|The Mask (1994)
Starring: Jim Carrey, Cameron Diaz
Director: Chuck Russell
Years before Jim Carrey was respected as a dramatic actor, the rubber-faced stand up-comedian paid his dues on the sketch comedy show, "In Living Color." His big-screen debut as the incorrigible pet detective, Ace Venture, gained Carrey widespread exposure as an upcoming comic, but it was his performance in 1994's comic book adaptation of "The Mask" that paved his path to box office gold. Co-starring a then-unknown Cameron Diaz and featuring groundbreaking special effects, "The Mask" is a light and fun action-comedy that introduced Carrey to the masses as Hollywood's next comedy star.
Carrey stars as Stanley Ipkiss, a nice-guys-finish-last bank clerk whose life is turned around when he discovers a mysterious wooden mask floating in a nearby river. When his curiosity sways him to put on the mask after yet another depressing night, he unexpectedly transforms into the Mask, a shape-shifting, wise-cracking cartoon with the supernatural abilities of a superhero. Instead of using his powers for good, Stanley begins to exact revenge on the city bullies, and gains a new enemy in Dorian Tyrell (Peter Greene) when he beats his gang to a bank job and steals his woman (Diaz) at the local hotspot. Stanley refuses to return to his safe, boring life before the Mask, but the green-faced character is on the NYPD's most wanted list and Dorian wants the power of the mask for his own, and will stop at nothing to get it.
"The" Mask" is a fun mix of action, comedy and romance that wouldn't have been possible without Jim Carrey, who commands the physically demanding lead role with the same kind of exuberant confidence that has since turned him into a colossal movie star. Just don't expect too much from "The Mask" outside of what Carrey brings to the project, because the writing is mediocre at best. Still, it's a colorful live-action rendition of what it would be like to live inside a Tex Avery cartoon – where giant mallets can be pulled from pockets and ticking bombs swallowed whole – that stands the test of time as a comedy classic.
"The Mask" has been re-released on DVD under New Line's Platinum Series brand and boasts a new selection of special features including two audio commentaries, the first with various crew members, and the second with director Chuck Russell. The latter track is actually the more favorable of the two, simply because it features the only other relevant voice (the director's) other than Carrey. While it's nice to hear input from guys like the cinematographer on how certain visuals were created, it's a complete disaster trying to decipher that information while six guys are talking at once. Also included are a pair of deleted scenes, and numerous production featurettes like "Return to Edge City," a documentary on the origin and making of the film. Rounding out the disc are three more featurettes and the original trailer.