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ME, MYSELF & IRENE

Review by Gordon Justesen

Stars: Jim Carrey, Rene Zellweger, Chris Cooper, Robert Forster, Richard Jenkins
Directors: Peter and Bobby Farrelly
Audio: English Dolby Digital 5.1, English Dolby Surround, French Dolby Surround
Video: Widescreen 1.85:1 Anamorphic Transfer
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Features: See Review
Length: 116 Minutes
Release Date: January 23, 2001

Film ***1/2

After two wonderful runs at doing serious film material in The Truman Show and Man on the Moon, it’s no question that Jim Carrey’s central fan base was waiting for his return to physical comedy. Carrey makes his return to this genre, re-teaming with no less than The Farrelly Brothers, in the no holds barred comedy Me, Myself & Irene. Carrey and the Farrelly’s first collaborated on 1994’s Dumb and Dumber, which resulted in one of the funniest comedies of the 90s. The brothers then went on to make two more hilarious masterpieces, the hugely underrated Kingpin in 1996, and the hugely successful There’s Something About Mary in 1998. Their second collaboration with Carrey is a complete knockout of a comedy, as well as a great achievement for both Carrey and the Farrelly Brothers.

Carrey is Charlie Baileygates, an 18-year veteran of the Rhode Island State Police, single father of three boys, and an all around nice guy who is used to either being ignored or taken advantage of by mostly everyone who knows him. He tries not to let anything bother him, such as his neighbor’s dog defecating on his lawn, and the neighbor’s wife taking the newspaper from Charlie’s mailbox to look at while in the bathroom. When Charlie kindly asks to have it back when she’s done, his neighbor replies unbelievably with, “Can’t you get one at work?” One day he’s pushed too far and soon a devilish side of Charlie is exposed; a split personality named Hank. Hank emerges as a vengeful cop determined to deliver some payback to those who have been disrespectful to him, including a screamingly funny moment when he returns the favor to his neighbors, as well as their lawn.

Charlie, of course, has no recollection of what he does when he is Hank. His superiors inform him that he has developed advanced delusional schizophrenia with involuntary narcissistic rage, which was caused by Charlie not wanting to deal with his problems. His captain (Robert Forster) advises Charlie to take his medication, despite the enormous bit of dry mouth it causes, and then hands him a new assignment. Charlie is ordered to escort a woman named Irene Waters (Rene Zellweger) back to New York where she must face questioning about her knowledge and involvement in fraud and embezzlement committed by here boss, and supposed ex-lover. Once he delivers her to the authorities in New York, he believes his job is finished. Then Irene is nearly killed by a possible enforcer of her boss, and runs straight to Charlie. Hitting the road to protect her, but forgetting his pills, Charlie and Irene are soon on lam from crooked cops who are being paid by Irene’s boss to get rid of. This leads to frequent transformations into Hank, who wants to protect Irene, but wants to come onto as well. This escalates into a battle of personalities, as Charlie develops an affection for Irene as well, and vows to not let Hank interfere.

Jim Carrey is simply remarkable in this film, especially when it comes to the physical comedy. As far as I’m concerned, Carrey pushes the envelope for physical comedy in this film more than I’ve ever seen him do before, other than maybe Liar Liar. It is completely illustrated in the scene where both Charlie and Hank fight each other out in a crowded train station, which must have been the most difficult moment for Carrey to pull off. It is a scene that is remarkably done and enormously funny.

 This isn’t actually Carrey’s first time playing a man with two personalities. He did a similar act in The Mask in 1994. Charlie is more of a Stanley Ipkiss caricature; while Hank is more in the tone of Carrey’s sinister mannerism much like in The Cable Guy, though not entirely sinister. Hank does grow a little of a heart, but it certainly doesn’t stop him from being as crude as one can get. Rene Zellweger is a true sight for the eyes, and she is sweet and fun to watch as Irene. Her and Carrey create a nice level of chemistry that is perfect for a comedy. Each movie that The Farrelly Brothers make always has a certain level of sweetness in it, which is not always found in most comedies, so it’s refreshing in a way.

I would rank Me, Myself & Irene as my second favorite Farrelly Brothers comedy. My top favorite of their movies has long been Kingpin, and There’s Something About Mary was a riot, but Irene made me laugh even more, to my surprise. It is a true accomplishment for Jim Carrey, who can also do dramatic roles brilliantly, but is also, as this film proves, a pure comedic genius.

Video ****

Judging from Fox’s triumphant, breakthrough job last year, I think it’s safe to assume that we will be seeing  more astonishing and impressive DVD releases in 2001, like the disc for Me, Myself & Irene. This anamorphically enhanced widescreen presentation is lively with bright colors, a breathtakingly crisp and clear picture resolution.

Audio ***1/2

I was impressed with the audio job on this disc, mostly because for comedies, you don’t often expect such a grand treatment, but Me, Myself & Irene delivers audio perfection so the laughs come out nice and clear. A lot of music is played in the movie, and it picks up extremely well. There are also some gunshots fired in several scenes, such as one involving the demise of an already demised cow, which comes through loud and clear as well. The audio tracks included are English Dolby Digital 5.1, Dolby Surround, and French Dolby Surround.

Features ****

Fox lately has been sure to included all the appropriate fixings on their discs, and the disc for Me, Myself & Irene is no exception. Included is a commentary by the Farrelly Brothers, Deleted scenes with commentary by the Farrelleys, a behind the scenes featurette, as well as a number of production vignettes, Theatrical Trailers and Television spots, a music video for the song “Breakout” by the Foo Fighters, and the disc also includes an extended branching option, just like the disc for X-Men included.

Summary:

Me, Myself & Irene is one of last year’s most hysterically funny laugh riots. If you were gasping for breath from laughing so hard at Dumb and Dumber, Kingpin, and There’s Something About Mary, you should definitely check this one out, cause this one delivers twice as much. Warning: be prepared for some unbelievably funny gross-out humor, much in the Farrelly Brothers tradition.