THE SETUP: Mild-mannered Rhode Island motorcycle cop Charlie Baileygates (Jim Carrey) is so depressed after his wife leaves him and their (suspiciously dark-complexioned) triplet sons for a vertically-challenged limo driver, he lets everyone and their dog (literally) push him around. One day, his psyche maxes out on abuse, allowing his alter-ego the lewd, cocksure and utterly lascivious Hank to emerge. As long as Charlie takes his medication, Hank is harmless. But when ordered to transport errant Irene Waters (Renee Zellweger) back to her hometown, guess who forgets his pill bottle. Another taboo-trampling farce by the Farrelly Brothers the men who unleashed Dumb and Dumber and There’s Something About Mary on the world the sight gags get increasingly unsightly.
KAREN: Completely nonsensical, completely ludicrous and completely gross, Me, Myself and Irene manages again and again to top Mary’s oh-so-creamy hair-gel gag. These are shameless equal-opportunity offenders, and more power to them. Every possible sacred cow in our politically correct society is merrily butchered . . .
RAY: Or shot in the head or thrown off a train or stuck someplace we usually
prefer not to think about.
KAREN: American audiences are clearly far more comfortable laughing at sexual behavior and taboos than they ever will be confronting them gross-out comedies about sex outsell adult comedies about sex every time. When shown in such a broad, obviously ridiculous context, the often brutal sexual subtext is rendered harmless.
RAY: You’re beating around the bush. I know you want to talk about that
healthy-sized dildo that Hank picks up with the quart of rum for a little night
music with Irene.
KAREN: That dildo got more use than any I’ve ever seen outside of a porno flick.
RAY: There’s probably only one subtle joke in the entire production: almost every time Hank’s id-inklings start to rattle around in Charlie’s brain, we hear a cover by Steely Dan, the band who took their name from a dildo in William S. Burroughs’ Naked Lunch.
KAREN: Do you think that tasty tidbit will pop up on Who Wants to Be A
Millionaire? I kind of appreciate the fact that the Hank part of Charlie has no edit button. He says everything we’ve ever thought or longed to say to bullies, to weirdos, to the perfect families with their perfect little brats, to smokers, to cops, to lovers, you name it. He’s utterly fearless and without shame. He asks Irene if she swallows; he calls her “Candypants” (and he means to eat them, too). Poor Irene can only look on in disbelief or wallop him with her purse. He gets stomped on and comes back for more. Once in a while, a girl can like that in a man.
RAY: There’s Something About Mary made light of male genital mutilation, but underneath there was an off-kilter good-heartedness. It’s true, Ben Stiller’s character is essentially a stalker, but Cameron Diaz is the perfect woman, happy to scratch, belch and fart her way through that night’s ESPN Sportscenter. I was hoping for something here that balanced dark and light humor equally well, but I was a little let down. The inane, convoluted plot has too many diversions to keep the divide between civilized wuss Charlie and uncensored sociopath Hank in focus.
KAREN: When you go to a Farrelly Brothers movie, you have to expect that eventually you’ll be gagging on the gags and the double entendres. But I think they go wrong and get sloppy when they shape the plot around the schtick and allow Carrey’s mugging to approach felony levels. Hank’s unfettered lust and sexual harassment would be problematic, except they let themselves off the hook by putting it in the realm of sheer lunacy. For the Farrellys, the only real question is: How can they top themselves when they’ve already hit new lows of scatological (and every other kind of) humor? Trust me, they can. I’d like to see them shoot Mission: Impossible 3. Starring Jim Carrey as part of Tom Cruise’s team.
RAY: Or as Cruise’s brain. But Carrey’s more likely to stick with the likes of
the Farrellys than go high-gloss killer. Those two are probably the least aesethetically unconcerned of the world’s successful, smart film directors. The Texas-drawling, pillow-lipped, squinty-blue-eyed Renee Zellweger may deservedly be one of America’s sweethearts, but their lighting was far more flattering to Cameron Diaz. Here, they get the gags across with the barest minimum of polish.
KAREN: Plus a whole bunch of the lines are lazily written, playing as little more than
ridiculously sexual come-ons.
RAY: “Just because I rock doesn’t mean I’m made out of stone”? I’m gonna try
that one the next time I have more than a couple of beers in me.
KAREN: These crude lines zing by so fast you miss most of them (fortunately
or unfortunately, depending on your tolerance level). Otherwise you might remember throwaways like, “She’ll be eating whale blubber as soon as I can free Willie.”
RAY: Or, “Hey! You! Get yer cock outta my Chrysler!” I want that one on a
sampler. You gotta take your poetry where you can get it.
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