I’m surprised I haven’t mentioned The Mask yet, because it’s one of my favourite films. It has tension, comedy, romance and some of the greatest song-and-dance numbers in modern cinema. Cameron Diaz has never been more sexy or more loveable; Peter Greene has never been more menacing. But this is Jim Carrey’s show.
Shy dork Stanley Ipkiss (Carrey) lives alone with his clever pup, Milo, and works in a bank. His luckless fortune changes when he meets gangster’s moll Tina (Diaz), who is ostensibly opening an account while casing the joint for her boyfriend, Dorian Tyrell (Green). Drenched and despondent after being turned away from the club where she sings, he finds a magical wooden mask, which transforms him into the titular character.
As the CGI-enhanced cartoon, “with these powers, [he] can be a superhero … but first …”
The Mask wreaks ACME-style revenge on those who have wronged him, incites the ire of gangster Tyrell and literally sweeps Tina off her feet. Transformed back into plain old Stanley Ipkiss, his new-found confidence attracts the attention of journalist Amy Yasbeck – and puts him on the radar of suspicious cop Peter Riegert.
It’s a light-hearted caper with plenty of cartoonish comedy that was rightly a box office hit on release but is rarely considered among the high points of cinema. This is unfortunate, since it continues to charm, and Jim Carrey’s manic performance has never been bettered.