When I borrowed a pirate copy of Bruce Almighty from Flounder, I expected a grotesque serving of sentimental family-fun. Carrey has given up on his disastrous attempt to gain points with the mainstream-alternative crowd. In the late Clinton years, Carrey took roles that Meant Something: the ol' "media" statement in The Truman Show, the inevitable "look Ma, I got range!" statement in the nauseatingly studied Man in the Moon, and another "media" statement in the accidentally brilliant Cable Guy.
It's been a rough past few years for Carrey, learning that there's no payoff for trying to appeal to art fags just because they snub you from the corners of Hollywood A-list parties, sneering until the first phone call from Michael Eisner causes them to drop to their knees. There just weren't no pleasin' thems artfag folks: if Carrey stayed mainstream Hollywood, he wasn't "serious"; if he went indy and played, say, artfag icon Andy "subversive comedian" Kaufman, even if he did it right, the artfag cabal would inevitably accuse Carrey of "ruining" their hero. Even the triumph, the inevitable compliment from an artfag, turned out to be no golden goose -- I'm sure by now Carrey's had more than his fill of artfags groveling to his face. In fact, earning the praise of artfags and "serious" critics must have been the single biggest disappointment in Carrey's career. You just know he had one of those, "Is this it?" moments after Man in the Moon.
Then something scary happened. Right around the time of his critically acclaimed, box-office dud Man In the Moon performance, Carrey must have gotten worried because he dove back into hack Hollywood comedy for what should have been a pushover, like fighting Jerry Quarry after a two-year retirement. If you've seen Me, Myself and Irene, you'll know what happened. Not funny. Not at all. Quarry won by decision. It was ugly.
Carrey's last two films, The Majestic (which supposedly makes Frank Capra look gritty and nihilistic) and Bruce Almighty, scream "Career Panic!" He's fleeing from the artfags and into the arms of Bush's Hokey America faster than an Iraqi informant. Only now, it's a self-conscious, nervous, desperate-to-be-big Jim Carrey, not the Jim Carrey who once did "stupid" mainstream comedies. Like Dumb and Dumber, a movie too great for a moron like Carrey to ever appreciate what he'd done.
If you're in a forgiving mood, as I was when I saw Bruce, you'll be grateful for the five or so comic moments, and ignore the rest of the film, doing chores or cooking food while your pirate copy plays in the background. If you see this in a movie theater, don't bring any sharp objects. One reason is Jennifer Aniston's repulsive Christian girlfriend character might make you...unhappy.
Aniston's good-hearted Christian girlfriend is repulsive not only for her cheap populism (Aniston is an avowed late-90s-type muff-diving degenerate), but because she leaves her man at a pivotal moment in his life.
Why is it that nearly every mainstream Hollywood movie features a non-hysterical lyoung woman who leaves her boyfriend/ husband during the most difficult or intense period of his life, and it's somehow considered culturally acceptable -- even sympathetic. I remember when I first came to Russia my Russian friends were always shocked by this feature in American movies. They asked me was it true, did American women always leave their men when they were in trouble. I would always answer that it depended on whether or not they believed they had better prospects with another man. One thing an American woman cannot stomach is missing out on an investment. It's the biggest sin an American woman can make. So yes, she'll dump a man if, when he's down on his luck, it looks like it's for good this time, and she has better prospects elsewhere; no, she won't if he comes from a wealthy family, has a good education or is physically capable of finding another woman, possibly better looking than his current one, who might cash in on the investment that she has already made.