Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Movie Review: The Mask (1994)


The perfect star vehicle for Jim Carrey, The Mask is a hyperactive, hysterically funny movie, joyously traveling at breakneck speed around blind corners.

Bland and lonely banker Stanley Ipkiss (Carrey) is drifting through a boring life, with his dog Milo as his only friend, when he finds a mystical, ancient mask. When he puts it on, Ipkiss is transformed into The Mask, a green-headed, ultra-confident, cool, heroic and suave character capable of amazing death-and-gravity defying tricks usually reserved for cartoon characters.

The bank that Ipkiss works for is targeted for a robbery by the gang of Dorian Tyrell, including his dame Tina Carlyle (Cameron Diaz). Ipkiss is attracted to Tina as she pretends to be a bank customer, but as The Mask he is soon causing havoc with the robbery plans, attracting the attentions of the police, and invading the nightclub operated by Tyrell for a final showdown. As events spiral ever out of control, both Tyrell and, hilariously, Milo, get turns to experience the powers of putting on the mask before sanity is somewhat restored.

Good as it is in a madcap way, the plot really doesn't matter one bit. The Mask is all about giving Jim Carrey the best possible role to showcase his manic talent, and showcase he does. The scenes with Carrey as The Mask are an out of control riot, with what is essentially a cartoon character invading the screen with unbridled energy and operating at ten times the intensity of everyone else. The laughs and jokes are never ending and often hit the mark, Carrey's delivery is over-the-top brilliant, and his athleticism and physical talent immense.

Former model Cameron Diaz gets a most memorable big screen debut, and more specifically a spectacularly memorable first scene as she enters the target bank with no intentions except to distract by sucking all attention and eyeballs towards her considerable charms. Total distraction is achieved with unqualified success. Among the major characters, Tina is the only one not to get to wear the mask, but that is because her character is already outlandishly sexy in appearance and behaviour, a real-life Jessica Rabbit.

Chuck Russell, directing his first film since the humdrum The Blob in 1988, creates the perfect canvass for the antics of The Mask. The movie is all about vivid colours, song-and-dance numbers exploding out of nothing, vibrantly decorated sets, and flashy costumes, all just to match the kinetic energy that Carrey brings to the role.

The Mask is creative, inspired entertainment, capturing a comic star at his peak performing in the perfect movie to suit his unique talents.




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