Without Carrey, ‘Son of the Mask’ falters

Allan Lamb

“Who’s the cute puppy wuppy in the really bad movie woovie?” Jamie Kennedy, dog, star in Son of the Mask.

Credit: Allan Lamb

Surprisingly, Son of the Mask is a very thought-provoking film.

Some thoughts that might be provoked are “What the hell were they thinking?” or “Who fellated who to get this one made?”

In a day and age when sequels are where it’s at, Son of the Mask is, hands down, the worst. Aside from being about eight years too late, it is also hard to imagine anyone old enough to remember the Mask’s far superior — but far from great — predecessor finding it funny.

Feeding off every episode of “Looney Toons” and other classic cartoons for its slapstick humor, the old, long-forgotten dancing baby of the mid-’90s and the old trick of pulling 30 machine guns out of your pocket from the original, Son of the Mask fails to bring anything new to the franchise.

A bad sequel strays too far from its origin. Son of the Mask is no exception. Stanley Ipkiss was a resident of Los Angeles in The Mask. He tossed the mask, and 11 years later, it went through a dimensional portal to a make-believe town called Fringe City. Everyone in Fringe City lives in a normal house except the Averys, who live in a house that looks like it came from one of the recent Dr. Seuss abominations.

Taking a hiatus from his usual role as the out-of-place funny man, Jamie Kennedy breaks new ground as the out-of-place but unfunny Tim Avery, a failed animator frightened by the thought of becoming a father.

Alan Cumming is fitting as Loki, despite the terrible scripting of his role. He’s got the look, he’s got the touch, but he lacks a good script.

Other truly funny people make cameos, such as legendary comedian Steven Wright and Ben Stein, reprising his role as the egotistic anthropologist. However, neither of them are given a chance to be funny the way they know how.

When Tim’s dog, Otis (there’s an original name: the first dog was Milo, now we have Otis — gee, how clever!), finds the mask Stanley Ipkiss tossed back in ’94, Tim decides to wear it to his company’s Halloween party.

It transforms him into a different person even less realistic than what it turned Jim Carrey into. He’s the life of the party. He then goes home to his wife (Traylor Howard) for some action and nine months later makes a baby boy, Alvey, who is born with the powers of the mask in his genes.

But trouble comes when Loki, the Norse god of mischief who created the mask is sent by his father, Odin (Bob Hoskins), to retrieve and destroy it. A thousand lame jokes later, Loki kidnaps the baby and holds him ransom for the mask, which Otis is keeping in his dog house for his own personal benefit. Plot fillers include fart jokes, pee jokes, poop jokes, dog jokes and a Coyote/Roadrunner sub-plot between Alvey and a jealous Otis.

Son of the Mask could have saved itself from being another shit-in-the-pot if the writers had kept the story in this plane of existence and if Lawrence Guterman had let Cumming, Kennedy and Wright do their thing. Instead, all you get is washed up slapstick, fart jokes and a desire to kill yourself. Shame on all involved, babies and animals included.

Contact pop arts reporter Allan Lamb at [email protected].