Filmó Son Of The Mask (PG)

Son Of The Mask

by Amy Diaz

Itís the sequel no one wants to a movie no one can remember starring none of the original actors ó donít you just want to pre-order your DVD of Son of the Mask right now?

Or, maybe you do remember the original Mask, which was released in 1994. Maybe you remember the hee-hee-larious antics of Jim Carrey. Well, he ainít here. And neither is anything else that made that movie a middling entry (not too-talking-through-butt-cheeks; not too-Frank-Capra-wannabe) in the Carrey canon.

Well, thatís not entirely true. The mischief-making mask is again in our midst. Created by Loki the Norse god of mischief (and snazzy dressing, as Alan Cumming plays him), the mask turns its wearer into a green-faced hyperactive talk-show-host-personalitied demi-god with the ability to create cartoon-style mayhem. But Lokiís dad Odin (Bob Hoskins) has decided that the partyís over and itís time for Loki to get the mask back. He sets forth on his search, but not before cartoonist wannabe Tim Avery (Jamie Kennedy) and his dog Otis stumble across it. Tim, an I-donít-wanna-grow-up twenty-something clinging to his childhood with fingernails dug in, puts it on and becomes a man (albeit a Joker-esque freak-man). He impresses his boss (Steven Wright) at a company party, earning the meek Tim a promotion, and returns home to impregnate his wife Tonya (Traylor Howard). After the mask comes off, Tim doesnít seem to really remember what happened but he reaps the benefits (though he loses the mask, which ends up in Otisí dog house).

Without the mask, however, Tim canít show the same nuttiness that makes one the king of cartoons. On the home front, he begins to see signs that, while he canít find the mask, he can find plenty of traces of its personality in his son Alvey (Ryan and Liam Falconer). Baby Alvey can dance and sing and threaten with the best of the cartoon predators (heís sort of a pudgier, less witty Bugs Bunny). When Tonya goes away, Alvey takes the opportunity to lay on the wackiness and drive his dad, who thinks all the Acme antics are delusion, loony. Alvey soon has two bigger problems than how to commit dear old dad: (1) Otis puts on the mask and begins a Tom and Jerry/ Tweetie and Sylvester-style death match between dog and baby for Timís affections and (2) Loki shows up wanting his mask and maybe his mask-created baby.

Itís official ó babies are creepy. Not in person so much but in movies, babies, when they stare at the camera with their big, unblinking baby eyes, are clearly contemplating some kind of evil. When their mouths start moving unnaturally ó due to CGI ó or when they stand on their two feet and dance or otherwise show more dexterity than the normal 6-month-old shows, the babies seem like tiny, chubby, footie-pajama-wearing monsters. Short but deadly. Bald but up to no good. Alvey is such a baby. Usually a cartoon as completely unperson-like as Elmer Fudd, Alvey occasionally settles back down into regular baby state. And, as weird and displeasing as the cartoon baby is, the flesh-and-blood Alvey is even creepier.

No part of Son of the Mask is actually funny. Even Alan Cumming is completely wasted ó given all the sass but none of the snark that makes so many of his odd little just-paying-bills roles surprisingly entertaining. Jamie Kennedy seems like a comic actor in search of a genre. Heís not as ďbigĒ as Carrey, not clever, not fully formed as a schlub. At different points in the movie, he tries on all of these personas and then kicks them off like unfashionable pants when they clearly prove not to fit. Maybe, somewhere out there, thereís a place for his sitcom-comedy and aging-boy-band look. Keep moving though Kennedy, this ainít it.

- Amy Diaz

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