Friday, June 23, 2000
The newfound Kings of Raunch, Bobby and Peter Farrelly, return with another Jim Carrey movie that makes their "Dumb and Dumber" seem like "Hamlet."
"Me, Myself and Irene" allows Carrey to exercise his limitless talent with material that would get boys expelled from grammar school. The movie is crude, outrageous and often up-roarious, especially if you leave your inhibitions at home.
A prologue is narrated by Rex Allen Jr., who tells of good-natured Charlie Baileygates (Carrey), a Rhode Island state trooper who rarely hands out a ticket. Charlie finds the love of his life (Traylor Howard), but on the way home from the wedding, she falls for the diminutive black limo driver (Tony Cox). After giving birth to black triplets, she runs off with their father, leaving Charlie to raise the boys.
Years later, the boys are huge, foul-mouthed but loving sons who are also geniuses ï¿½ the top three in their high school class. Charlie is the same mild fellow who is considered a pushover by the townspeople. He starts getting twinges, and suddenly his alter ego, Hank Baileygates, emerges, a rampaging ruffian who wreaks vengeance on those who have scoffed at Charlie.
Charlie is diagnosed as a schizophrenic, and medicine keeps Hank out of sight. But Charlie's life changes when he is sent to escort Irene (Renee Zellweger) to New York, where she is sought by agents of the EPA (the EPA?) as witness in a swindle by a golf course owner. And, of course, the owner wants Irene dead.
The role of Charlie/Hank is a perfect fit for the protean Carrey, who smoothly shifts between the characters without benefit of makeup or special effects. Zellweger, impressive as Tom Cruise's love interest in "Jerry Maguire," confirms her emergence as a first-rank star as the shrewd but vulnerable Irene.
The Farrelly brothers directed the film and wrote it with a Rhode Island schoolmate, Mike Cerrone. They have created a franchise with comedies that push the envelope of taste and propriety, especially with bathroom and sex humor.
One discordant note: The three sons speak street language, supposedly because their father sought to prepare them for the black world. Their constant use of vulgarities is both jarring and stereotypical.