|Son of the Mask (2004)
Starring: Jamie Kennedy, Alan Cumming, Traylor Howard, Bob Hoskins, Kal Penn
Director: Lawrence Guterman
Hollywood has come a long way since the 1994 release of Jim Carrey’s manic comedy, “The Mask,” and in that time we’ve all learned a few things about how the movie industry operates – namely, that most studios could really care less about the quality of their films. Instead, they design sequels around the money they’re sure to make from faded memories of watching the original, and after suffering from years of script revisions, cast changes, and a near direct-to-video release, “Son of the Mask” can finally be added to that list. But if the concept didn't sound bad enough already, then the film's brief, two-week engagement in theaters should only reaffirm suspicions that this should have been dumped to DVD.
The film is not a continuation of the character first seen in the original, but rather an extension to the story of the mysterious mask and its life-changing effects on the out-of-luck losers of the world. Tim Avery (Jamie Kennedy) is one such loser, an aspiring cartoon artist whose best friend is his dog Otis. His wife Tonya (Traylor Howard) wants to start a family, but Tim won’t make any further commitments until he’s landed a cartoon deal. Long story short, Tim discovers the ancient mask, transforms into the green-faced superhero, impregnates his wife, and wows his co-workers during a company Halloween party. But when his baby boy reveals that he has the same supernatural powers of The Mask, Loki (Alan Cumming), the god of mischief, comes thundering down from the heavens in order to retrieve the ancient artifact, only to be forced into a battle against the shape-shifting baby in a CGI game of cat-and-mouse.
The film quickly loses any substance that may have existed in the first 30 minutes, resorting to childish slapstick as its main source of humor. Alan Cumming is far too talented to be slumming it in this piece of rubbish and Jamie Kennedy has none of the charm of Jim Carrey. His performance as the green-skinned superhero is neither inspiring nor memorable, and it’s a shame that his first starring role was scarred by such a weak script. This is Hollywood at its absolute worst, as the only place for a movie like "Son of the Mask" is at the bottom of the bargain bin at your local Wal-Mart. You've been officially warned.
The DVD release of "Son of the Mask" has been given a much better treatment than it probably deserves, but there is an ample supply of bonus material for those willing to stick around after the movie. Included on the single-disc release is a full-length audio commentary by director Larry Guterman, writer Lance Khazei, and star Jamie Kennedy, as well as 19 deleted scenes. Rounding out the set is the CGI special "Creating Son of the Mask," "Chow Bella - Hollywood's Pampered Pooches," and a nice gallery of storyboard art. There's really no reason to run out to stores and pick this DVD up, but if you've already made the mistake of renting it, you may discover some added value in this decent collection of extras.