these movies made him a star- he is ALL IN enthusiasm-wise in both of them.

  8. Kurgan, I agree with you, I just don’t think that the toxic part of the “nice guys deserve the girl” is the main thing in the movie and nowadays, the alt-right, incels, whatever, can appropriate anything and make it serve their own twisted agenda.

    The movie is pure wish fulfillment fantasy, in a cartoonish way, and I am not excusing it from anything, but I think it is more about standing up for yourself than getting the girl.

    Sorry for my lack of writing skills btw.

  9. Well, I just re-read the review and you did give the movie a fair shake, and were insightful as you usually are, so do disregard my comments (can’t delete them, bummer).

  10. I don’t know man, maybe this is just my stuck in the 2000s sensibility showing but what’s NOT funny about The Mask “brutally raping” the two mechanics? As George Carlin once said “if you don’t think rape is funny, imagine Porky Pig… raping Elmer Fudd, well why do you think they call him Porky?”

    He went on to say “I believe you can joke about anything. It all depends on how you construct the joke. What the exaggeration is, what the exaggeration is. Because every joke needs one exaggeration; every joke needs one thing to be way out of proportion.” and that’s the point, the exaggeration in this case, the one thing way out of proportion, is the idea of the cartoonish Mask character “raping” the mechanics and somehow shoving mufflers up their asses, how could anyone take that seriously? It’s absurd, which is the point.

  11. Griff- I definitely get what you’re saying but at the same time, like…the joke didn’t *have* to be about forcibly penetrating these guys with foreign objects against their will. Even if nothing else it’s not *such a great joke* that it completely justifies itself- he could have humiliated them in a million different non-sexual ways (tied them up in a fender, or, hell, drop an anvil on their heads or something). Like, sure, you *can* joke about anything, but if the punchline to a joke about rape is just “haha you got raped”, well, that’s a pretty shitty joke.

  12. The important question here is not “Is rape funny?” but “Does this joke still hold up?” Back in 94, “putting things into someone’s butt” wasn’t seen as rape, especially if the butt was male. So it was definitely not meant to be a rape joke and I guess most people didn’t see it as one anyway.

    Of course by now we, as a society, have learned many things and today this joke is more uncomfortable than funny. I still cut it some slack for the comically grotesque view of it, but come on. This is by today’s standards more Adult Swim than PG-13 summer blockbuster and that should make you think.

  13. If you read my DIRTY WORK review you can see me discuss a ’90s prison rape joke that wouldn’t be done anymore but I can’t help it, it makes me laugh. I don’t remember if the one in THE MASK was funny at the time, but I don’t think it is now, and is also bizarre in a story where we’re supposed to accept him as a nice guy who hasn’t really hurt anybody.

  14. Oh, the joke WAS considered funny back then. It always got one of the biggest laughs out of everybody. The theatre audience, my sister, my mother, my teacher. And it wasn’t considered more controversial than a kick in the balls. Just some good ol’ light hearted “Stick it to the man” moment.

  15. The thing about comedy that modern society has literally forgotten is that there’s SUPPOSED to be a level of “wrongness” to it, it’s supposed to be not the way things are done in polite society, the mufflers up the ass joke is funnier than tamer alternatives precisely because it’s so outrageous.

    If the President (not Trump, just any President) were to let out a big fart during the State of The Union address everyone would laugh because hey, that’s not how it’s supposed to go! Not because you hate the US, the President or the very concept of politics but because ya know, it would be not normal.

    People have gotten the idea in their head that humor is only ever an ATTACK, if you’re poking fun at something or someone that means you hate something or someone, you want only to cause pain, it’s not that damn simple.

    It’s coming from people who are frankly suffering from cognitive distortions, the term in this case is “catastrophizing”, aka always assuming the worst, it stems from toxic levels of narcissism in modern society, if you can’t take a joke at your expensive then you are simply a narcissist and the problem lies with you, not society, no one is above a joke.

    Now, just to be clear, I’m not saying a joke can never go too far, it’s fucking obvious that’s sometimes the case, it’s ALWAYS been obvious, to use another Jim Carrey movie as an example there’s not really any defending the transphobic jokes in ACE VENTURA, but it’s a matter of degrees and narcissistic, self centered weirdos in the present day hate the entire concept of comedy, anything that’s not constant agreement, praise and emotional validation is taken as a vicious attack.

    People like that won’t be happy until they’ve sucked all the laughter, fun and joy out of the world, we’re being taken for a ride and it’s time people wake up and tune back into reality.

  16. I remember reading my dad’s Newsweek Magazine complaining about “the pc police” on college campuses maybe before you were born, Griff. People were complaining that everything had to be politically correct while South Park and Family Guy were raising generations of kids on rape and Hitler and religious no-no jokes. There will always be humorless people, and also comedy will continue to offend the older people, and also the older people will continue to be offended that the younger people have different values than them. It’s good that they’ve started trying to be nice to people and not demean them as much anymore. It has not stopped the existence of comedy and laughs. They just have to evolve.

    I know the terror of encroaching political correctness will always be something you’ll want to talk about, but right now the PC police are not here, so talk to me. I’m the one telling you this specific joke isn’t funny. The PC police don’t even remember that this movie exists. I don’t know if it’s even on Netflix.

  17. If you don’t find the joke funny, that’s totally fine, I don’t know it in context, I haven’t seen THE MASK in forever and don’t even remember that specific scene, maybe the idea is funnier than the execution, comedy is totally subjective.

    All I was trying to say is that I don’t think it’s something worth getting real offended over, you describing it made me laugh because I’ve always thought of THE MASK as a fairly kid friendly movie, so the idea of him “brutally raping” two guys is kinda funny to me, I admit to having a twisted sense of humor, but that’s just me, maybe the scene does clash with the tone of the rest of the movie and doesn’t really work, I don’t know.

    Look, I think our wires are getting crossed here because everyone seems to think when I’m talking about is directed at anyone here personally, it’s not, I’m talking about the wider American culture, I’m not accusing you or anyone here of being “the pc police”, I’m sharing my view on the wider world.

    Political correctness as a concept is of course not anything new and it arguably didn’t start off as something bad, being politically correct used to mean not being blatantly racist or bigoted, that is perfectly reasonable, but over the years and in the social media age it’s evolved into something really bad, I don’t think it’s too hard to grasp the idea that things can evolve over time, can it? We have sayings like “the road to hell is paved with good intentions” for a reason, because things can start off good and well intended but evolve into something bad, because human beings are infallible and if you’re not careful and willing to second guess yourself, willing to have debate and discussions, then you’re well on your way to hell.

    Political correctness has gone too far, that’s all there is to it, to me this is like saying “water is wet” and I only belabor the point because I know everyone here, you especially Vern, is very smart and should be able to wake up to that fact.

    And I get passionate about this because I see this country headed for a train wreck, I know everyone here hates Trump, but I feel like the hate of Trump can blind people to the bigger picture of what’s going on, Stephen Fry said it best when he said “Donald Trump is not the triumph of the right but the failure of the left”, it’s utter insanity to me that the left has only chosen to double down on 2016’s tactics hoping that… somehow, it will work out better for 2020, what’s the literal definition of insanity?

    The left has got to learn when to distance themselves from lunatics and when to tell an asshole they’re being an asshole, if we can’t do it we’re doomed, it’s game over, we will lose and we will lose hard, just like we lost in 2016.

    Here’s what it comes down to, human beings are chaotic creatures that need to be able to blow off some steam, we crave chaos, maybe because for most of our history chaos is what we had to deal with so we learned to love it, but the point is if you demand perfection from people you’re going to get disappointed, what I see the modern left doing is demanding absolute perfection from people and using brutal intimidation tactics to try to get it, all this is doing is fostering rebellion, a “just want to watch the world burn” mindset that is only ironically making things worse for social justice, there are people would rather destroy everything than submit to this perfection liberalism, the more you learn to lighten up the more ammo you take away from them, trying to take comedy away is a perfect example, sometimes you just gotta laugh, even when the joke is a little mean.

    Alright, sorry to sound like a broken record, I don’t want to be the guy who only complains about political correctness, but like I said it’s just frustrating to me because I see this plain as day that political correct has gone too far and I get resistance to the idea from people I feel should know better.

    But whatever, I can’t force anything, I can agree to disagree, but I just want to make it clear what exactly I believe and why I believe so it can’t be misconstrued into anything.

  18. Just to throw in a bit of reference. The muffler up the butt was taken directly from the original comic series. The plot was fairly different but that shot of the mechanics being wheeled out was basically an exact panel recreation.

    I guess seeing it play out in live action altered the joke somewhat. Seeing it happen to two drawn figures in an anarchic and occasionally gory comic is pretty different from seeing it in real life.

    For me I thought it was pretty funny. On one level it takes the often used “I’m going to take that [something] and stick it where the sun don’t shine” threat to a literal level that never been seen before (I think). And secondly there’s some clever double layering of having a car exhaust being inserted in a person’s exhaust.

  19. But Griff, nobody’s being silenced, nobody’s getting arrested for their jokes, people still make jokes, Hollywood still makes comedies, R-rated comedies still make tons of money, comedians still base entire careers on “I’m just saying uncomfortable truths here” and still have their shows on Netflix, THE MASK is still available on DVD… Recently, Kevin Hart got in very mild trouble for some of his old jokes, sure he stepped down from hosting the Oscars, but then that was it, THE UPSIDE still came out and still made over 100 millions, so it’s not like he became a political prisoner or was forced into retirement. Kevin Hart is still gonna make movies and they’re still gonna make tons of money. And some people are still gonna complain that Kevin Hart sucks. It’s ok.

    People still have the right to make jokes, but freedom of speech also means that people have the right to complain about their jokes. Now of course with social media I understand the feeling of being surrounded by people who constantly complain about every joke, but ultimately… it’s just people complaining. They’re not actually keeping other people from making jokes, they’re just using their right to voice their opinion of those jokes. And then sure you have the right to complain that those people are annoying, but that old saw that “they’re killing comedy” is simply not true. You’re worrying about something that is not really happening.

  20. @Griff
    >>As George Carlin once said “if you don’t think rape is funny, imagine Porky Pig… raping Elmer Fudd, well why do you think they call him Porky?”<<

    I always imagine that Carlin joke as a parody of DELIVERANCE: "We're going to make you sq- sq- sq- squeal like a pig, boy." says Porky :-) … I know, I know, I'm a horrible person.

    "Though it didn’t take place in the past, BATMAN reveled in the era of the early Batman comics, bringing in art deco, old timey newspaper men and gangsters with tommy guns. I think that carried into the retro sensibilities of DICK TRACY, THE SHADOW, THE PHANTOM and THE ROCKETEER."

    BRENDA STARR did that before BATMAN, and I guess so did THE PERILS OF GWENDOLINE IN THE LAND OF YIK-YAK. Although I guess those movies might’ve been ripping-off the pulpy adventure style of INDIANA JONES.

    @The Kurgan
    “this one holds up better than the first ACE VENTURA, which similarly used Carrey really really well, but takes a big transphobic swing towards the end that makes it pretty ugly to watch these days”

    I like ACE VENTURA way Way better than THE MASK. Even the transphobic bit worked for me the last time I saw it. The first ACE is one of those movies (STRIPPED TO KILL, DRESSED TO KILL, not the mention THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS and PSYCHO, are some other examples) that makes me hope for a quick and painless acceptance of trans people in society. Maybe that way they’ll be cool with those movies and see them as of their time or funny. Kinda like these days you can find gay film critics praising William Friedkin’s CRUISING.

    On a sort of related note, this is not an american comic book movie, but Takashi Miike did a bunch of manga adaptations, and I think FOR LOVE’S SAKE is a really underrated one. I never see it getting mentioned anywhere, and that’s a shame, cuz it’s swell – it’s got, like, songs and stuff.


  21. Griff- I gotta say, this idea that comedy HAS to be transgressive or “wrong” somehow in order to be funny is real weird to me. Like, in that case, why did Bob Newhart ever have a career? Wouldn’t Andrew Dice Clay have been a huge smash hit that everyone loves to this day? Even George Carlin, it’s not like he was just up there running his mouth about rape all night, he also had all the jokes about, y’know “why do we say get ON the plane when we’re getting IN the plane”, which aren’t exactly making my mom clutch her pearls and the town fathers cluck their tongues. In the end, the only real rule about comedy is that it has to be funny.

    Daniel- I actually like ACE VENTURA as a general premise and character a lot more than THE MASK (I still think that opening bit where he’s in disguise delivering that package is one of my all-time favorite bits of physical comedy in a movie), but I just can’t laugh at all the “Finkle is Einhorn” stuff anymore. That exact attitude has gotten and continues to get people (many of them friends of mine, not that it should matter empathy-wise I guess) beaten up, harassed, and straight up killed in real life. Like, it’s a beautiful dream that maybe one day we can all look back on that and laugh and I hope we get there, but for now trans people are being murdered at higher rates than ever. I also think it’s conceptually a little different from CRUISING, in that CRUISING was about trying to depict a real subculture, if, y’know, greatly dramatized for film purposes, whereas in ACE VENTURA, the fact that she’s trans is just an extended punchline. Like, it’s 2019, I don’t really wanna laugh at Jim Carrey trying to rip his own face off because he might’ve enjoyed kissing a trans person.

    That said, I really don’t want to blow this thing in THE MASK out of proportion. I like the movie, I just think that bit is kinda weird is all, from a character perspective if nothing else. I think if the gangster guy had done that to the two mechanics after he gets the mask at the end, I wouldn’t even bat an eye at it, because I’m not really being asked to sympathize with the bad guy abusing his powers.

  22. I’m not a hardliner on rape jokes, I find some funny. One of my favorite underseen and underappreciated shows, BIG TIME IN HOLLYWOOD FL, had a running one where the main characters are in a police interview, and are making up lies about a dead guy to make him seem like a monster and deflect from their part in his accidental death (he was an actor they hired to play a gangster, and the police confused him for an actual gangster and shot him like a hundred times). The lies get more and more scandalous, and somehow they end up declaring “and he raped our friend Del!” Then they have to convince their idiot friend Del to back that lie up, and that becomes a running story for the rest of the show.

    To me, it’s not funny that he got raped, because he didn’t, but it’s funny that the characters extemporaneously came up with such an outrageous and unnecessary lie, and now they have to stick to it, and so does their friend. I suspect hardliners would disagree and suggest the joke would work as well if they had claimed their friend Del had suffered a non-sexual violation that they would have to lie about. And I don’t know if that’s true or not, but the point is I found this example funny so my sense of humor is not being suppressed by political correctness.

    All that said — ‘rape as revenge’ I don’t think I find funny. Committing an actual rape, even a comedic one, is to me, not funny. I agree with Kurgan above, in that that’s something I would expect a bad guy to do as an example of him abusing his powers, not the good guy I’m supposed to root for. I haven’t seen The Mask in 20 years, so I don’t remember this particular joke, but from the description of it I doubt I would laugh now.

    And Griff, quit the The fact that you’re hysterically terrified of left-wing mobs, and now, I guess, an impending “world without laughter” is fine and good, you do you. It’s not that you’re *entirely* off base, either. In the other thread, Mr. Subtlety said that today’s cultural criticism has “an unappealing censorial tone” and that clickbait-y “sweeping moral condemnations” are common but unhelpful. I would agree with that. I think most people here would agree with that. But these aren’t the real serious apocalyptic problems that you portend they are. My guess is you only think so because you spend all your time online.

  23. JTS- I haven’t seen the show, but for whatever it’s worth that sounds like a pretty funny joke to me.

  24. Griff, I’ve been working in comedy in some form or another for 17 years and that’s the worst summation of our art that I have ever heard.

    Comedy has to be…funny. That’s it. The idea that it has to be “edgy” or whatever is why open mics are filled with bearded white guys in flannel talking about rape. I tell every aspiring comic “don’t TRY to be offensive.”

    Sure, anything can be joked about from the right angle, and there’s plenty of great offensive jokes, but there’s no rule that comedy HAS to make you uncomfortable. Like Kurgan says up there, look at Bob Newhart. Totally hilarious and groundbreaking, and you could play his records in preschool. It’s about being funny, finding humor in life, and has nothing to do with making people uncomfortable.

  25. And I think “political correctness” in its modern usage is just to demonize inclusivity. It’s used to convince morons that updating our language to include more people in a (slowly) balancing power structure is somehow a threat to our way of life.

  26. I’m specifically looking at some movies from the ’90s and one of the things I’m interested in is how they play differently now than they did then. Both because the world is different and because I’m different from when I originally saw them. I hope we don’t have to talk about “the left” every time.

  27. Later Charlie tells him, “A girl like that is always looking for a BBD. A bigger, better deal.” How does he know one single thing about “a girl like that”? I don’t believe he does. And more importantly who the fuck makes up abbreviations like that and says them as if they’re useful? I’m against it.

    The joke is that you think he’s gonna say “Big Black Dick”.

  28. Oof I hope not Vern.

    To clarify what I said on “political correctness:” I’m referring to when people use that term as a criticism of sensitivity

  29. Thank you xx7, I guess that was over my head. Now it brings up different questions about Charlie, though.

  30. grimgrinningchris

    March 13th, 2019 at 1:13 pm

    Though Brian Setzer Orchestra WAS on the soundtrack, I really think it was Royal Crown Revue’s actual showstopper set piece performance of “Hey Pachuko” that really kicked off the swing revival outside of LA.
    Though the revival started in 1989 (as did many of the bands associated with it, RCR included) it was this movie that took it outside of the LA retro-speakeasies…

    SWINGERS wouldn’t come for two more years (everyone outside of LA’s intro to that nightlife and to Big Bad VooDoo Daddy) and Setzer himself wouldn’t actually have a mainstream hit with his swing band until 97 with his cover of “Jump. Jive & Wail”.

    So yeah, for better or worse (I really like Royal Crown Revue, appreciate Setzer being a huge factor in the ressurected yet ANOTHER genre in the public eye… and I think BBVD and garbage like Cherry Poppin Daddies- ugh I hate that name- were basically posers), I really think it was this movie that kicked off the revival internationally and wasn’t just riding something already established.

    I think Setzer’s street cred and reasons for doing the Orchestra are largely pure and given that Royal Crown Revue was largely made of of old punks from bands like Youth Brigade and since at the time there was no real demand or audience for what they were doing outside of a handful of bars on LA, their intentions were pure as well… but sooooo much of what came after The Mask and Swingers was just calculated, let’s play dress up garbage.

  31. I still like Squirrel Nut Zippers, because I feel like they weren’t trying to be cool. They weren’t about the zoot suits and old timey slang. They were some true fucking nerds who got degrees in jazz theory so they knew how to play six different kinds of clarinets. They didn’t just take the parts of swing that had aged well. They took the dorky parts, too. I think that’s why they still hold up and most of those other bands now sound like what they really were: former ska bands who found a new gimmick.

  32. This is great. I think The Mask also qualifies as a summer fling so I look forward to a few more of these.

    I can attest that as a teenager in 1994 I was a toxic nice guy. I thought that I was so nice and generous I deserved a girlfriend who appreciated me. Boy my first actual relationship was a learning experience, and it took me many more years to learn that just doing nice things for people didn’t in itself make you a good person. Fortunately I took time to change the essence of a man and learn about things like listening, avoiding judgment, giving people space, being the change I wish to see and not trying to force my values on anyone, were the things I needed to do to be a viable partner for another human being.

    So movies like The Mask did reinforce that toxic belief because Stanley didn’t actually have anything to offer people. He was sort of being “nice” as an excuse not to have to commit to anything that might limit the pool of people who “like” him. Of course being considerate and tolerant is important, but that’s not exactly what Stanley is. He’s being insincere to avoid turning anybody off.

  33. grimgrinningchris

    March 13th, 2019 at 2:16 pm


    Good call. Squirrel Nut Zippers were definitely all class and one of the good eggs from that boon, for sure.

  34. Is Griff one of the very fine people Trump was talking about after the Charlottesville thing? Jesus man, first you go on a rant about the left, now you want people to leave rape jokes alone. I don’t mean to be an asshole but you really need to be called out on your bullshit.

    Also, again, if violent video games don’t make violent people, the Mask doesn’t make incels. Incels would feel the way they do without Pretty in Pink, you know what I mean?

  35. @The Kurgan – There’s varying degrees of comedy and of course it doesn’t have to all be transgressive to be funny, but if you’re not going to leave room for transgressive humor then it’s going to have a net effect of watering down comedy because what is and isn’t “transgressive” is subjective, who gets to decide where exactly the line is drawn? It shouldn’t be the online mob mentality that’s taken hold of modern culture, that’s for sure.

    It’s a tightrope you have to walk and that’s always been the case, all I’m calling for is nuance and if it’s one thing modern culture lacks, it’s nuance.

    @JTS – I get a little hyperbolic, I admit, but only because I wonder what the long term effect of all this is, what’s it going to be like in another 10 or 20 years if people stay as uncompromising as they are now? An utter nightmare I fear.

    @Sternshein – I wasn’t saying “leave rape jokes alone”, in this specific instance I was sharing why I personally thought the joke in The Mask is funny and why in general people shouldn’t too sensitive when it comes to comedy.

    But to be honest I’m not a big fan of rape jokes as a rule or anything, it’s not something I often find funny, I’ve also already stated there’s no defending the transphobic jokes in ACE VENTURA, sometimes yes, a joke can go too far and be offensive.

    I just don’t believe in dogpiling on people when they do make a joke that goes too far, provided they apologize, but apologies mean nothing anymore, it deeply bothers me how unforgiving many people are in modern times, it’s not right.

  36. “So movies like The Mask did reinforce that toxic belief because Stanley didn’t actually have anything to offer people. He was sort of being “nice” as an excuse not to have to commit to anything that might limit the pool of people who “like” him. Of course being considerate and tolerant is important, but that’s not exactly what Stanley is. He’s being insincere to avoid turning anybody off.”

    Thanks for writing that Fred. I suffered (shit I STILL do) from nice guy syndrome. I felt I should make a comment on it here of all places since it came up in the review but it’s hard for me to put into words. Mostly because it makes me feel like shit and I feel I should have gotten over that awful attitude years/decades ago but it still lingers. Thought I got over it but events transpired a few years ago I’m still reeling from that proves that no, I’m not and even though I recognize it I’m not getting better.

    So thanks again Fred. I’m happy you improved and I hope I can one day get to a place where I can feel comfortable communicating and even attempting to form a platonic bond with humans again.

  37. I love this conversation. So many good things raised even from the squirmy stuff some have exposed about themselves.

    On Offense – absolutely don’t go out of your way to be an asshole just because you want laughs at another’s expense. Or a certain group’s expense eg the Trans community. It’s easy to be a prick, harder to stop and consider a person’s story. Personalities have motives behind them. Us guys especially have carefully elaborate fig leafs we hide behind, constructed over many, many years of making deep vows about life and relationships, and about ourselves on levels we rarely want to think about. Because some things just fuckin hurt.

    However, on Risking Offence In The Service Of Love, I would not hesitate to bring up uncomfortable questions. For example, how’s the Nice Guy thing working for you? Aren’t you exhausted from meeting everyone else’s needs but emptying out in the process? Why can’t you say no to people? The questions can be a catalyst for self-evaluation. And change.

    I don’t want to be the guy who accepts everyone and every group because Heal The World Make It A Better Place, Man I Feel Good Now, but because “I” want to be different, and stronger and more loving. Then I’ll have something substantial to offer to all types of people.

  38. Griff- If you want nuance, isn’t that what this is? I’m not saying the whole movie is worthless and nobody should ever be able to see it again, or that we gotta ban Jim Carrey or whatever. I *like* the movie, I’m just saying “hey I got a problem with this particular part right here and this is why”. I’m just reflecting on how this film impacts me, that’s all.

  39. I guess from the definitions I’m seeing, I’m not a “Nice Guy,” as I don’t feel that sex is something that’s earned and owed. If someone’s not interested in me, I’m not interested in them. Sailin’ on.

    But I do try to be nice to everyone, not because I want anything from them but because I’ve made a decision to navigate the world with positivity (and I’m sure I slip up all the time, but it’s a start). In some situations, including non-romantic ones like work or whatever, kindness can get taken for weakness. Being nice doesn’t mean you’re weak, but it does mean the person assuming that is stupid.

    But yeah, have self-respect everybody. Playing a devotional martyr won’t make you seem interesting or attractive and nobody wants to be looked at as a prize you’re owed.

  40. Griff:
    “The thing about comedy that modern society has literally forgotten is that there’s SUPPOSED to be a level of “wrongness” to it, it’s supposed to be not the way things are done in polite society, the mufflers up the ass joke is funnier than tamer alternatives precisely because it’s so outrageous.”

    I think you’re dead wrong about that. Modern society is as politically incorrect as ever, and you see it nowhere more prominently than comedy. I live in Long Beach CA, where the crosswalks are literally painted rainbow because we’re so liberal and inclusive. I’m a comedy fan, I go to comedy shows all the time and I see both small time and famous comics performing in clubs all over LA. And the shit they say is fucking appalling, and people shit their pants laughing. I was just watching a dude do a ten minute routine about getting cuckolded by his infant son, imitating said infant’s triumphant gloat as he sucked on mommy’s tiddies. The audience was fucking howling. There was no hand wringing “you’re going to do a joke sexualizing babies after FINDING NEVERLAND came out?!?! too soon!!” reaction….that’s not how people operate, including the SJWs that comprise my community.

    I also drive by billboards saying “Save the Galaxy: Rehire James Gunn”. I urge you to consider that you, and whoever fired James Gunn, is taking the twitter outrage machine way more seriously than you should.

  41. In case it’s not clear, I think all people should try to be nice – it’s not a weakness, it’s the opposite, and should be expected of everybody. My use of “Nice Guy” in this review is not meant to describe an actual nice guy, but the kind of person who insists they are nice and are angry that they’re not being rewarded for it like they feel they deserve. That’s not actually being nice, it’s faking being nice to get what you want. I think Fred described it really well.

    Thanks for the discussion everybody. SSSSSMMMMOOKIN’. –Jim Carrey, THE MASK

  42. My favorite author is Dale Carnegie. In How to Stop Worrying and Start Living he reminds us that Jesus healed 100 lepers and only one of them thanked him. So don’t expect more gratitude than even Jesus got. Do kindness just for the sake of being kind. If you do it for gratitude you’ll be disappointed.

    That was a revelation. It’s so freeing to focus on the act of kindness rather than the result. And if nobody else is going to show gratitude, maybe we can.

    Palermo, I’ve heard that expression that people mistake kindness for weakness. I think the inverse is actually true. Toxic nice guys mistake weakness for kindness. Making yourself weak and subservient is not actually doing anyone else a favor. True kindness need not be done at your own expense. I’ve never felt people considered me weak when I’ve been kind. Quote the opposite. I feel bad powerful being kind, especially when it’s easier not to be.

    Geoffrey, it can be hard to unlearn. We don’t have good role models for self-advocacy while respecting others too. Actually, I recommend Carnegie’s books to everyone. How to Win Friends and Influence People is profoundly useful.

  43. Rehashing some points from previous conversations but;

    This is actually a film I hear come up in conversation fairly often. What with the cartoon and the toys and whatnot, this was quite a big deal among the age group of me and my friendship circle (mostly born 1986-1990ish), and in the UK I sometimes think some of the “family” films from the 80s and 90s were a bigger deal here because of how the rating system was more restrictive at the time.

    It was a big deal for me personally; had the toys, loved the cartoon, occasionally bought the comic of the cartoon of the film of the comic. I even had a CD-rom proto-motion-comic of the original graphic novel, although (I think?) toned down for the audience wooed by the movie and the cartoon. I guess it fitted in to my fascination with classic animation and CGI at the time, plus Carrey’s antics were catnip to many 90s kids. Last time I saw it, it seemed surprisingly thin to me, but it’s been a while now.

    I saw SON OF THE MASK in cinemas and, at the time, I have to be honest and say I didn’t mind it. I had just turned 18, was facing that period of change where you’re staring adulthood in the face and looking at going to Uni/college etc, and I wasn’t facing up to those challenges very confidently, so seeing a franchise from my childhood unexpectedly return was easy comfort for me, even in barely recognisable form. I’ve seen bits since and have been horrified. I still think, unlike ACE VENTURA or DUMB AND DUMBER, a Carrey-free sequel wasn’t such a bad idea as it’s a premise which lends itself well to a revolving series of protagonists (like xXx!), so it’s a shame they went with what might actually be the worst idea possible.

    As for ACE VENTURA, I am and always will be team WHEN NATURE CALLS.

  44. @The Kurgan
    “I just can’t laugh at all the “Finkle is Einhorn” stuff anymore.”

    Sure, man, I understand. For what’s it’s worth, I don’t think I ever thought the transphobic bits of that movie were funny because the Finkle/Einhorn character was icky to me. I actually like her, I think she’s a great comedy villain. She’s as big and crazy as Carry’s Ventura, and she makes a great foil for him. I like that joke because it’s a dumb joke played at eleven, kinda like cowboys eating beans by the campfire in BLAZING SADDLES or Eddie Murphy’s family dinner in THE NUTTY PROFESSOR. But yeah, I guess storywise they us the Finkle is Einhorn stuff to have a knock down, drag out, THEY LIVE style, brawl between her and Ventura, so the movie definitely goes for “violence against trans people is funny”, and it’s hard to defend that.

    Oh, and by the way, I forgot to explain why Miike’s FOR LOVE’S SAKE is sort of on a related note to this conversation :-)

    That movie is kinda about a nice girl trying to fix a bad boy. Which I guess is somewhat of a gender-flipped version of the nice guy narrative. And it also has a nice guy character, who’s mostly the but of the jokes. And I don’t really remember how that movie ends, I think it eventually lands on those cliches, but before that it takes some unusual detours and that way makes those cliches more satisfying. So yeah, like I said, it’s worth seeing, I think.

    “I am and always will be team WHEN NATURE CALLS.”

    It has its moments.

  45. i’m sure that many of you are across this amazing video already (and she has many more where this one comes from) but, if not, this seems like the perfect place to post it

  46. Okay, I’ll say it. I liked Son of the Mask. If Carrey wasn’t gonna do it, Jamie Kennedy after the Scream movies wasn’t an unreasonable choice. And the clever hook was that he actually wasn’t The Mask most of the time. It was his baby. I remember the cartoon baby antics being fun.

    YMMV but still if people didn’t like Son of the Mask, I don’t see why it has to be punished like it’s Caddyshack II or Blues Brothers 2000 or something.

  47. Hey I like Caddyshack 2

  48. grimgrinningchris

    March 14th, 2019 at 1:44 pm

    As much as I like Pretty In Pink and don’t think that entitled, “friend-zoned” Duckie deserved her just because he was “a nice guy” and in love with her any more than I think Blaine deserved her… I don’t think either are inherently bad guys… but I also still hate the ending- and likely would have hated it more had she wound up with Duckie. Neither deserved Andie.

    I think the ending of Some Kind Of Wonderful is far more satisfying… yes it is a gender reversal, but 1) Watts wasn’t nearly as obnoxious or pushy as Duckie… she just loved Keith and was fine with mostly keeping quiet about it and not stomping her feet… and 2) I think it is clear that Keith really DID love Watts and it wasn’t just some third act change of heart… he was struggling with the acceptance of his father and his station in life both… and went, briefly, for a brass ring (or diamond earrings, in this case) that he felt like he’d be a fool for not at least giving it a shot with… and his realization that he never really wanted it in the first place seems genuine and totally earned.

  49. grimgrinningchris

    March 14th, 2019 at 1:51 pm

    Back to the swing revival part and Majestyk…

    I think what floats Squirrel Nut Zippers is 1) the jazzier side of the band and 2) their more dustbowl carnival circuit meets vaudeville aesthetic and sound
    While it was a tougher, more aggressive vibe to Royal Crown Revue (again, likely due to most of the band coming from actual legit 80s LA punk bands) that made them stand out more than many of their more cartoonish contemporaries.

  50. I love SOME KIND OF WONDERFUL. It’s the same movie as PRETTY IN PINK except it works.

  51. Better soundtrack, too.

  52. I actually don’t hate Caddyshack 2 either.

  53. Fun fact about the swing revival: It didn’t happen here until much later. We were all too busy to dance to 150-190 bpm Techno sounds, to give a shit about music from 60 years ago. Then in 2001 Robbie Williams released his SWING WHEN YOU’RE WINNING album and suddenly swing was everywhere for a short time, although it was more the form of Sinatra-esque big band hotel lounge sound and it didn’t inspire any kids to wear suits.

  54. Fred- I’ve got your back; I was probably being a bit mealy-mouthed when I said I was OK with SON OF THE MASK, I’m pretty sure I straight up liked it, although I think me going through an Ernest Cline-type phase did have as much to do with that as the actual movie.

    I don’t really like either CADDYSHACK that much, but when I first watched them at 12 or so I definitely preferred the second one.

  55. Caddyshack 2 is definitely more kid friendly with the full sized mini golf golf course. I do think the original is one of the funniest movies ever made, so it’s sort of an unfair comparison. On its own, C2 is perfectly fine for a dumb ‘80s comedy.

    Son of The Mask has a bit more going for it trying to do something different.

  56. This is how the world ends. Not with a bang, but with people defending CADDYSHACK 2 and SON OF THE MASK.

  57. All I ask is that you witness me shiny and chrome.

  58. I did not think twice about the muffler “rape” joke in THE MASK back 25 years ago, apart from the brutal violence against petty criminals which is weird in an otherwise mostly light hearted movie. If I watched it now I am pretty sure the rape part still wouldn’t cross my mind.

    The Finale/Einhorn jokes in PET DETECTIVE barely register to me as transphobic either. I never thought this stuff was especially funny either. But it seems to me that the female persona of Einhorn is more of a disguise to escape the infamy of being Finkle, after the guy went nuts obsessing about the missed field goal. And a disguise taken on to exact revenge against those that they blame for the failure, with the “laces out” mantra and all. I am not sure I would consider Einhorn trans any more than I would consider the two guys in SOME LIKE IT HOT trans.

    But of course Einhorn is a crazy character who went nuts and went trans as part of a psychotic break. So that is probably not very trans-positive. Trans people are all crazy, amiright? At least the fight between Einhorn and Ventura is not portrayed as revenge for being kissed by a “man”, and the joke when everybody starts puking (because they kissed a man) is partly because they kissed a man (ha ha) and mostly because EVERYBODY does it, so Einhorn has really got around. Ha ha.

    Is Einhorn really trans?? Or just a man in disguise?

  59. The Einhorn stuff kind of shocked me when I revisited PET DETECTIVE as far back as 2005, though at the time I thought it was homophobic rather than trans. Just generally unpleasant though, like sitting next to a very angry person #TeamWhenNatureCalls

  60. Guys, I’m just gonna put this to bed.

    With or without the transphobia, ACE VENTURA has never not been terrible and unfunny and is thus not worth any measure of hemming and hawing over its terrible and unfunny content. The day it was released, it was terrible and not funny, and it has gotten more terrible and less funny every day since. It is currently more terrible and less funny than it has ever been, but not as terrible and unfunny as it will be tomorrow. Furthermore, the only funny and not terrible comedy Jim Carrey has ever been in is DUMB & DUMBER, and he has Jeff Daniels to thank for that. Jim Carrey, while perfectly palatable as a dramatic actor, is a terrible and not funny comedic actor, full stop. He is talented in the manner of a party clown or local musical theater star. Sure, you and I lack the skills to do the things he does, but why would we want to?

    I hope this clears things up so that we never have to talk about the terrible and unfunny movie ACE VENTURA ever again.

  61. That’s excluding the CD-Rom game, right?


  63. It’s not like ACE VENTURA looks bad only in retrospect. Pretty much every critic I read called it bigoted at the time.

  64. Yep, even noted counterculture warrior Leonard Maltin called it out in his three line review. The only reason I didn’t pick up on it on my earlier viewings is because I was 9. I think it’s fair to say the gap between critics and audiences was quite a bit wider in 1994 though. If they ever reboot THE CRITIC (again) Jay Sherman would have to be pretty radically changed if they want any contemporary relevance

  65. Homoohobic joke or transphobic joke, it fucking sucks. Naked Gun 33 1\3 did that shit too. As somebody in the LGBTQ realm those jokes upset me even then. Like they were telling me I was weird and something people should be ashamed of. So yeah fuck those jokes.

    Also, unrelated, the Kenny Loggins Caddyshack 2 theme song is so much better than his Caddyshack theme song. It’s I inarguable lol

  66. He is talented in the manner of a party clown or local musical theater star.

    Jeez… What have you got against party clowns and local musical theater? If I every become a party clown or appear in a community theater production, I pray I’m spared such harshness.

  67. It wasn’t meant to be an insult, per se. I just meant that he is undeniably good at what he does, but what he does is pretty lame.

    Alright, fine, it’s an insult. I apologize to any birthday clowns or local musical theater performers I may have offended.

  68. I am not saying that the movie Ace Ventura isn’t transphobic, but I am curious what people make of the idea that Einhorn did, arguably, trick people into kissing her by not disclosing her gender.

    People generally don’t like that, in Revenge of the Nerds, the one nerd tricks the woman into a sexual situation that she likely would not have given consent to had she known who it was. In that situation it was a male tricking a female, vs. a trans person (without discussing if Einhorn really is a trans character or not) tricking straight males – is that why people think they are treated differently? Or is it more the degree of the deceit? Or the perceived perspective of the movie?

  69. I have s KID that defines herself as a trans woman now, and I’ve become really sensitive to these jokes. I wasn’t before, but things change. Like they should!

  70. Damn that auto correct! «a kid»

  71. Jim Carrey is at his best when his persona is subverted in some way, it worked in DUMB AND DUMBER because Lloyd was supposed to be both a pathetic loser and also an insane idiot, there was nothing “cool” about him, he wasn’t just a “lovable goof” like Ace Ventura.

    Same with THE CABLE GUY, in which his whole goofy persona was just a shell covering a creepy and broken person.

    And it works in THE MASK simply because of the character of Big Head.

    But when he simply plays it straight like in LIAR LIAR or BRUCE ALMIGHTY it just comes off as pretty bland.

  72. Wait, we’re shitting on AVPD for it’s ugly trans stand, and #-teaming AVWNC where a robot Rhino gives birth to a man, and an indigenous woman’s baby enters the world with an induced umbilical bungee jump?


  73. In my defence, the PG UK cut of WNC I grew up with cut out the umbilical chord scene. I first heard about the scene when my uncle told me he got in trouble with his pregnant wife for laughing at it.

    I must admit I’m ignorant of the issues around robotrhino/human breeding. Are there COOL WORLD-style dimension ripping consequences?

  74. Fun fact: My sister once caught the beginning of ACE VENTURE 2 on TV and refused to watch the rest, because she was so bummed out by the death of the raccoon.

  75. doubleh55@gmail.com

    March 17th, 2019 at 8:27 pm

    Yes, kissing those men without consent is wrong too. She was a villain after all. However, the reaction from Ace and the guys was a bit over the top. Davey, you don’t like trans people do you?

  76. I thought we’d all collectively agreed to head down to Lacuna Inc and erase Jim Carrey’s 1994-1998 filmography from our memories, and yet here we are discussing the transphobia of ACE VENTURA. The internet was a mistake.

  77. I never agreed to this. You were a mistake. Sorry, that was harsh.

  78. @Mastor Troy
    The Rhino scene is actually one of those moments that I really liked in WHEN NATURE CALLS. You guys are starting to convince me that my sense of humor might be crass and unsophisticated :-)

    “Jim Carrey is at his best when his persona is subverted in some way, it worked in DUMB AND DUMBER because Lloyd was supposed to be both a pathetic loser and also an insane idiot, there was nothing “cool” about him, he wasn’t just a “lovable goof” like Ace Ventura.”

    I don’t know about that. I think the Ace Ventura persona is being more consistently portrayed as a childish immature asshole (calling himself a “winner” and other people “losers”, and so forth) than a lovable goof. Usually when comedies do the asshole persona we laugh at him (or her) bumbling his way through situations. But since Ace is pretty good at his job he ends up being closer to Carl Kolchak (including the disdain and irritation he gets from cops) than MacGruber. Still, the laughs are mostly there when he’s hustlin and sweatin to make things work for him.

    That’s kinda way I think that movie still works to a degree. Like if Ventura is a transphobe to the ridiculous degree that is shown in the film, then he’s immature. But he’s also an animal activist, which is commendable. And Einhorn isn’t really that different. She’s a trans woman who managed to make a career for herself in law enforcement and win the respect of her peers, but she’s still hung up on that old football game. So the movie shows that someone’s politics or gender won’t necessarily save them from their toxic ego. Or, I don’t know, something like that.

    “And it works in THE MASK simply because of the character of Big Head.”

    Maybe it works, but Carrey still executed that nice guy/mean guy duality better in ME, MYSELF & IRENE.

    @Mr. Majestyk
    “Jim Carrey, while perfectly palatable as a dramatic actor, is a terrible and not funny comedic actor, full stop. He is talented in the manner of a party clown or local musical theater star. Sure, you and I lack the skills to do the things he does, but why would we want to?”

    That’s a little harsh. You don’t have a soft spot for his MTV Movie Awards acceptance speeches? I thought the one where he’s a biker hippie is pretty universally beloved.

  79. He can be funny in smaller doses. I also don’t hate him in THE CABLE GUY, for instance, mostly because the off-putting emotional neediness that seems to drive his nonstop buffoonery is a feature of the character he’s playing, not a bug. We’re supposed to see that guy as an obnoxious pest at best, a dangerous psychopath at worst. Which is about on par with how I see Carrey’s other comedic characters, but I think we might be expected to find them endearing or something.

    I really don’t mind him in dramatic roles, though. That desperation I sense pouring off of him when he’s in comedy mode actually makes him a sympathetic and likable presence when he stops trying so fucking hard.

  80. THE NUMBER 23 is Jim Carrey’s funniest movie.

  81. Obviously you haven’t seen his Ratpac produced, euro-sleaze angst-opus DARK CRIMES.

  82. Less than 20 people have and 5 of them were critics, 7 worked on the movie.

  83. I might be one of the remaining up-to-7, but I was on my kindle for about half of it so may not count

  84. You’ve gotta appreciate Jim Carrey’s commitment to comic bits. Yes, he can be a tad much and overboard. But without that excess, would you ever get something as hilarious and memorable as this scene in an otherwise kinda average movie?

    I’ll throw this out there, since I’m stunned nobody in the comments has mentioned it: imo this is peak Diaz attractiveness wise, in her debut no less. She’d grow more into her movie star and screen persona with THERE’S SOMETHING ABOUT MARY, but this movie has an added personal resonance for my teenage self when I came across on cable.

  85. Jonathan Anthony

    June 8th, 2021 at 1:34 am

    Decided to throw on The Mask again tonight, and it made me think about this review. Here is my take…

    I think this is a movie you just need to divorce real-world context from entirely. It only has the stink of ‘incel power fantasy’ when you try forcing onto it modern realistic logic, and it’s a movie clearly set in a hyperreal noir world.

    Come to think of it…. was this the first ‘noir comedy?’ I’ve never seen another movie quite like this one, where it’s basically treated like a serious crime thriller, but The Mask literally warps the film into Tex Avery comedy when he’s on screen. That’s really interesting.

    I’m just gonna come out with it: I still like this movie. I get that it’s not aged well when you put it up against modern values, but again: this isn’t a realistic movie. It’s a very odd genre blend of pulp noir crime drama and a Looney Tunes short. Plus: the cops are villains.

    P.S. Stanley’s first instinct upon seeing what he thinks is a man’s body in the water, is to jump in and save him. This is an actually decent person…. or at least has genuine redeeming qualities, he’s not 100% a creepy loser.

    P.P.S. The Mask only has goofy cartoon powers when Stanley wears it, because of his affection for cartoons. When Dorian wears it, he becomes a hulking demonic monster. Funnily enough, this bit of logic is retained for the sequel, where the new guy is also an animation aficionado.

    P.P.P.S. To the movie’s credit, Charlie is NOT treated like a rad person, but a pathetic huckster with absolutely zero game. The movie keeps having him ignored by women when he tries to do his sleazy shtick. It’s not much, but it’s a little bit satirical about juvenile masculinity.

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