Not that much behind the `Mask'

Without Jim Carrey, it just doesn't work


February 18, 2005|By Chris Kaltenbach | Chris Kaltenbach,SUN MOVIE CRITIC

Doing a sequel to The Mask without Jim Carrey sounds like a really bad idea.

As Son of the Mask proves, it is.

Jamie Kennedy (Malibu's Most Wanted) stars as cartoonist Tim Avery, a forlorn, unappreciated drone in an animation studio whose wife (Traylor Howard) desperately wants a child. Tim is averse to the idea, he says, because he wants the sort of job that would make his child proud of him, but really it's because he's too much of an arrested adolescent to shoulder anything like responsibility.

Meanwhile, back in Asgard, that place where all the Norse gods and goddesses hang out, the all-powerful Odin (Bob Hoskins?!) is furious at his prankster son, Loki (Alan Cumming, who must have thought he was signing on for something else), for losing a mask that gives its wearer the power to change shape at will. Find it, he orders.

But it's Tim's dog who finds it, floating in a tiny stream. He brings it home, weeks pass, and for reasons I have successfully forgotten, Tim puts it on - and instantly transforms into a green-faced Jim Carrey wannabe (truth be told, he looks more like Jay Leno) who can change himself into whatever he wants. Apparently, that means channeling the Village People, a change that turns him into the life of the company Halloween party and - once he gets home and finds his wife - a veritable love machine.

Months pass, the Averys have a baby (Tim hasn't seen the mask since that fateful night, as the dog has scurried away with it), Loki is still looking, and the audience is still waiting for something to happen that could possibly be funny.

Fat chance. Son of the Mask is so lame, it resorts to a talking baby (born with the mask's powers) and a shape-shifting dog (Tim's pooch eventually wears the mask himself) for yucks.

Like The Mask, Son of the Mask sees itself as a live-action tribute to the Looney Toons of old; it even evokes the name of animation great Tex Avery to make its point. But while the first film had Carrey, in a performance he has yet to match onscreen, this Son has Kennedy, who barely seems able to wake himself, and a total lack of imagination, brio, ingenuity or anything else that would compel anyone to watch it.

Son of the Mask

Starring Jamie Kennedy, Alan Cumming

Directed by Lawrence Guterman

Rated PG (action, crude and suggestive humor and language)

Released by New Line Cinema

Time 86 minutes


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