24 Frames

Movies: Past, present and future

Category: Jim Carrey

Judd Apatow on Jim Carrey, the 'Knocked Up' sequel and loving 'The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills'

March 2, 2011 |  9:00 am

Nearly a decade before he became Hollywood’s go-to producer and director for comedies such as “Knocked Up” and “The 40-Year-Old Virgin,” Judd Apatow cut his teeth as a producer on the dark Jim Carrey vehicle “The Cable Guy,” which is out on Blu-ray this week with 20 minutes of deleted scenes restored. Apatow talked with 24 Frames writer Rebecca Keegan about Carrey's sinister turn, why he's revisiting “Knocked Up” and what his kids learn from reality TV.


"The Cable Guy" took a drubbing from critics when it came out, but it’s gotten a cult status over the years. Were you surprised by the reaction to it at the time?

I thought people would be so excited to see Jim break new ground. I thought the critical response would be really positive and encouraging. It was an odd time, and the movie was stranger and darker and weirder than anyone expected. Some people were thrown that it wasn’t something they were used to. One of the issues has always been, when you see the movie for the first time, you actually think Jim Carrey is going to kill somebody. The second time you get all the jokes, and you’re no longer too nervous to laugh.

Didn’t you meet your wife on the "Cable Guy" set?

 I met Leslie [Mann] for the first time at her audition. On the Blu-ray, we have the audition. It’s actually the first time we ever spoke, but I am speaking in the character of the Cable Guy because I’m reading with her. You can feel her lack of interest. I don’t think she walked out of that room feeling what I felt.


You're writing a “Knocked Up” spinoff based on Leslie Mann and Paul Rudd's characters from that film. Why are you revisiting them?

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Jim Carrey puts on his chicken wings [Video]

January 10, 2011 | 11:21 am

Jim Carrey currently has "I Love You Phillip Morris" in theaters, but he may well wish he had a more, er, successful art-house film. This weekend on "Saturday Night Live," Carrey got to act out that fantasy -- and we got to see what might have happened had a casting director gone on a serious acid trip -- when Carrey deftly sent up Lily, Mila Kunis' loose-limbed and freewheeling dancer from "Black Swan." Is there a better target for Carrey’s goofball physicality than that movie's somber theatrics? The video is below if you haven't seen it.

Jim Carrey seeks a sketchy rescue with 'SNL'

December 20, 2010 |  3:44 pm


It's hard to imagine an actor with a more peculiar career than Jim Carrey. Few comedians have  succeeded in reinventing themselves so many times. And yet none seem as perpetually in a state of uncertainty.

It's a thought that came to mind when Carrey was tapped as a "Saturday Night Live" host for Jan. 8, the first time he's appearing on the show since 1996.

For many years, Carrey fluidly alternated between roles that required dramatic chops and those that made him money — "The Truman Show" and "Man on the Moon" sandwiched between "Liar, Liar" and "Me, Myself and Irene." Or "Eternal Sunshine of the Mind" (which earned him nominations from more than a half-dozen award groups) right after "Bruce Almighty."

But the ability to toggle has failed him lately. After 2005's "Fun with Dick & Jane," Carrey didn't do  mentally unhinged very convincingly in the psychological thriller "The Number 23." After "Yes Man" two years ago, he took on a more beloved character in "A Christmas Carol." That didn't work either.

This season he's turned in one of the more eyebrow-raising performances as a gay con man in "I Love You Philip Morris," a black comedy that about six people have seen and even fewer have embraced. Carrey's trademark wild-eyed and loose-limbed acting manner is on full display, but it gets in the way more that it illuminates or entertains. "[He] never gets beyond his Jim Carrey-ness to let us discover the character," wrote The Times' Betsy Sharkey.

The "SNL" appearance seems like a pretty obvious attempt to get the actor back to his roots. He has no movie to promote ("Phillip Morris" may still be hanging on in a few theaters, barely), so it's really just about the one-time "In Living Color" star showing himself in a way that we came to like him in the first place — as a sketch comedian. (A highlight from his much-embraced first "SNL" appearance below.) And it sets the stage for another return to a safe haven, the actor's summer 2011 movie, the family comedy "Mr. Popper's Penguins."

Carrey should at least be given points for trying to tackle more interesting characters, something fellow broad-appeal comic actors like Adam Sandler don't do nearly enough. It would be a shame if the recent failures would mean Carrey stopped trying, since he clearly has skills. It's just that lately he hasn't been very good at showing them.

— Steven Zeitchik


Photo: Jim Carrey in 'I Love You Phillip Morris.' Credit: Patti Perret /Associated Press



The new, happy-go-lucky 'I Love You Phillip Morris'

October 15, 2010 |  9:30 am

Car For a while, the shot perhaps most frequently associated with the Jim Carrey-Ewan McGregor romance "I Love You Phillip Morris" was the one below, which ran on numerous blogs during and long after the movie's Sundance premiere in 2008, though it was never part of any official advertising campaign. 

It was a bold image, and one that did speak to the film's tenderness. But as the movie about a con man (Carrey) and the man he falls in love with in jail (McGregor) finally gets a release -- after months of distribution problems and nearly two years since said Sundance premiere -- the actual campaign is taking a different tack. To the left is the image on the newly released poster (click on it for a closer look), in which a far more carefree vibe is peddled, the kind that says that what we're selling here is nothing but light comedy (even though in actuality the movie is far from that).

It's understandable why you'd want to take a pretty dark Sundance movie and position it as your typical jolly ol' Jim Carrey laughfest; after all, the more twisted truth of the film doesn't necessarily scream date night. And yep, more people might come out for the movie as a result -- but we'll see if they're thrown when they do.

 -- Steven Zeitchik


Upper photo: "I Love You Phillip Morris" poster. Credit: Freestyle Releasing

Lower photo: "I Love You Phillip Morris" screen shot. Credit: Europa Corp.



Jim Carrey's 'Under Cover' seeks its helmer

September 21, 2010 |  7:54 pm

For better or worse, David O. Russell won't direct the video game adaptation of "Uncharted: Drake's Fortune," which would have been the most unusual director-material pairing since, well, Zack Snyder decided to do an owl-themed kids' movie.

But there's an almost equally unusual combo that's brewing, as sources say Russell is meeting on, and is very much in consideration for, "Under Cover," a comedy with Jim Carrey as a man who turns to the therapeutic power of a cover band. The movie is described as a "heartwarming but broadly comic story of a man winning back his family and re-discovering his voice by performing some of the greatest hits of classic rock in the unlikely company of a cover band."

After reported as being courted for the role, Carrey is indeed attached, we hear (though there's no official deal in place yet). Veteran production company Mandeville, which produced Russell's upcoming "The Fighter," also looks to be coming on to the project. The film is set up at Summit, of "Twilight" fame.

Other directors are in the mix as well, but we have to admit that Russell would be the most enjoyably wacky choice. If he can make both incest and Iraq treasure-hunting darkly comic, one can only imagine what he'd do with the antics of Mandonna and Dread Zeppellin.

-- Steven Zeitchik


Photo: Jim Carrey as Lemony Snicket. Credit: Francois Duhamel/Paramount Pictures


Legends of the Guardian faces box-office hurdles

David O. Russell won't find gold with Drake's Fortune

A broad-comedy version of 'Mr. Popper's Penguins'?

June 22, 2010 |  1:25 pm

We've previously wondered what kind of direction Fox was going to take with "Mr. Popper's Penguins," the adaptation of the illustrated children's classic originally published on the eve of World War II.

For a while, it looked like the studio/producers would take a Spike Jonze-y "Where the Wild Things Are" tack, with Noah Baumbach writing and directing and Ben Stiller looking to star. Then the "Greenberg" duo parted ways with "Popper's Penguins," and it was back to asking what kind of film the studio had mind.

Pengu Now we have something of a clue. In recent days, Hollywood circles have been filled with talk that Mark Waters, the "Ghosts of Girlfriends Past" and "Freaky Friday" director who has a few commercial comedies under his belt, was talking to the studio, as was Jim Carrey, the actor who has more than a few commercial comedies under his belt.

Waters and Carrey also have something else going for them -- both have made hit movies involving animals, literal or figurative (Carrey with the "Ace Ventura" movies and Waters with "Mean Girls.")

Representatives and the studio aren't confirming any talks with the two, and it could well end up being another pair that gets the gig. (Owen Wilson and Jack Black, for instance, are in the mix, and don't rule out a Stiller comeback, though almost certainly without Baumbach). But the fact that Waters and Carrey are being associated with "Popper's Penguins" tells us a little bit more about what the studio wants (it is the concept-driven Fox) --- and, maybe, what the project needs.

This, after all, is a story about a couple that takes in a few penguins and before they know it have a veritable zoo on their hands. You could plumb the depths of the soul with it, as Baumbach might have done. But more likely you're going to want to plumb the depths of kid-friendly animal jokes, the kind of thing that's right in Carrey's hen house. And given how family films are tearing it up at the box office, it would hard to argue with the studio waddling that way.

-- Steven Zeitchik

Photo: Jacket of 'Mr. Popper's Penguins.' Credit: Little, Brown & Co.


Mr. Popper's Penguins could reshuffle its flock

Is a multiplex full of family films the future of moviegoing?

Noah Baumbach shows 'Greenberg' how he sees it

Jim Carrey's 'I Love You Philip Morris' back on the shelf

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Jim Carrey's 'I Love You Phillip Morris' back on the shelf

April 8, 2010 |  6:39 pm

EXCLUSIVE: Audiences hoping to love Phillip Morris, or at least watch Jim Carrey loving Phillip Morris, will have to wait a little longer. Or maybe much longer.

Consolidated Pictures Group, the start-up that was poised to release the Sundance title, has postponed the release once again. And this time it's indefinite.

The movie, which premiered at Sundance in 2009 and eventually played the Directors' Fortnight in Cannes, was originally set to be released March 26. But about a month before that date, the company delayed the release date to April 30, when it was supposed to begin a limited run before expanding several weeks later.

Now a spokeswoman for the film confirms that the movie has been delayed again and in fact won't be coming out at the end of the month. She adds that there is no release date scheduled at this time.

The movie, which comes from "Bad Santa" writers Glenn Ficarra and John Requa and focuses on a love affair between a con man (Carrey) and his cellmate (Ewan McGregor, playing the titular Phillip Morris), drew mixed reviews on the festival circuit. But it did have its champions, mainly among those who admired Carrey's willingness to take on difficult (and partly true) subject matter

Movies can sit on the shelf without a distributor for years, but it's rare for a title with such high-profile stars and a fair dollop of media attention not to see the light of day.

CPG, the start-up that released movies such as the indie wine-making drama "Bottle Shock," picked up the title after it failed to find a buyer at Sundance. The acquisition gave hope to some that the independent distribution market wasn't as bleak as some said, but the postponement suggests that it may, in fact, be that bleak after all.

-- Steven Zeitchik

Photo: Ewan McGregor and Jim Carrey in 'I Love You Phillip Morris.' Credit: Glenn Watson / Consolidated Pictures Group


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