Probably one of the most recognizable things about Jim Carrey is his face. It’s jello or pudding and he can shape it any way he wants to. He has a lot of expression in tin a story that
serves up his character as more than a “funny guy with a funny face”, that guy and that face can actually make the whole movie better, funnier, and more touching. That face, with those big eyes, huge teeth, and bizarre grin. When it’s put to good use
Meet Truman Burbank. He leads a nice life. He has a perfect wife. He has a boring, but nice job. He’s also a TV star. And he doesn’t even know it. Adopted by a major corporation at birth (or, rather, before birth), he has had his life filmed ever since he came through the birth canal. He, Truman Burbank, is the star of the hit reality series The Truman Show, which broadcasts 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. But what is he really? Of course, he is a representation and commentary on our voyeuristic tendencies, watching stupid reality shows and whatnot. It’s not the first media piece that’s illustrated with our voyeuristic lust while combining a sense of drama and mystery. One of the first to do it, was, of course The Twilight Zone, the alternate universe series that brought new stories of mystery and suspense to your living room. The difference between the two: more concise plot lines, twists, and only a 46 minute running time (that usually had two stories). That may be the only real problem with The Truman Show: it’s too long. The cast is excellent, featuring lovely and esteemed actress Laura Linney as Truman’s fake wife. The eventual comprehension that Truman is living some sort of lie takes too long and becomes too unrealistic. But its strong point is the touching lead, Jim Carrey, making his comedic chops and giving his character a little something more.
And now meet Dick Harper. He leads a very nice life. He works at a big corporation. He has a great wife and a wonderful son. He drives a BMW. Watch him as he tries to save himself and his family from the burning and towering inferno that is his CEO’s move to do some insider trading. A contemporary update of the 1978 film with Jane Fonda and George Segal about a couple who loses their income and resorts to crime, this version has been updated for the Enron generation. But, with the bailouts on Wall Street in the recent past, the film seems as relevant as ever. Carrey again takes the lead, helped by his wife Jane, wonderfully played by Tea Leoni, making just as many funny faces, quick one lines, and perfectly balancing out the film next to Carrey’s manic personality. The film starts out well, but when the Harper’s lose their income and start robbing, the film turns into a series of funny/cute series of vignettes. Overall, the little vignettes mean very little, but, by the end of the film, they’re sewn together to make a very funny, culturally relevant film. Corruption, for some reason, is very funny.
Jim Carrey is wacky and his most used asset is his face. That wacky and kooky look e gets when he’s on a roll is priceless. His face is his claim to fame. But, much more than that, he can be dramatic, emotional, and touching, such as a man who’s been the subject of a television experiment and has never discovered the real world. He can also be just as touching, but hilarious, like as the VP of Communications of a failing corporation in corporate America. Both films are brilliant in their own way; one as a drama, the other as a comedy, but both as statements, commentaries and representations of Americans.
The Truman Show: B+
Fun with Dick and Jane: B+