Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events (2004)

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When a massive fire kills their parents, three children are delivered to the custody of cousin and stage actor Count Olaf, who is secretly plotting to steal their parents’ vast fortune. (IMDb)
The best scene is the letter-reading and the epilogue that follows (“what might seem to be a series of unfortunate events may, in fact, be the first steps of a journey”) but the emotional release is not what it could’ve been thanks to a slapdash (a word which here means way too fucking rushed) script that never sits with any of the suffering, and it’s unfortunately never sharp or coherent enough to work as a quick and quirky dark comedy either. Some performances and CGI are a tad iffy yet too.
5.5/10 (Poor)

 

How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)

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On the outskirts of Whoville lives a green, revenge-seeking Grinch (Jim Carrey) who plans to ruin Christmas for all of the citizens of the town. (IMDb)
Giving the Grinch a backstory and making the Whos materialistic and snobby creates an interesting new dynamic but it means the mountaintop climax where the Grinch learns the meaning of Christmas misses the mark entirely: it was the Whos alone who needed redemption for their consumerism and fear-mongering; the Grinch just needed some love (and speaking of, the Cindy-Lou/Grinch relationship is a cute one). The film looks pretty bad, but Carrey’s wisecracking, slapstick schtick is fun as always.
6.5/10 (Alright)

 

Batman Forever (1995)

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Batman must battle former district attorney Harvey Dent, who is now Two-Face and Edward Nygma, The Riddler with help from an amorous psychologist and a young circus acrobat who becomes his sidekick, Robin. (IMDb)
The dialogue is bad, and aside from Carrey’s typically enjoyable schtick, everything about the baddies is really bad too: the two-villain dynamic is awkward AF (I read afterwards that TLJ hated Carrey on set and you can totally tell), the brain-sucking thing is dumb, and the “useless henchmen” syndrome here is the worst I’ve ever seen. Kilmer’s brooding Batman is good though and the campy action-based plot is fun enough, featuring some cool cinematography (loved those zooms and skewed shots).
6/10 (Mediocre)

 

The Cable Guy (1996)

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A lonely and mentally disturbed cable guy raised on television just wants a new friend, but his target, a designer, rejects him, with bad consequences. (IMDb)
Provides a good offering of ridiculous comedy–see the hilarious intensity at the basketball game–and stalker creepiness (sometimes at the same time), thanks to Carrey’s great turn as The Cable Guy. He’s a great character but the direction goes back and forth between playing him up for laughs and thrills and digging into the more sympathetic and compelling side of his character, even veering into odd-couple dramedy at points. This throws off the whole of the film despite plenty of good moments.
6.5/10 (Alright)

 

The Mask (1994)

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Bank clerk Stanley Ipkiss is transformed into a manic superhero when he wears a mysterious mask. (IMDb)
Carrey’s wonderfully wacky physical comedy and over-the-top mannerisms find their perfect match in the literally cartoon-y (see the bomb-swallowing, bazooka-in-pocket) character of The Mask, making for a first two acts with memorably fun scenes too numerous to mention, with a thoughtful underlying theme of identity to boot. A lame, vaguely written villain (why did he want to blow up the club again?) really tarnishes the third act though (having someone else wear the mask kinda ruined it for me).
7/10 (Good)

 

Bruce Almighty (2003)

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A guy who complains about God too often is given almighty powers to teach him how difficult it is to run the world. (IMDb)
Though Carrey as Bruce is charming throughout, after a compelling first act set-up culminating in him cursing God, the second act has a little too much fun with his newfound powers, lazily letting some inconsistencies pop up (power corrupts, but Bruce’s transformation to douche was very sudden; wouldn’t his tampering with Evan be considered interfering with his free will?). A sentimental third act borders on mawkish at times but ultimately wraps things up with a nice “be the miracle” message.
6.5/10 (Alright)

 

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)

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When their relationship turns sour, a couple undergoes a procedure to have each other erased from their memories. But it is only through the process of loss that they discover what they had to begin with. (IMDb)
With Winslet and Carrey’s top-notch turns, the authentic dialogue, the beautiful soundtrack, and the exquisitely intimate camerawork, this would already be an amazing romance film even before the sci-fi twist (which perhaps has a hole or two) injects it not only with juicy story subversions (see Patrick’s role; the deja vu post-erasure) and dramatic intrigue (see Mary’s side-plot) but also heart-wrenching tragedy and oddball comedy. Brilliant editing through Joel’s memories ties it all together.
9.5/10 (Breathtaking)

Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls (1995)

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Ace Ventura, Pet Detective, returns from a spiritual quest to investigate the disappearance of a rare white bat, the sacred animal of a tribe in Africa. (IMDb)
With a lifeless whodunit plot, no notable secondary characters, and an uncomfortable amount of African culture stereotyping (the tangential scene with the Wachootoo being the worst example), only Carrey’s rambunctious animal-lover makes this worth watching. Fortunately, he’s in every scene, and while they don’t always hit their mark (his trademark lines often feel forced), many are gems (see his confrontation with fox-fur lady), with his bombastic physical comedy impossible not to appreciate.
6.5/10 (Alright)

The Incredible Burt Wonderstone (2013)

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A veteran Vegas magician tries to revive his career after his longtime partner quits, he gets fired from his casino act, and an edgy new “street magician” steals his thunder. (IMDb)
Burt’s journey from innocent kid to arrogant/tragic adult and back (figuratively) is a little choppy and unfounded, but compelling, and offers decent comedy (see his hot-box antics, solo two-man trick) to go with a few sweet moments (see his magic show with Rance at the care home) and fun tricks (see the crazy climax). Buscemi’s oft-neglected Anton (see his third-wheel moment at the motel), Carrey’s hardcore rival magician, and Gandolfini’s self-absorbed hotel owner are fun secondary characters.
6.5/10 (Alright)

Yes Man (2008)

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A guy challenges himself to say “yes” to everything for an entire year. (IMDb)
The central motif is well developed, as Carrey’s charming Carl moves from melancholy conservatism to inspiring free-spirited-ness before a well-placed stick in the spokes adds nuance to the message (see the “no” in his ex’s apartment). The romance narrative isn’t as impressive; it’s formulaic, with a predictable fall out (the FBI twist that instigates it also seems far fetched), though Carrey and Deschanel have decent chemistry. Darby’s hilariously nerdy Norman is a notable supporting character.
6.5/10 (Alright)