Saturday, 31 August 2013

My Top Jim Carrey Performances

Last week I went to see Kick-Ass 2, a little bit because I'd seen the first Kick-Ass but a whole lot more because one of my favourite actors ever, Jim Carrey, was in it. I've been thinking about the many roles he's portrayed over the years for a while now (since catching The Number 23 the other month) and it's roles like Fingerling in The Number 23 that reminded me how he's so much more than just a rubber-faced comedian. I would be amazingly honoured if he ever chose to portray any of my characters. So here is my list of my favourite Jim Carrey roles in chronological order:

Riddler / Edward Nygma - Batman Forever (1995)

I'll be the first to admit that Batman Forever has as many bad moments as it does good. It's horribly camp, completely deviates from any cannon and basically deserved better but once you accept these facts it becomes kind of fun too. Jim Carrey and Tommy Lee Jones steal the show as Riddler and Two-Face and I would love to see (in some magical alternative universe) them reprise their roles with a stronger script (hello Paul Dini I'm channelling you) and a more serious approach to the directing. Being a Riddler fangirl I love that Jim references my second favourite Riddler, the almighty Frank Gorshin, as an inspiration and love him even more for inspiring the vocal delivery of possibly the best Riddler that will ever exist, Wally Wingert's Arkham video game series Riddler.

Chip Douglas - The Cable Guy (1996)
The Cable Guy is classic rubber-face Jim Carrey but look beyond the ballsy, over-the-top 1990s comedy and the character of Chip Douglas is actually very tragic. In the middle of the film he sings Jefferson Airplane's 'Somebody to Love' and it couldn't be more relevant as he literally has never had anyone actually love him for himself. His parents were deadbeats so he was brought up by the TV and with no real concept of social interaction all his adult 'friends' are people he services cable TV for. Whenever he meets someone he considers friend potential he completely latches onto them and when they try to break away he systematically destroys all their other relationships. On the surface Chip may seem the stereotypical funny idiot character but he is also sadly sympathetic and actually quite terrifying, especially if you've been in a relationship with someone like him!

Truman Burbank - The Truman Show (1998)

The Truman Show is a glimpse at the more serious roles Jim Carrey would later take on and is genuinely not just an amazing film but a social commentary which is just as relevant today as it was back in 1998. It is about Truman Burbank who, from the day he was born, was a TV star in a TV show he believes to be reality. Slowly he realises things are not what they seem and he must come to terms with not only the fact that his whole life has been a lie but that there is a whole world out there just waiting for him. This is the kind of role Jim Carrey is perfect for. His ability to fill characters with humanity is amazing: Truman is endearing from the start - you want him to break free and find his freedom - and not only does Jim act with a subtler, gentler humour than in his previous films but with a complete understanding of the complex emotions Truman must be going through.

Joel Barish - Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
Jim gets all mumbly in this indie sci-fi romance about enduring love (or at least obsession). It is his most love/hate role depending on if you can bare the mumbling and if you mind your Jim Carrey coming with a side order of serious acting. Once again Jim applies a perfect assessment of the human condition into producing an endearing performance for a character who, despite all better judgement, you root for to win the girl despite knowing full well that she has and probably will again bring him as much pain as she does happiness. People often scoff at the idea of Jim Carrey being a serious actor but it's roles like Joel that show just how complex and talented he is as a performer and also how complex and empathetic he is as a person.

Fingerling - The Number 23 (2007)
Oooh look at me being all controversial! But in all honesty Fingerling is amazingly hot and edgy and troubled and perfect for good girls who lust after bad boys to fantasise about. Even though The Number 23 is a little uneven (and Jim's other character, Walter Sparrow, is less charming) the scenes featuring Jim Carrey as Fingerling are wonderful homages to film noir - I could quite easily watch a whole film shot in the style of the Fingerling sections featuring the exploits of Jim Carrey as the hard boiled, broody detective. Jim Carrey as the loveable good guy is so established in our psyche that Fingerling is the kind of role you have to experience to believe. No amount of 'I saw him do serious in Eternal Sunshine' will prepare you for his performance in The Number 23. It's like visiting that alternate universe I mentioned earlier. Even if you find you don't like the film I whole heartedly recommend giving The Number 23 a watch so as to see Jim's delivery for Fingerling as well as his amazing tattoo. Fabrizia is one lucky femme fatale!

Colonel Stars and Stripes - Kick-Ass 2 (2013)
Though since appearing in Kick-Ass 2 Jim's views on violence in movies has changed I don't think he should feel bad about his portrayal of probably the most endearing and kind-hearted character in the whole film. The mafia heavy turned born again Christian and superhero is an inspiration to all the other superheroes in Kick-Ass 2 including Kick-Ass himself. He doesn't believe in guns, he doesn't believe in swearing, he doesn't believe that a woman is asking to be raped just because she chooses to walk home at night alone and he has an amazing love for his job. In a film full of over the top violence he is a beacon of (yes I'm going to say it again) humanity and I think due to this his fate speaks volumes about the futility of violence as a means or an answer. If I got in a sticky spot I'd want Colonel Stars and Stripes saving me!

I hope you enjoyed my list, I hope one day one of my films will be on the list, and finally the big question...what is your favourite Jim Carrey role?


  1. This is such a great post!!! I love Jim Carrey so much, I went to see Kick-Ass 2 just because he was in it and he was by far the best thing about it. I think Truman is my favourite Jim Carrey role but Fingerling is probably number 2. The bit at the end of The Truman Show where the boat hits the wall is just my favourite scene ever. I also love his early stand-up stuff!


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