Posts Tagged ‘carrey’

kidding

Episode 1:

 Green Means Go

Jeff (Jim Carrey) is beloved children’s television host Mr. Pickles.  Jeff has just gone through a traumatic experience which caused his wife, Jill (Judy Greer) to divorce him.  Jeff wants to talk about what happened to him on his show, but Sebastian (Frank Langella) Jeff’s father and producer of show is against it.  Deidre, (Catherine Keener) Jeff’s sister has family problems of  her own.  Does Jeff get to share his trauma on tv?  Can he put his family back together?

This show has an interesting premise, what if a Mr. Rogers type character had a life changing event happen to him?   Good premise, the execution seems a bit odd.  I know writers like to make shows edgy, but this is a little too edgy for me.  JOne of the plot points is straight out of a cheesy 70’s sitcom.

Jim Carrey is a good actor, watch him in movies like the Truman Show or Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, but he seems to be stuck between comedy and drama here and he doesn’t know which choice is the right one. Frank Langella is a great actor, and is good here.  His voice is commanding, and he uses it well.   Catherine Keener isn’t given much to do, until the end of the episode.

Episode 2:

 Pusillanimous

Jeff visits a sick child in the hospital, Sebastian is not thrilled with Jeff’s new look.  Jeff spies on his wife’s new boyfriend, Peter.  (Justin Kirk)  Sebastian Is not happy about the direction in which the program is going.

It seems like Jim Carrey enjoys playing the scenes with the kids, and enjoys the Mr. Pickles character, more than the darker side of this character, because the Pickles character allows him to use his creativity more than the serious aspect of the character.  I think Frank Langella is enjoying plying the voice of reason, the realist in the fantasy world Jeff has created,  I don’t know what to make of the show, not yet, but I’m intrigued to find out.

Episode 3:

Every Pain Needs A Name

Jeff continues to try to vent his pain on the show, while Sebastian continues to try to merchandise Jeff’s likeness.  Sebastian also tries to convince Jeff to date one of his adult fans, while Jeff visits a cancer patient in a hospital.

This series is straddling a line between good taste and bad taste right now.  They should be careful because, the writers are dealing wiith a real live character her or at least the representation of one Fred Rogers was a real person, a Presbyterian minister, and if the writers cross that line, this will just become another joke at the expense of a kind, caring man, I hope they are cognizant of that.

 

Episode 4:

Bye Mom

Sebastian is still trying to find a way to monetize the Mr. Pickles character.  Deidre is still having marital problems, and Jill. Jeff’s ex-wife, has problems with something he has done.  Jeff is only worried if his out of date flip phone is working correctly.

This episode changed my mind about this show, I’ve always had a cynical underlying feeling about this show, that the writers were waiting for the right time to turn the Mr. Pickles character into another caricature of Fred Rogers, a man I admire very much.  Now I am more hopeful that this show will make Jeff Picklers a well-rounded humane character, instead of the butt of a cruel joke.  Let’s see how my hope plays out against the rest of the episodes.

Episode 5:

The New You

Jeff continues his unconventional relationship.  Sebastian continues to try to expand the marketing of Mr. Pickles.  Deidre tries to impress Sebastian with a new puppet.  Sebastian and Will bond.

This episode was disappointing because it focused on Jeff’s mental state, I hoped the focus would be elsewhere, but the writers are seemingly pushing the show in a different direction.  It could have been revolutionary or at least different, but it seems like it will be just another man on the edge series, and this character deserved better.  The big gag of the episode wasn’t even that funny.

 

Jeff’s relationship hits a low point.  Will Pickles vandalizes an empty house with his stoner friends without knowing that his father has bought the house  Jeff wants Tara Lapinski to stop impersonating him on ice.  Does she listen to him?  Deidre reaches her limit with her daughter, Maddy  (Juliet Morris)

This show is maddening.  Some of this episode is so beautiful, and some of it is just plain puzzling.  Just when I think I have a handle on the show or a character, something contradictory happens, and that makes the show frustrating to watch.  Will Pickles is especially annoying, maybe because of his moral nihilism, or his sense of privilege, because of his father’s wealth and fame, Will thinks he can get away with anything , people like that exist, I don’t want to see them on tv.

 

 

 

 

 

Episode 7:

Kintsugi

Mr. Pickles San ( Louis Ozawa Changchien) visits Jeff Pickles to pick up some tips on his version of Mr. Pickles.  Jeff approves a talking Mr. Pickles doll, and feels freer to speak his mind. Deidre finds kinship with Pickles San.  Scott and Deirdre argue about Maddy’s musical choices.  Jeff’s unconventional relationship takes an unexpected turn.

For 28 minutes this show is going as expected, but for the last two minutes of the show it devolves into something I don’t want to see. I hope it doesn’t turn into the kind of show that it seems to want to use shock value to gain viewers.  There are too many shows like that already, this show has a chance to be different, I hope it takes that chance to take the road less travelled.

Episode 8:

Phillium

Phil does magic tricks.  Jeff is asked to witness an execution.  Does he do it?

This was a filler episode about a tangential relationship between minor characters, all of these pay tv based shows have at least one of these filler episodes. I hope this is the last filler episode for this show.  It’s a flashback episode but it reveals little and what it reveals are only minor about minor characters.

Episode 9:

LT Pickles

Some creates a Mr. Pickles shooting game for smartphones.  Will gets into trouble in school.  Deidre’s feelings for Mr. Pickles San intensify.  Jeff is seeing things that don’t exist, is the pressure of being Mr. Pickles getting to him?

This show seems to be going in the direction that I feared it would, not in the direction that I hoped it would.  Every show is about sensationalism these days, not about how true to life a person can be.  I once again remind the writers and creator  of this fictional show that a real-life man entertained millions of kids without having mental issues, while confronting major societal issues, but nevermind.

Episode 10:

Some Day

Jeff pours his heart out on a live Christmas tree lighting, and it has unexpected consequences.  Deidre comes to a decision about her life that may not please everyone.  Will finds something unusual in the house he thought was abandoned.

This episode was actually a fitting episode for this show. Jeff finally got to speak from his heart, and it was touching, there was also a twist at the end of the episode if the episode got too saccharine for the viewers.  This was probably the best episode of the series, and made me want to watch Season 2.

My impressions of Season 1:

The  Some Day episode went a long way toward healing the flaws in this series, but the series was not without issues.  There was a foreboding tone and a downward spiral in the arc of the characters that was at times  depressing to watch.  The writers did some things for shock value, and also some cheap situation comedy tricks that really didn’t work.  There are also characters that are annoying, mostly the children but sometimes the adults.  Deidre is an example of such a character, she is in a season long rut, and whatever she tries to get out of that rut, it fails.  Deidre’s daughter, Maddy, is just a banshee, a bratty character that bears no resemblance to a real child.  Deidre’s husband Scott is less than one-dimensional, he’s no-dimensional, Jeff’s son Will is an entitled brat that everyone hopes their son is not.  One aspect of the writing is very good, and that’s the songs, the songs and the puppetry make the viewer believe that Mr. Pickles is a real kids show.

So what saves this show from the ash heap of pay tv series?   Frankly, the main characters, Jeff and Seb, are interesting.  There’s something interesting about a man with one foot out the door and another foot on a banana peel, I was hoping for a different kind of character, but there is still something morbidly intriguing about something on the edge of losing it.  The writers definitely pushed that narrative beyond the limits, b the viewer can’t look away. Jeff starts out as a total innocent, almost childlike in his naïveté, and then he evolves.  The evolution is sometimes disappointing, but always interesting.  Seb is interesting because of his undying cynicism .  How can a grown man be so Machiavellian in trying to manipulate his son?

The acting is another reason to watch the series.  Jim Carrey gives a mostly understated, well-modulated performance, as a man coping with incredible stress, and trying to find a silver lining in what he’s going through.  Sometimes Carrey reverts back to sit-com Jim Carrey,  but most of the time he delivers a sensitive and sweet performance.  The character has many sides and Carrey does well in exploring all facets of this character. Frank Langella almost steals the show as Seb, Jeff’s dad, Seb is underhanded, manipulative and mercenary.  The show needed someone like Seb to balance out all of Jeff’s good instincts.  It’s really a one dimensional character, Seb is basically trying to find new and different ways to monetize Jeff, but Langella does his best to infuse the character with humor, and that makes the character palatable.  Catherine Keener is stuck playing a sad-sack character who is desperately trying to find some happiness that seems just out of reach.  I don’t blame Keener, more the writers for giving her an untenable character.

Mostly for the acting, I will watch season two, because there is a twist at the end of season 1 that revives all the questions of  season 1.

Kidding:  Jim doesn’t get “Carreyd” away with silliness.

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DUMB AND DUMBER TO, from left: Jim Carrey, Rob Riggle, Jeff Daniels, 2014. ph: Hopper

Harry (Jeff Daniels) and Lloyd (Jim Carrey) reunite after 20 years apart.  Harry needs a kidney and thinks he can get one from a daughter named Penny (Rachel Melvin) he fathered 22 years earlier with Fraida (Kathleen Turner) the town tramp. Penny’s now living with his adopted father Dr. Pinchalow (Steve Tom) and his scheming wife Adele. (Laurie Holden)  Adele is slowly poisoning her husband and having an affair with Travis (Rob Riggle)  Dr. Pinchalow has created a revolutionary invention, that will save humanity, it’s worth a billion dollars. Dr. Pinchalow wants Penny to present this invention at a scientific conference, and make a speech on his behalf.  But a mixup gives Harry and Lloyd the invention, and Adele and Travis are in hot pursuit. Will Harry be reunited with his daughter?  Will he get his kidney transplant?

Do not watch this movie.  It commits the cardinal sin in a comedy, it’s not funny, not in the least. A collection of bathroom humor, and teenage sex jokes are not funny.  When the bar is intentionally set so low that a snake’s belly can cross it, and the movie is still not funny, that is a problem, a huge problem! There is a cringeworthy “relationship” between Lloyd and Penny, and the movie is so badly written that the second hour absolutely negates the first hour of this film.  And it took 6 writers to write this piece of flotsam.

Jim Carrey should be ashamed of himself, he mugs relentlessly for the camera, as he does for most of his movies, but with no jokes behind the mugging, they are just empty gestures and gestures that the audience has seen before many times.  The really sad part is he has done better, the Truman Show was a movie he could try to replicate, but instead he plays it safe and cashes in.  Jeff Daniels actually has a career, he did the critically acclaimed Newsroom, to go back to a movie like this is insulting. And Kathleen Turner, how low has her career sunk?  I remember her in Body Heat, and Peggy Sue Got Married.  Is this Hollywood’s punishment for her weight gain?

How low have the Farrelly brothers sunk?  They used to make quirky, funny movies, like Kingpin, There’s Something  About Mary and Stuck on You, and now they make the Three Stooges and this movie, they have to rediscover the formula that made their movies great, and start making those movies again.

Dumb and Dumber To:  Freedumb means not having to watch this movie.

burt wonderstone

Albert Weinselstein  (Mason Cook, Steve Carrell) is a boy who gets bullied and has an absentee mother.  His life takes a turn for the better when he gets a videotape of famous magician, Rance Holloway. (Alan Arkin) He meets Anthony Mertz (Luke Vanek, Steve Buscemi) in school, and the two devote their lives to magic.  They become the biggest magic act in the country, and they sign a large 10 year deal in Las Vegas with casino magnate, Doug Munny. (James Gandolfini) While Albert and Anthony are getting fat and happy as Burt and Anton, their act is getting stale, and competition is on the horizon in the form of daredevil magician Steve Gray. (Jim Carrey) As Steve gets more popular, Burt and Anton’s crowds start to dwindle.  Burt and Anton try to do a trick in Steve Gray style, and it ends in disaster.  Burt and Anton split up, their assistant, Jane (Olivia Wilde) leaves to become Steve Gray’s assistant.  Can Burt rise back to prominence from the bottom of  the barrel?  Can Burt and Anton repair their friendship and fix the act?

Don’t watch this movie.  The satire is pretty obvious, they are trying to satirize either Seigfried and Roy, or David Copperfield, who is ironically in this movie, and Jim Carrey is obviously trying to satirize David Blaine or Chris Angel.  The problem is the plot has been done before.  A nobody becomes a big star, who gets to full of himself, and gets his comeuppance. It’s been done in The Ballad of Ricky Bobby and The Campaign, both of those are better movies, and deserve your time more than this movie.

The acting is subpar, only Buscemi and Alan Arkin get any laughs al all, and even they only get mild laughs.  Steve Carrell is going through the motions as the passive aggressive jerk that he played in the Office.  The great James Gandolfini is absolutely wasted, and Jim Carrey who has done great movies like The Truman Show and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, reverts back to making faces and mugging for the camera.  Olivia Wilde is nothing more than what she always is, a draw for the teenage boy crowd.  She is not at all plausible as a love interest in this movie. She’s 30 and Carrell is 51, that’s a huge difference.

The writing is dull and predictable, and the direction is not noteworthy. On top of everything else wrong with this movie, there is obvious and shameful product placement.  No movie should ever have product placement.  It’s bad enough we have to sit through ads in the theater, and pay 15 bucks a ticket, we should all demand no product placement in movies.

The Incredible Burt Wonderstone.  Watch the people watching this movie with you disappear.

the truman show

Truman Burbank (Jim Carrey) is an insurance agent on Seahaven Island.  He is married to a nurse named Meryl (Laura Linney) an leads an unremarkable life.  He gets up, he says hi to the neighbors, and goes to work.  Truman hasn’t seen his father (Brian Delate)  since a boating accident, and has been afraid to go back on the water ever since, but Truman thinks he sees his father as a homeless man on the street one day.  When Truman tries to talk to his father, his dad is hustled away from him by police. Puzzled by the series of events, he thinks back to a girl he knew in college, named Lauren, (Natascha McElhone) who takes Truman for a walk on the beach and tells him something very startling, but then Lauren’s  father appears on the same beach and tells Truman that Lauren’s crazy, and that they are taking her away and moving to Fiji.  As he remembers his old college crush Truman realizes that things aren’t quite as they seem in Seahaven, he hears audio from his car radio that seems to describe his every turn in the car.  When Truman deviates from his usual route to work and tries to get on an elevator, the elevator doesn’t look real.  Despite assurances from Meryl and his best friend Marlon (Noah Emmerich ) and a reunion with his long lost father, Truman feels increasingly like he needs to get off Seahaven Island.  Does he get off the island; does he find the answers he’s looking for?

This is an excellent satire of television and a certain genre of tv show, popular in the 90’s, less prevalent today but still a part of the tv landscape.  This movie asks the very pertinent question, how far would a show go to get big ratings?  The answer, according to this movie, is very far indeed.  And that is what makes this movie so interesting and still relevant today, because we know that some tv exec somewhere is being pitched an idea for a tv show that breaks the bounds of good taste.  The second pertinent question is, where are the moral compasses of the people of Seahaven?  Are they all broken?  Wil they not share what they know about Seahaven with the only person who does not know the truth about the town?

The acting is great, Jim Carrey does what few comedic actors can do, he does a serious turn in a satirical movie.  Gone for the most part are the silly faces, gone entirely is the slapstick humor that was Carrey’s trademark.  He did do a strange turn in a strange movie called the Cable Guy, but in The Truman Show he uses all his skills to excellent effect. He did another semi-serious role in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, but he hasn’t done a movie like this since.   In the Truman Show, He is a guy with a ‘normal’ life, whose moorings are slowly being taken away from him.  He has fun with the role, but he knows there is a serious point being made, and he handles the humorous aspect of the role with equal aplomb.  Laura Linney plays Meryl with a kind of frenetic, nervous energy of a criminal about to be caught.  Ed Harris plays a man with a God complex and does a really good job with it. Harry Shearer is very funny in a small role.  Writer Andrew Niccol writes a nearly flawless satire of a genre that deserves satire in the worst way.

The Truman Show.  Give ‘em Hell, Truman.

Dumb and Dumber

Lloyd Christmas (Jim Carrey) is a limo driver, and he’s driving Mary Swanson (Lauren Holly) to the airport.  Mary leaves a suitcase for Joe Mentalino (Mike Starr) and JP Shay (Karen Duffy) but Lloyd takes the suitcase before Mental and JP can get it.  Lloyd’s buddy Harry Dunne (Jeff Daniels) is a pet groomer hopes to start a pet store with Lloyd. Both of them get fired, and Lloyd wants to travel to Aspen Colorado to return Mary’s suitcase, with nothing better to do, Harry agrees.  Mental and JP are in hot pursuit. Lloyd tricks a truck driver named Sea Bass (Cam Neely) into paying for their lunch, and so Sea Bass joins the hunt for Lloyd and Harry.  When Mental dies, the FBI becomes involved in tracking down Lloyd and Harry.   Harry meets a girl named Beth Jordan (Victoria Rowell) on the way to Aspen but strikes out with her.  Harry and Lloyd make it to Aspen, after a detour though Lincoln Nebraska, and find Mary’s name in an article in the local newspaper.  Do they succeed in giving her the money, or do the FBI or Sea Bass stop them?

Are you having a bad day?  The Sequester got you down?  Tired of hearing of athletes doping or meteorites crashing?  You need a movie that doesn’t require a lot of thinking.   Dumb and Dumber is that movie.  The humor is juvenile, there’s a lot of bathroom humor, if that is not your cup of tea, don’t watch this movie.  There’s also plenty of physical humor, and just a lot of ‘these guys are dumber than dirt’ humor. Jim Carrey steals every scene he’s in, but he’s supposed to, with a Prince Valiant haircut and a chipped tooth, he’s supposed to carry this movie.  However, Jeff Daniels holds his own, and has his own jokes and scenes that made me laugh.  Lauren Holly, Victoria Rowell, and everyone else are simply just straight men for Carrey and Daniels.  The Farrelly Brothers are known for their bad taste, and do nothing to change that in this movie, but again, I laughed a lot.  I watched this movie again because I hope that there’s a sequel, and that the Farrelly’s and Carrey and Daniels are all involved.

Dumb and Dumber:  Killing brain cells as you watch.