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Laramie Movie Scope:
Me, Myself and Irene

Jim Carrey in a sub-par schizoid flick

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by Robert Roten, Film Critic
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June 24, 2000 -- Jim Carrey is a great comic talent who rocketed to stardom as a butt-talking private animal investigator and then switched from low-brow humor to artistry in Oscar-calibre performances in "The Truman Show," and in "Man in the Moon." It is therefore shocking to see how so much talent can go to waste in "Me, Myself and Irene."

Not only is Carrey involved in this project, but so is Renée Zellweger (of "One True Thing" and "Jerry Maguire"), Chris Cooper ("American Beauty" and "October Sky") and Oscar nominee Robert Forster ("Jackie Brown"). It is written and directed by the very talented Farrelly brothers, Bobby and Peter Farrelly ("There's Something About Mary," "Dumb and Dumber" and "Kingpin").

The basic premise of the story is pretty good. Carrey plays Charlie, a good natured highway patrolman. His life becomes a series of disasters. Soon after being married, he is cuckolded and his wife runs away with a smart dwarf (played by Tony Cox). He is left to raise the kids, who grow up on the raunchy humor of Richard Pryor and Chris Rock. Thanks to the smart midget they are also all geniuses. This is a running gag throughout the movie.

Charlie is a laughingstock because everyone knows he isn't the father of his children and no one has any respect for him. The rage builds up inside of him until his personality splits. The new personality, Hank, is only too happy to take his pent-up rage out on other people. While battling his schizophrenia, Charlie is asked to escort Irene (Zellweger) to another jurisdiction and the two become embroiled in some complex machinations involving the EPA and Irene's former employers.

The idea of having Carrey play a character with a split personality is a good one. It is not a big stretch from what he did in "Liar, Liar," or in "Mask," but it doesn't work very well. In one scene, a little girl mouths off to Charlie when he tells her not to play in the street. Hank takes her to a fountain and holds her head underwater. It's just not quite ... funny.

The setup of the story takes too long. The opening 20 minutes of the film, essentially, a long flashback, with a narrator droning on and on, is boring. You don't expect to be bored when you go to see a movie starring Jim Carrey. Once the dual characters of Charlie and Hank go into action it isn't much better. The jokes, like half-drowning a little girl, breast feeding (at the bosom of Shannon Whirry) and shooting a cow in the head, just don't cut it. There's nothing in this film that's half as funny as the zipper scene in "There's Something About Mary."

In order for the viewer to develop the slightest interest in the film, the romance between Charlie and Irene needs to work, and it does not. Off-screen Carrey and Zellweger are an item, but on screen they look totally mismatched. As for Hank, realistically, the first time Irene sees Hank she should run away, screaming, into the night. I felt like doing that myself.

I did like Charlie's three genius sons, Shonte Jr., Jamaal and Lee Harvey. There's something funny about three guys who look and sound like street thugs successfully flying a helicopter while reading the flight instructions in German. The film is also mildly notable as the vehicle for the film debut of tennis star Anna Kournikova. There are some funny moments in the film, but they are few and far between. This film rates a D. It is for hard-core Jim Carrey fans only, like those who thought "The Cable Guy" was a great film.

Click here for links to places to buy this movie in VHS and/or DVD format, the soundtrack, books, even used videos, games and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

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Copyright © 2000 Robert Roten. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
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Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at my last name at lariat dot org. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]

(If you e-mail me with a question about this or any other movie or review, please mention the name of the movie you are asking the question about, otherwise I may have no way of knowing which film you are referring to)