So it was with a mixture of skepticism, intrigue, and a bit of fear that I approached The Cable Guy, Jim Carrey's much talked-about $20 million payoff feature, with Carrey in the titular stalker-type role.
Carrey plays a character billed only as "Cable Guy," because we never discover his real name (you guess his job). His target is innocent Steven (Matthew Broderick), a regular Joe who faces trouble with girlfriend Robin (Leslie Mann), at work, and... with his cable. As soon as the Cable Guy takes care of the last of these difficulties, he immediately tries to worm his way into the others, and ultimately into Steven's life completely. With Carrey in the lead, you can imagine the results.
They're something like this. Cable Guy crashes a pick-up basketball game. Cable Guy ingratiates himself to Steven's family. Cable Guy gets Steven arrested for possession of stolen property. Cable Guy throws a party in Steven's house. Cable Guy takes Steven to Medieval Times for "fine dining." (Only Medieval Times survivors will really be able to laugh at this 10 minutes of pure fun.)
The real question everyone reading this has must be... does this film capture the real essence of being stalked? No? Okay then, seriously... what you want to know is... does Jim Carrey do Jim Carrey or what?
Yes and no. This is certainly Carrey's best movie, but that isn't saying a lot. He's toned down a bit here, given his typical shtick a funnier, darker makeover, and basically become more of an actor. Broderick, reputed to steal the show, does not, as hee's up to his ears trying to react to Carrey's stage presence.
Behind the camera this time is Ben Stiller, a hilarious comedian and a good director, but there's ultimately very little he can do here. Some scenes hit, some miss. There's no real rhyme or reason to the whole thing except to get a few laughs. On the whole, that's successful, but not where I would have expected it. (A cameo by the normally extremely funny Janeane Garofalo falls flat as a board. Another old Stiller regular Bob Odenkirk has no real lines.) Instead, people like Andy Dick (the "king" of Medieval Times) and Owen Wilson, as an egomaniacal date of Robin's, steal the scenes. Or there's "Porno Password," the Cable Guy's idea of a good time with Steven's parents.
In the end, the movie's a throwaway that will make a bunch of money for everyone involved, and that's about it. Take it or leave it, I don't really care... just don't follow me home.
Here's somebody's butt, on the set of The Cable Guy.
Run time: 96 mins
In Theaters: Friday 14th June 1996
Box Office Worldwide: $60.2M
Distributed by: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Production compaines: Columbia Pictures Corporation
Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 54%
Fresh: 30 Rotten: 26
IMDB: 6.0 / 10
Director: Ben Stiller
Screenwriter: Lou Holtz Jr.
Starring: Jim Carrey as Cable Guy, Matthew Broderick as Steven M. Kovacs, Leslie Mann as Robin Harris, Jack Black as Rick, George Segal as Steven's father, Diane Baker as Steven's Mother, Ben Stiller as Sam Sweet / Stan Sweet, Eric Roberts as Eric Roberts, Janeane Garofalo as Medieval Times Waitress, Andy Dick as Medieval Times Host, Harry O'Reilly as Steven's Boss, David Cross as Sales Manager, Amy Stiller as Steven's Secretary, Owen Wilson as Robin's Date, Keith Gibbs as Basketball Player, Kathy Griffin as Cable Boy's Mother, Misa Koprova as Heather
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