Jim Carrey, in his prime, could not be touched on the big screen. Each time he made a movie, he was box office gold. One of those early movies is climbing the Hulu popularity charts as it sits at #4.
The Mask stars Jim Carrey as the much beleaguered and insecure bank clerk Stanley Ipkiss, who’s just trying to make it through the day-to-day. He hates his job and is often ridiculed by his co-workers, except for his best friend Charlie (Richard Jeni).
Life is about to change for Stanley when Tina Carlyle (Cameron Diaz in her screen debut) walks into his bank. Unbeknownst to Stanley, Tina is the girlfriend of gangster Dorian Tyrell and is at the bank to get the layout for Dorian.
Stanley is immediately smitten though doesn’t have the courage to make a move. Later that evening, Charlie takes Stanley out to the Coco Bogo Club. It is gangster owned, by Dorian’s boss Niko, but Dorian has plans to take over by taking out his boss.
As luck would have it, Stanley is refused access to the club after Charlie walks in ahead of him. Dejected, Stanley begins his drive home. But his car breaks down near the harbor and as he is looking out over the water in despair, Stanley spots something on the shore. Thinking it is a person, Stanley runs down for an attempted rescue. When he gets to the shore, he sees that it’s a mask.
Stanley takes the strange wooden mask back home with him. When Stanley puts the mask up to his face, it transforms him into The Mask, an alter-ego of maniacal and comedic proportions. What Stanley was lacking in self-confidence is long gone.
The Mask goes on a city-wide rampage in cartoonish fashion. He has the ability to change shapes, clothes, and appearance much like the comic books and cartoons Stanley is so fond of. The following day, Stanley has a run-in with Lieutenant Kellaway (Peter Riegert) and reporter Peggy Brandt (Amy Yasbeck), both of whom are investigating the strange green man.
Stanley, though, needs cash in order to go back to the Coco Bongo to get in to see Tina. As the Mask, he gets his money and in the process foils Dorian’s (who is now the crime boss) attempt to rob the bank. Obviously, this does not sit well with Dorian and the Mask becomes a marked man.
To understand what is going on with himself and the mask, Stanley consults with a psychiatrist, who determines that the mask Stanley is referring to is one of the God of Mischief, Loki. Later that evening, Stanley, as the Mask, meets Tina in the park trying to woo her. They almost kiss when Kellaway arrives, leading to a chase. This leads to one of the musical highlights of the film.
The Mask is all fun and games. The humor comes fast when The Mask finally makes an appearance, but its cartoonish nature is quite playful. In her debut role, Cameron Diaz not only made The Mask’s jaw drop, but anyone who saw the movie knew they were looking at a future star.
The film is loosely based on the Dark Horse Comics of the same name and while it followed the idea of the Mask comic, screenwriter Mike Webb and director Charles Russell definitely went for a lighter approach to the material.
The lighter approach paid off as Jim Carrey took the material and ran with it. Russell was given an $18 million budget and brought with it a $352 million box office return.
1994 was a banner year for Jim Carrey. Already known for his outrageous characters on the hit sketch comedy show In Living Color, Carrey hit the ground running in 1994 and never looked back. Before he would give life to The Mask, Carrey split sides with Ace Ventura: Pet Detective. To solidify that he was a comedic force to be reckoned with, Carry followed up those two smash hits with Dumb and Dumber. Yes, all in one year.
Building off the success of 1994, Jim Carrey went on to star as the Riddler in Batman Forever following that up with his Ace Ventura sequel, Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls.
Jim Carrey continued his success on the big screen with movies such as Liar Liar, The Truman Show, a wonderful performance as comedian Andy Kaufman in Man on the Moon, Me, Myself & Irene, and How the Grinch Stole Christmas.
Jim Carrey would continue to find comedic roles in movies like A Series of Unfortunate Events and Yes Man, but his career was becoming a roller coaster. Wanting to find more dramatic roles, Carrey starred in movies like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, The Number 23, and I Love You Phillip Morris. He was stepping away from what made him famous and many times it didn’t go over well with his fans.
Jim Carrey’s personal life has been the subject of many tabloids. He’s been twice married, his last to former Dumb and Dumber co-star Lauren Holly. He’s also been subject to a nasty wrongful death lawsuit when his former girlfriend Cathriona White killed herself by overdose. The wrongful death lawsuits were filed against Carey by White’s ex-husband and White’s mother. Both lawsuits were eventually dismissed.
Regardless of what one thinks of Jim Carrey, his personal and professional life now, you can’t say the man didn’t make audiences laugh. The numbers show it with his box office returns.
After a six-year gap in funny films, his last being Dumb and Dumber To, Carrey returned to form as Dr. Robotnik in the 2020 hit, Sonic the Hedgehog. He also led the Showtime series Kidding. Up next for the rubbery comedian is the Sonic the Hedgehog sequel.
For now, though, you can tap into Jim Carrey’s blockbusting 1994 by heading over to the streamer Hulu to watch The Mask. “It’s party time! P-A-R-T-why? Because I gotta!”