The word on the street today is that Jim Carrey is retiring from acting after a starring role in Sonic the Hedgehog 2 as Dr. Eggman once more. It’s a shame, given his long and…somewhat distinguished acting career. Perhaps instead of focusing on his impending retirement, we should focus on his past success stories? In that case, here’s a list of the top 5 films Carrey has starred in, whether hero or villain. Enjoy:
5. Liar Liar (1997)
Jim Carrey takes 5th place here for his starring role as lawyer Fletcher Reede in Liar Liar (1997). Carrey’s…distinct personality is welded to a surprisingly good story about a pathologically lying lawyer who finds himself unable to lie for a single day thanks to a magical birthday wish his son made. This combination ends up being a compelling movie, and one of Carrey’s best performances. The barrage of lawyer jokes throughout the movie is a nice touch too, even if real lawyers might object to at least a few of them.
4. Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events (2004)
At 4th place, we have Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, which also stars Jim Carrey, but not as the hero. This time, Carrey gets a starring role as the villain of the story as Count Olaf. His delightfully oddball acting style is now portrayed almost menacingly. You still find him funny, but he now also seems as disturbingly unhinged as he is entertaining. Perfect for a failed actor who wants to murder 3 children (and numerous others along the way) just for a fortune.
3. Sonic the Hedgehog (2020)
Once more, Jim Carrey dons the villain suit for 3rd place on this list as Dr. Ivo “Eggman” Robotnik in Sonic the Hedgehog. His offbeat acting style gives Dr. Eggman as unhinged a personality as Count Olaf. He somehow manages to simultaneously come off as absurdly entertaining while being genuinely menacing. It seems Carrey can play villain roles just as well as he can play the role of a hero. He may not be the star here (that honor goes to the blue hedgehog himself), but he certainly left a mark on the audience with his acting. Maybe you’ll even check out the sequel when it comes out?
2. The Mask (1994)
Jim Carrey to be…not exactly a hero, but not quite a villain in The Mask (1994). His performance as Stanley Ipkiss here is what lands him 2nd place on this list. Carrey’s version of Ipkiss is…odd, just like his actor, but he’s written as a genuinely decent person. It’s why even when he’s doing some fairly questionable things, he comes off more as being awkwardly uninhibited rather than being threatening. This fine line between hero and villain is also why this is the rare instance of a comic book film where the film version is better than the original comic book. At least, in my opinion. Your mileage may vary here. I think you’ll agree with me though that the forays into Looney Tunes-style cartoon animation gives the film a nice Who Framed Roger Rabbit feel.
1. The Truman Show (1998)
For 1st place on this list though, The Truman Show is the clear winner. Jim Carrey as the titular Truman Burbank is, I believe, his best role to date, and will likely be his best role period if he’s serious about retiring. I mean, not a single one of Jim Carrey’s other films even comes close to the emotional rollercoaster that this film produces in you. While this film is technically a comedy-drama, I feel it leans more into the drama part, which makes Carrey’s performance in here all the better. His distinctly bizarre acting style is used to great effect here to make Truman look like he’s genuinely losing his mind at the series of events unfolding in the film, which is all the more fitting given all the mindscrew that happens to the poor guy in there.
Seriously, if you haven’t watched The Truman Show yet, give it a chance. It’ll be worth it. I’m not even going to post a trailer for it, because the trailer spoils everything. Jim Carrey’s crowning achievement should be watched completely in the dark.