Thursday, December 9, 2010

Review: The Cable Guy

The Cable Guy (1996) **1/2
Director: Ben Stiller (Tropic Thunder, Zoolander, Reality Bites)
Starring: Jim Carrey, Matthew Broderick

I was disappointed by this movie, but to be fair I went expecting to see Jim Carrey's over-the-top comedy shtick that made him famous in Dumb and Dumber, The Mask, and Ace Ventura. And if that's what you're expecting too, you'll be sorely disappointed. This is a dark, cerebral comedy/drama and Carrey plays a complex, dark character, and although I didn't care for the film overall I thought his performance was intriguing.

The film also offers an underlying satire of America's obsession with television and news media. But if you don't care for the dark comedy and social commentary and just want to see Jim Carrey for his comic brilliance, there are a few funny scenes that I feel at least make it worth a rental: the basketball game, The Medieval Times restaurant (Star Trek spoof), and the Carrey-oke version of Jefferson Airplane's "Somebody To Love" (which is an amazing impression and performance). Also, the running gag involving the spoof of the Menendez Bros' trial are amusing although since rather dated. But even suggesting it as a rental, I can only recommend this one to fans of Jim Carrey, Matthew Broderick and Jack Black because they'll be more tolerant of a bad movie because these guys are in it. So if it starts boring you or you simply don't like it, just skip to the few funny scenes.

Additional thoughts:

I originally published this review on a movie fan forum back in the late 90s which explains why I reference having actually watched the film at the movie theater. (If memory serves, I was the only one in the theater for a matinee show.) It was considered a box office bomb and was despised by critics, and Jim Carrey took a lot of flak for being grossly overpaid for his role ($20 mil!). A lot of Jim Carrey fans, besides myself, were also disappointed by this. The trailers were even misleading because they played up the film's comedic scenes, but as I stated above this is a dark comedy-driven drama. And it's only because I find Jim Carrey a fascinating performer that I even bothered to watch it.

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