film review – SON OF THE MASK

news: film review – SON OF THE MASK

Carrey 1, Kennedy 0


the sequel to the outlandish 1994 film The Mask, which helped catapult Jim Carrey to the top of the Hollywood comedy A-list, is just another loud, insistent, hyper-sized piece of children’s entertainment.

The Mask in fact, was mediocre at best. It was little more than an excuse for Carrey to engage in his prancing and buffoonery, but in Son of the Mask, instead of Carrey’s clowning being the film’s raison d’être, it’s the sub-par mayhem of Jamie (Kennedy), a computer-animated dog, and a kooky kid that serve as the focus.

The characters are flimsy, the plot is just as contrived, and when Jamie launches into a wild performance of Can’t Take my Eyes off You, you wish you could take your eyes off him as you wince at what feels like an impending gaudy, variety show.

Son of the Mask achieves, in its own way, moments of imaginative elation, and the sweetly domesticated storyline is adequately handled, albeit blatantly sentimental. However, there is too much reliance on computer generated effects and familiar gag-laden skirmishes – it feels like a cross between Baby’s Day Out and Cats & Dogs – minus the cats.

Kennedy, best known for his role as the geek in the Scream movies, suffers from bad hair syndrome, while his wife Tonya (Howard) suffers from biological clock syndrome. As an immature cartoonist, preferring to spend hours playing GameBoy or teaching his dog Otis new tricks, Tim is horrified at his wife’s yen for them to become parents, just as the thought of someone like him fathering a child should horrify us.

One night before going to an office party, Tim puts on a wooden mask that Otis dragged home, and is transformed into an uninhibited madman capable of doing marvellously cartoonish things. Coming home to his wife with a bit more va-va-voom than normal, they celebrate the evening in true Mask style – unfortunately nine months later out pops baby Alvey. Since Tim was wearing the mask when his son was conceived, Alvey has all the rubber-faced naughtiness and misbehaviour the mask inherently accords its wearers, but Alvey doesn’t need to be wearing the mask for these idiosyncrasies to shine through! When Tonya leaves on a business trip, the worst side of Alvey comes out to play and he does bizarre things, making dad think that he’s either hallucinating or going crazy.

Meanwhile, we learn of the origin of the mask created by Loki (Cumming), the Norse god of mischief, who must retrieve his lost mask in order to stay in good graces with his father, Odin (Hoskins).

Loki has stumbled around the world for nearly two years without any success, giving enough time for Tim and Tonya’s baby to be born and become a year old, and the child has already started to exhibit signs of his powers. Jealous of the attention baby Alvey has been getting, Otis digs up the mask, puts it on, plots to destroy the tiny tot, and the film turns into a bit of a muddle. I don’t think we’re supposed to think too hard about the fact that a dog is trying to kill an infant, because the whole film loses the shaky plot and becomes very cartoony.