Starring: Jim Carrey, Cameron Diaz, Peter Greene
Director: Chuck Russell
Running Time: 101 mins
The Mask is an American film about a mild-mannered man who discovers an ancient mask that transforms him into a manic and super-confident person whenever he wears it.
Perhaps Jim Carrey’s seminal comic role – alongside Ace Ventura and The Truman Show – The Mask benefits hugely from the legendary actor’s zany antics and boundless energy, delivering some really good laughs thanks to non-stop craziness and oddity throughout, as well as some hugely impressive special effects for the age that add so much to the movie.
We can’t really talk about The Mask without talking about Jim Carrey’s performance, which is what makes the entire movie. Perfectly playing both the mild-mannered everyman and the manic, hyper-confident mask-wearing man throughout, Carrey’s performance here is amazing, and genuinely hilarious from start to finish.
The hyperactive and over-the-top sensibilities of his character when wearing the mask might seem like the sort of thing to get on your nerves really quickly – something that occasionally happens in Ace Ventura – but Carrey pushes the boat out so far here in terms of wackiness that it’s impossible not to be entertained.
Helped hugely by the film’s striking visual effects and CGI that really bring the zany, springy comic energy that the movie is all about, Carrey is addictively funny at the centre of focus here, going from strength to strength in a hugely memorable and role where he never lets up for one moment.
Where the film falls down, however, is in its story. On the surface, it’s a perfectly fun comedy/fantasy story with a little bit of a be-careful-what-you-wished-for fable to it, but for the most part, the plot here is nowhere near as interesting or entertaining as the movie’s craziest sensibilities.
The screenplay impresses thanks to how it writes Carrey’s character, as well as a number of great one-off jokes and catchphrases (especially ‘sssssssmokin!’), but in terms of telling a genuinely engaging story to match the film’s boundless energy, the screenplay just doesn’t cut the mustard.
It’s admittedly less of a downside given the strength of the movie’s comedy, and you can watch The Mask perfectly aware that it’s a predictable story but still enjoying the hyperactive silliness of it all. However, there are times – particularly when Carrey’s not wearing the mask – that the movie’s energy levels really do take a nosedive, and there isn’t much of a story there to back it up when that does happen.
As a result, The Mask isn’t the perfect comedy movie, but it’s a mightily funny one, and hugely memorable too. Pushing all the boundaries when it comes to wacky, zany antics, The Mask features a legendary performance from Jim Carrey, some great humour and some really impressive CGI for its time, all of which come together to make a thoroughly entertaining movie. So, that’s why I’m giving The Mask a 7.5 overall.