Son of the Mask

"Terrible"

Son of the Mask Review


You may have read about film critics who quit because they just can't tolerate the poor quality of the movies they're watching. I'm willing to bet more than a few threw down their notepads, cursed their career choice, and considered graduate school options after watching Son of the Mask.

The long-delayed sequel to the 1994 Jim Carrey hit is a terrible movie. Let's not mince words. It's an awful, unoriginal, infuriating, and endless mess. The always likeable Jamie Kennedy stars as Tom Avery, a struggling animator whose life is in flux. His wife, Tonya (Traylor Howard from TV's Monk), wants a baby badly, but the immature Tom doesn't want that responsibility. He's content to play with his precocious dog, Otis, draw on his sketch pad, and kid around with his tolerant wife.

However, Tom's life really changes when Otis picks up a mysterious, green mask. Otis brings it home, where Tom quickly grabs it for a company party, not knowing that the mask belongs to Loki, the Norse god of mischief. Whoever wears it, museum guide Ben Stein tells a tour group in the beginning, has their id unleashed.

When Tom puts it on, that means he turns into a green Gary Busey and becomes as annoying as Robin Williams at his hammiest. Tom initiates a rousing dance number to an "Am I dreaming this?" rap rendition of "Can't Take My Eyes Off of You" and brings his energetic Mr. Hyde to the bedroom. Soon, Tonya is pregnant, and the sonogram bears an uncanny resemblance to Tom's boisterous, cartoonish alter ego.

Wackiness and terminal annoyance ensues.

Otis, who is jealous of the baby, straps on the mask and plots revenge on the kid. Their escapades are right out of the Wile E. Coyote/Road Runner playbook, and the film promotes this laziness. The baby emulates his behavior from Hanna Barbara and Warner Bros. cartoons, which he uses to get ideas for torturing Tim, who is trying to create a TV concept and sees his son as an obstacle.

At least classics like Tom & Jerry and Bugs Bunny had memorable characters and funny setups. Son of the Mask takes the explosions and the clouds of smoke, but not the "What's up, Doc?" and "Wabbit Season." The fun is gone. The animation is both atrocious and scary, with the baby, bestowed with powers, the prime example. He is supposed to look cute, running like Marion Jones and dancing like a vaudevillian. It's unspeakably creepy. Maybe it's exploitative, or it's an easy, lazy way to get comedy and cuteness at once.

Director Lawrence Guterman has good actors at his disposal. Too bad they're all trapped in the world's longest and stupidest cartoon. Kennedy, a talented comedian, makes faces and acts stressed. As the villain, Alan Cumming is reduced to parading in an array of idiotic costumes, including a Girl Scout and a plumber (complete with "plumber butt"). Bob Hoskins plays Odin -- yes, Odin -- and you can tell he'd rather be anywhere else. His British accent comes through more than once.

There's more awfulness to recount, but I don't want to get into it. I'd like to live to review another day, and I don't have the money for graduate school.

The DVD includes commentary, deleted scenes, and a number of behind-the-scenes vignettes.

The balloon pulls off a five-star performance.



Son of the Mask

Facts and Figures

Run time: 94 mins

In Theaters: Friday 18th February 2005

Box Office USA: $17.0M

Budget: $84M

Distributed by: New Line Cinema

Production compaines: Pathé Distribution

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 1 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 6%
Fresh: 6 Rotten: 98

IMDB: 2.1 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Lawrence Guterman

Starring: as The Mask, as Loki, as Tonya Avery

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