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The Mask (1994)

DVD Cover (New Line Studios Reissue)
Genres / Traits:
Fantasy, Fantasy Comedy, Superhero Film, Dark Horse Comics
Director:
Chuck Russell Chuck Russell
Starring:
Jim Carrey Jim Carrey
Peter Riegert Peter Riegert
Peter Greene Peter Greene
Amy Yasbeck Amy Yasbeck
Richard Jeni Richard Jeni

6.4 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Stanley Ipkiss is a bank clerk that is an incredibly nice man. Unfortunately, he is too nice for his own good and is a pushover when it comes to confrontations. After one of the worst days of his life, he finds a mask that depicts Loki, the Norse night god of mischief. Now, when he puts it on, he becomes his inner self: a cartoon romantic wild man. However, a small time crime boss, Dorian Tyrel, comes across this character dubbed "The Mask" by the media. After Ipkiss's alter ego indirectly kills his friend in crime, Tyrel now wants this green-faced goon destroyed. --IMDb
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Review by Chad
Added: July 23, 2005
Stanley Ipkiss (Jim Carrey) is a loser. He's constantly getting taken advantage of by his co-workers at the bank, his mechanic has ripped him off on car repairs, and he manages to make an ass out of himself in front of prospective-client Tina Carlyle (Cameron Diaz in her first major role). Things change for Stanley, however, when he finds himself stranded on a bridge after the loaner car that his mechanic gave him breaks down. He sees what appears to be a body floating in the river below, and being the good man that he is, he rushes into the water to save this person. It turns out that it's not a person at all, but instead, a floating pile of plastic garbage bags and other miscellaneous debris. Mixed in with the trash, however, is a green mask. Stanley takes the mask home, pops in a cartoon, and thinks nothing more of the wooden mask. While flipping through the channels, he notices a show (hosted by Ben Stein) dealing with the (metaphorically speaking) masks that we all wear in our daily lives. This reminds Stanley of the mask that is sitting on his counter, so he picks it up to investigate it a bit more closely in the light of his apartment. When he puts it on, he transforms into a wise-cracking, hormone-raging superhero - the complete opposite of the real Stanley. While wearing the mask, he is able to impress the lovely Tina, fight off the evil gangster Dorian Tyrell (Peter Greene), and he also attempts to avoid the police, who are after him for a bank robbery.

I was thirteen when this movie came out, and at that time, I was a huge comic geek. I spent a good chunk of time at the local comic store, browsing through the newest comics and catching up on old issues of various series. It was a great store, indeed. Now, I was admittedly a comic geek, but I was never into most of the Marvel / DC offerings... Evil Ernie, Dead World, and most of the Dark Horse releases were what I was more interested in. Amongst the Dark Horse comics was a title called, you guessed it, The Mask. It was a dark, violent comic with plenty of bloodshed and carnage, and when I heard that this comic was being made into a movie, I was quite ecstatic. Boy, was I disappointed when I saw how much was changed for the movie. You see, The Mask was originally somewhere in the neighborhood of horror-comedy... it did have the silliness that is present in this movie, but it was also filled with blood and gore. Think of something along the lines of a comic version of Dead Alive with criminals and gangsters instead of zombies, and you'd get a pretty good idea of how The Mask originally was.

Watching this movie eleven years later, I'm still quite disappointed in the direction they chose to go with the film. It may not have been as successful if they had taken the horror-comedy route and Jim Carrey may not have gone on to become such a household name, but dammit, I would have loved it so much more. Now that I've long since lost interest in comics, however, I'm a bit more objective with this film and watched it for what it was - a comedy film with no ties to the source material outside of the very basics. There's some funny material here, and the CGI effects were extremely impressive for the time. They aren't much to brag about by today's standards, but back in '94, they were top-of-the-line stuff. The one major thing that I didn't like about the movie (with the lack of respect for the comic aside) was the way that the director couldn't quite decide whether to make a comedy for adults or for children. There's a good deal of adult material here (jokes about condoms, plenty of cleavage and panty-shots, etc.), but a good deal of material is also obviously aimed towards children. This leads to a pretty back-and-forth experience... some of the scenes are hilarious, while some probably wouldn't do much for anyone over the age of twelve.

Jim Carrey does a great job in the lead role here. I don't think that anyone else could have played the character as good as he did, and I also don't think that anyone could have made the material work as well as he did. The movie seemed as though it was written with him in mind from the start, and his style of humor definitely makes the movie memorable. However, I found that some of the material given to him (mostly the aforementioned "kiddie" scenes) really dragged the movie down and could have been scrapped. For example, the spinning effect whenever he put the mask on got old extremely quick. It was neat the first time, and I get the fact that they were paying homage to the Looney Tunes cartoons (the Tasmanian Devil in particular here), but watching this effect really loses its charm by the tenth time we witness it. The constant one-liners really drug the movie down as well - not because of the inclusion of the one-liners themselves, but because most of them simply weren't funny.

Overall, it's a decent movie, but nothing special. Carrey really makes the movie, and he easily brings my final rating up at least three points; without him, this movie would have been abysmal. With him in the leading role, we at least have a few funny scenes and some great dialog sprinkled here and there. 6/10.
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bluemeanie #1: bluemeanie - added 07/28/2005, 01:47 AM
This movie is highly offensive. To think that these filmmakers would make a sequel to "Mask" and turn a physical deformity into comic fodder. Shameful. Eric Stoltz is weeping somewhere.
Kari Byron's Sex Cyborg #2: Kari Byron's Sex Cyborg - added 09/12/2005, 10:11 PM
Haha.
Seriously though, this movie's pretty good on the level. I mean, hey, it's Jim Carrey. Everyone likes Jim Carrey, right? Well, I can still sit down with some popcorn and enjoy some laughs with this.
7.2/10
BuryMeAlive #3: BuryMeAlive - added 03/25/2006, 07:30 PM
The FX are really cool, and back in the day it was awsome. But storywise it's abit weak.... Still I like it alot.
Tristan #4: Tristan - added 08/01/2007, 04:12 PM
What? How is this a sequel to Mask? I really think you're mistaken on this one. Alright movie. Loved it when I was younger, but now, it's not quite as good as I remember it being. 6/10
Edd #5: Edd - added 03/31/2008, 10:07 AM
When I first saw it, I gotta say it was a laugh riot. Having re-watched it, I musta been a fucking stupid kid. This movie is terrible. 2.5/10
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