SON OF THE MASK
* (out of 5)
February 18, 2005
Jamie Kennedy as TIM AVERY
Alan Cumming as LOKI
Liam and Ryan Falconer as ALVERY AVERY
Bob Hoskins as ODIN
Traylor Howard as TONYA AVERY
Ben Stein as DR. ARTHUR NEUMAN
Studio: New Line Cinema
Directed by: Lawrence Guterman
BY KEVIN CARR
Listen to Kevin’s radio review…
Oh, dear God, where to start?
First, there’s the eternal question of “Why?” “The Mask” is more than ten years old. It’s grown to be a classic of the 1990s. It (and the manic “Ace Ventura”) practically launched Jim Carrey’s career. Now, the sequel has dug itself out of development hell to become a reality. The original “The Mask” was a breakthrough hit for Jim Carry, but the sequel can easily become the death knell of its star Jamie Kennedy.
In this version, things are all wrong. From the very core of this film, things are terribly, horribly wrong.
You see, it’s usually a good idea when you make a movie to actually start with a story. However, this little bit of advice was completely ignored by the makers of “Son of the Mask.” There is no story here. Oh, there are characters swerving around this film like so many bumper cars at an amusement park. But there’s nothing of any substance. It’s like a dinner of cotton candy and marshmallows.
In fact, about thirty minutes into the movie, the characters pitter out and the film deteriorate into a ridiculous live-action cartoon. And it’s not even classic cartoon homage like we saw in the first film. No, these are more like the hyperactive clips trying to be nostalgic but just being obnoxious.
It’s clear that the filmmakers are trying to pay homage to the classic Warner Bros. cartoons of the past, just as the original tipped its hat at the Tex Avery classics. But things are blown so out of whack that it ceases to be funny.
Jamie Kennedy, who saw some success with his “Jackass”-style television show “The Jamie Kennedy Experiment,” is desperately trying to find a new cash cow. His show has made him well known enough to get him recognized when he tries to do his experiments now.
Kennedy is in the crosshairs in this picture. Jim Carrey really made the first film work. Heck, he was the heart and soul of the movie. But Kennedy is just irritating beyond words. He manages to wander through scenes like a wino on a bad night and replaces dialogue with screams at the camera. I know Carrey left huge shoes to fill, but Kennedy isn’t even close to sniffing those shoes.
The film rushes into the first Mask experience by having Kennedy wear it during a work Halloween party. This scene just comes out of nowhere, and the worst mischief the Masked Kennedy commits is to break into a rejected musical number from “Malibu’s Most Wanted.”
All this leads the character home to impregnate his wife while he’s still the Mask. Nine months zip by, and we find the couple the proud parents of a boy that embodies all the powers of the Mask. When this kid whips himself into a Mask frenzy, you’ll see some of the worst CGI baby work since the opening to “Ally McBeal.” Here’s where the “script” (if you can call it that) focuses on this hideous creature and his rivalry with the family dog Otis, who manages to be wearing the Mask.
And don’t get me started on the baby! It’s bad enough when a film tries to get a real infant to mug at the camera. But here, we’ve got a creepy looking CGI baby trying to make the audience laugh. I’m sure that for the younger minds might find this slapstick funny, but for anyone with a mentality that can wrap itself around anything more complex than potty training, this is just going to be painful.
It’s not that there isn’t any talent in this film. In fact, it’s loaded with talent. But it’s all misdirected. Even the normally brilliant Allen Cumming and Bob Hoskins are wasted as excruciatingly annoying Norse gods.
I’ve seen some sorry excuses for sequels in my time. “Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights”… “Babe: Pig in the City”… “Superman IV: The Quest for Peace”… and “Alien: Resurrection” just to name a few. But “Son of the Mask” reeks in a category all its own.