...it's not dark yet, but it's gettin' there...
Fifty-six votes on my semi-scientific Jim Carrey poll and i'm ready to call it. the question was this: "The best Jim Carrey film was..." And the results, in order of the vote totals was:
The Truman Show 25%
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind 18%
Dumb & Dumber 14%
Bruce Almighty 11%
The Mask 7%
Me, Myself & Irene 7%
Ace Ventura: Pet Detective 5%
Liar Liar 5%
The Cable Guy 4%
The Dead Pool 4%
First of all, it was kind of a trick question. Or at least a question subject to dual interpretations. What was the best "Jim Carrey movie" or what was the best "movie in which Jim Carrey appeared." If you ask me, each interpretation of the question should get a different answer.
If you're talking about "best movie in which Jim Carrey appeared," in my opinion that's clearly Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, which is one of the best movies to come out in recent years. But it's not a typical Jim Carrey movie. Sure, his performance was great, and there were flashes of the madcap, but Carrey wasn't the star. The script was the star and i was more blown away by Kate Winslet's complex performance.
The fact that 25% voted for The Truman Show is interesting. That's the movie that broke the Carrey typecast mold. Not a great film. Interesting enough to chat about for fifteen or twenty minutes during the obligatory post-movie Panda Express run, but no more than that. Still, without The Truman Show, we would have seen Nick Cage in the lead role of Eternal Sunshine. And what a mistake that would have been. i like Nick, but he couldn't have pulled off the baby under the table scene.
Funniest "Jim Carrey" Jim Carrey movie? i'm appalled that the comedy classic Ace Ventura: Pet Detective was so low on the list. Too many lines from that movie are worth memorizing and sprinkling into everyday conversation. It's also the only comedy movie i can think of with an offbeat hero, where the hero is not a bumbler of some kind. Think of the Pink Panther movies (also classics), when you have a wacky lead, he usually succeeds despite himself. In Ace Ventura, the lead is not a stereotypical lovable loser, instead he's the only one smart enough to crack the case.
Dumb and Dumber is hilarious, but except for the scene where the two of them are squirting ketchup and mustard into their mouths, i don't laugh as hard throughout as i did when i first saw it.
The Mask was just bad, never funny, and too reliant on special effects. Bruce Almighty is a one punch line movie, and i think it came in fourth on the strength of Jennifer Aniston's titties. Finally, by all rights The Dead Pool should have scored higher than The Cable Guy. Jim Carrey was great in that final installment to the Dirty Harry franchise. He played a strung out Axl Rose type rock star named Johnny Squares. This was a couple of years before In Living Color.
i was interested in that poll question not because i'm a huge Jim Carrey fan, because i'm not. i like him well enough, but what fascinates me is how a guy who everyone was so hot on in the nineties suddenly lost favor when everybody realized that he only had one act, and it got old rather quickly. He career kind of mirrored the dot-com boom/bust cycle of the nineties. Suddenly Hollywood realized he was obscenely overvalued and his career went through a "market correction." Carrey has dramatic talent and it's been interesting watching him try to re-invent himself for his last few movies.