After just missing Oscar gold with performances in The Truman Show and Man on the Moon, Jim Carrey returns to the dramatic form for a third bid at the little statue with a heart-rending performance as a victim of split-personality disorder in the soulful drama Me, Myself & Irene.
Yeah, and Adam Sandler is a gifted thespian. With their long-awaited follow-up to There’s Something About Mary, the Farrelly brothers return to their specialty — gross-out shenanigans — in this equally funny entry into their oeuvre of perversion.
The story involves the naïve and lovable Charlie (Carrey), a Rhode Island state trooper who finds himself the whipping boy of the entire state due to his welcome-mat demeanor. Even children tell him to stick it to himself. And have I mentioned his new bride births triplets with a black midget, running off with the father to leave Charlie to care for the boys as his own? No doubt about it, you’re in Farrelly brothers-land now…
The story gets jump-started when Irene (Renée Zellweger) enters the picture, and through a series of mishaps Irene and Charlie find themselves on the run from a crooked golf course owner(!?) throughout the northeast U.S. And there’s one other problem: Charlie has mentally snapped, taking on a second personality of ‘Hank,’ Charlie’s utter opposite — lover, fighter, and smooth-talker.
Irene relies on two things to make itself the off-the-charts comedy it truly is: potty humor and the ability of Carrey to do pantomime (mainly via beating himself up a la Fight Club). And did I mention the potty humor? We’re not talking fart-joke-as-afterthought. We’re talking chicken-up-a-man’s-butt as critical plot point. We’re talking clear-the-theaters gross-out stuff… stuff that the Farrelly brothers do so well it’s better than poetry.
Zellweger plays the straight (wo)man admirably well in the shadow of Carrey’s insane slapsticker. If only the plot had been better — or rather, if only there had been a plot at all — the movie might have become a classic. As it is, the film makes almost no sense at all, having something to do with the aforementioned golf course and an unnamed scandal therein, somehow peripherally involving Irene. Mary was clever. Irene is just plain dumb.
But no matter. Irene is so easy on the eyes and on the funny bone it practically begs for a sequel. (Discerning viewers: Watch for cameos by sports stars Anna Kournakova and Cam Neely, and a eye-popper from late-night cable queen Shannon Whirry.)
Him, him, and her.