Friday, February 15, 2013

Review: Son of the Mask

Plot: Jamie Kennedy is a manchild who dresses up as a giant turtle and entertains kids for a living. Apparently, he wants more from his life than all that and aspires to be a cartoonist. Jamie Kennedy’s wife (the delightful Traylor Howard) somehow is oblivious to the fact that she’s hitched her wagon to the personification of arrested development and actually wants to procreate with him. One day, the family dog brings home a creepy old mask, which just so happens to have been forged by Loki, the Norse god of mischief. Jamie Kennedy wears it to a party, becomes possessed by the spirit of the mask, bangs his wife, gets her pregnant and poof there’s a baby. Pretty soon Kennedy gets left to watch the baby on his own and he starts to notice that the kid has special powers. So he has to deal with that while also working on a big cartoon pitch for his boss and fending off Loki who just wants his mask back, but no one will give it to him for some reason. Oh yeah, and at a certain point, the family dog decides to literally go to war with the baby over Kennedy’s love and affection. So that’s a thing that happens.
Thoughts: OK, so full disclosure here: I’ve never actually sat down and watched the original “The Mask” with Jim Carey. I’ve seen bits and pieces here and there, and I vaguely remember something about a cartoon TV show that I may have spent some time with, but the first movie, nope. Flew under my radar. 
I did, however, see “Mask” starring Eric Stoltz as a deformed teen at least twice during my childhood and was pretty well traumatized by that, if that counts for anything. That probably explains a lot actually.   
So maybe I’m missing out on something here. I don’t know, but “Son of the Mask” seems really, really dumb.

Bad acting, nonsense script, accidentally a major downer. Yeah I'll be happy to avoid it again. Miss you Stoltz!!

I’m not sure who the audience is for this kind of movie. I’d say it’s meant for kids because the humor is ripped straight from the pages of every “Looney Toons” script ever. But it’s also kind of dark, considering Kennedy essentially spends the entire second act and most of the third one as a complete raving lunatic, gradually succumbing to the pressures of work and family. I mean, there’s enough cartoon explosions to keep the kids happy, but I’m not sure it’s a good idea to spend so much time in your kid’s movie telling kids just how much they ruin everything. Seems like a mixed message.    
I guess if you’ve ever watched “Looney Toons” and thought: “This is great, but I wish there were less animals and more people in this,” then “Son of the Mask” is very much for you. You one guy, you.
I’ve never really been on board with Jamie Kennedy’s brand of humor. I mean, I guess this is his cartoon phase, and it’s way better than his nerdy-white rapper phase, but it’s still not all that funny. Even still, he finds time for a quick rap/R&B number anyway, because it’s what he does.
Also, I just got really weirded watching him turn into a psychotic person. Like I said, it’s super uncomfortable and it seems really out of place in a movie I can only assume is meant for kids.
                I spent a lot of my time wondering why this was happening and by this I meant the entire narrative of the movie. Loki’s father is the all-powerful god Odin, yet said all-powerful god refuses to help Loki find the mask. Why? Because, that’s why. Also, Jamie Kennedy doesn’t seem to really want the mask or care about it at all, so why not just give it back to Loki?
                For a lot of the middle of the movie, the baby is portrayed as the main villain, driving Kennedy totally nuts just for the heck of it. Yet, instead of asking Loki for help, Kennedy runs from him! Why? Until the very, very end, Loki doesn’t do anything to make himself seem like a bad guy. In fact, for most of the movie, he seems OK, he just wants his mask back.
                Alan Cumming, who plays Loki, is wasted here, though he and Odin do slightly resemble their more popular counterparts in “The Avengers,” costume-wise.  So that was fun.

                Worst of the Worst

                There’s an elaborate sequence in the middle of the movie where the family dog, who’s wearing Loki’s mask, sets up a massive trap for the baby. We’re talking Mouse Trap style nonsense here. Oh, the baby’s CGI, by the way. If you’re the one person who still thinks CGI babies are funny, then here’s your “Schindler’s List,” I guess. Anyway, so the CGI baby tricks the dog into its own trap. It’s just a total knock-off of every Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd skit ever. Funnier with cartoons.
I can’t in good faith recommend any actually watches this movie. I didn’t laugh, I was kind of depressed  and creeped out by the middle part of it, and the rest is just boring.
Bumblebee tuna.

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