Stanley Ipkiss: Let’s rock this joint!
Beware: Spoilers may follow.
The comic book series known as the Mask is one filled with interesting dark undertones and some graphic violence. Its had various chapters filled with many horrors that would be interesting for cinema. Yet we’ve only had one telling of the tale in the form of a superhero comedy. With that being said it is still a very good superhero comedy.
The story involves bank clerk Stanley Ipkiss who discovers a magical mask containing the spirit of the Norse God Loki. While wearing the masks he gets all sorts of cartoony and supernatural powers with a charming and confident demeanor catching the attention of local nightclub singer Tina. However under the mask’s influence Stanley robs a bank and angers crime lord Dorian Tyrell whose goons are blamed for the robbery.
The setup for the story is a good one but it doesn’t really have much weight to it. The core of this movie lies in the main star, Jim Carrey. The character of the Mask gives Carrey the perfect role to fully showcase his manic talents. This particularly shines in the scenes with the Mask where there is so much unrestrained energy and intensity. The visual and verbal gags are full speed and always hit Bullseye. Carrey’s over-the-top delivery and physical movements only add to the jokes making them into a comic book like parody but still making them life-like. Carrey also succeeds in making the character of Stanley a likable and sympathetic character. When he bears the mask he tends to be quite obnoxious and antagonistic due to his pent up anger. But his weird cartoony like items and actions tend to reflect his nature to more of annoy and scare people rather than horribly hurt or scar them in similar vein of Looney Tunes.
Cameron Diaz made her big screen debut in this movie and she proves to bring a great deal of beauty and comical timing. And her chemistry with Carrey is undeniable particularly with that scene where she dances with the Mask.
Chuck Russell’s direction brings a colorful environment with vibrant sets, flashy costumes, and a hilarious song and dance number to synergize well with Carrey’s energy. It perfectly manages to mix in both the cartoony items and the real world perfectly without the look becoming too distracting.
Despite having a heavy cartoony and comedic tone, the portrayal of the real world is done in an adult manner. The gangsters for instance, in sharp contrast to the Mask are portrayed as these genuinely serious and malicious guys. Combined with Carrey’s clowning around, this allows for massive comedic possibilities. Dorian and his gang pose a really big threat and yet the Mask feels the complete opposite when it comes to them. This contrast allows the movie to deliver its many laughs.
The Mask utilizes its main star in such a way making for an all around entertaining movie with an entertaining star to bring so much to the table. Its story doesn’t offer much but it is just such a fun real life cartoon that has so many unique concepts that I don’t think anyone would have though possible from the source material. No matter what future the Mask comics hold in the cinematic or television world this will definitely remain a classic and look forward to seeing what future lies ahead for such an interesting character.