Review: “Son of the Mask”

Sequels without their original stars are usually sent direct to video. Some deserve better, this isn’t one of those – hell, video is too good for this. “The Mask” wasn’t one of Carrey’s better comedies but it did suit his talent, introduced Cameron Diaz to the world, and revolved around what at the time were eye-popping special effects. Its script was hokey but Carrey’s Mask personality was effectively funny and there were a few standout scenes revolving around singing or dancing.

Even without Carrey, “Son of the Mask” cost twice the price yet looks a lot cheaper. It’s certainly louder, a lot more juvenile and just plain obnoxious. Director Lawrence Guterman takes the reigns and whilst his “Cats and Dogs” was a clumsy CG mess, there was at least some inspired bits and an interesting premise – nothing like that is on display here. “Son” suffers from too much reliance on the biggest cartoonish CG gags money can buy rather than working on an actual story.

As a result what little plot there is never focuses and heads off in all sorts of different tangents that range from the childish to the frankly at times disturbing considering this seems aimed at pre-schoolers who’ve been missing their Ritalin doses. It’s fast paced but as there’s nowhere to go it never truly feels that way.

Following on the heels of the horrid “Malibu’s Most Wanted”, Kennedy toplines yet another horrid comedy that’s not good for his resume. He tries WAY too hard to be Jim Carrey and comes across as nothing but a third-rate imitator. Even genuinely funnier talents ranging from newcomers like Kal Penn to more seasoned proven actors like Alan Cumming & Bob Hoskins are so obviously just collecting a pay check it’s sad. The less said about Ben Stein the better.

One sequence tries to pay homage to the clever “Cuba Pete” dancing cops sequence of the original, but all it succeeds in doing is butchering the classic “Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You” by doing it in truly horrid rap, hip-hop and country-western cover versions. Don’t even get me started on the multiple urine fountain gag which seems more like something out of “Van Wilder” than a kids movie, or one bit involving Kennedy literally abusing his wife for a full minute.

Most of the second half revolves around bad CG versions of a green-masked dog essentially setting out to kill a really annoying baby. The effects are so over the top they’re not really believable, but they’re better than the practical gags of the piece such as a neighbour whose face turns into a nose and sneezes a bucket of snot.

The odd gag involving the baby does induce a smile (incl. a western standoff or a homage to a classic cartoon) but nothing is actually funny and some gags (like injokes for “Ransom” and “Scarface”) are so going to go over this intended audiences heads you have to wonder why they bothered. Anything redeeming at all? Well some fun costume design…Yeah, that’s about it. So painful it hurts and certainly not for those who are at least potty trained.