Science fiction and fantasy                                            

The Mask

directed by Charles Russel

The Mask poster  
What would you do if you could put on a mask and be anyone you wanted to be? For Stanley Ipkiss (Jim Carrey), a guy so nice that he gets walked on more than the pavement, the answer to this question is easy. He would be the life of the party, and far more assertive.

When a strange mask floats out of the river in Edge City, Stanley wades in because he thinks someone is in the water in need of help. Instead he finds a Viking mask that gives him the power to be the person he always wanted to be. It seems like the answer to all of his problems. Suddenly he has the chance to go from being one of life's losers to a green-faced whirlwind of mischief and fun who nobody can ignore. With a cartoon style and a habit of getting everyone around him to dance and sing, Stanley's alter ego appears to be mostly harmless. But he soon discovers that wearing the mask has consequences. His relentless partying costs money, which he gets hold of by robbing the bank where he works during the day. Unfortunately this just happens to be the same bank that a local criminal is planning to rob. Dorian Tyrell (Peter Greene) and his goons are soon looking for payback. The police are also on The Mask's trail as well.

When Stanley puts on the mask he changes into an extroverted party animal. But it doesn't have the same effect on everyone. Deep down, Stanley is a romantic and a genuinely nice guy. When the wearer's inner desires are darker and when he has fewer scruples, the mask of the Norse god Loki becomes something altogether more dangerous.

Jim Carrey's talent for gurning and his joyful overacting really makes The Mask what it is. It's a colourful, fun-loving movie filled with cartoon capers, music, unrestrained showing off and silliness. In many ways it's the perfect vehicle for Carrey's brand of humour.

Everything is larger than life, like a cartoon, and the characters are rather exaggerated. However Cameron Diaz is likeable as Tina Carlyle, the Coco Bongo Club singer who captures Stanley's heart. The Mask is never short of a wisecrack or an endless supply of daft props. But even if Ipkiss can survive when both hardened criminals and the law are chasing him down, he is still left with questions about his own personality. Will anyone like him for himself, or is it only the overconfident Mask and all his tricks that people find popular?

The Mask is a good family movie with a loud, brash kind of charm that has a certain degree of infectious appeal.

Film Details

Decade: 1990s

Categories: Films

  Kids     Fantasy

Classification: PG

If you like this, try:

Batman Forever cover    

Batman Forever by Joel Schumacher
Batman faces up to Two-Face and The Riddler in this colourful comic adaptation.

4 star rating

Review © Ros Jackson