Wednesday 6 May 2015

IMDb Bottom 100 Review – Number 51 Son of the Mask

Take a massively career defining movie of the 90s, that was fun and somewhat innovative, get some B-list actors, amp up effects a bit, string together a somewhat coherent albeit stupid as fuck script, add a dash of cashing in and you've got the recipe for a cinematic disaster not seen since I reviewed Night Train to Mundo Crap last week. Or any other week before that. The Mask made Jim Carey and Cameron Diaz into stars. This movie took what little Jamie Kennedy had to his name, and tore it to pieces. I think it's best if you drop all hopes that this movie will turn my reviewing list around for the better, and just read the words I wrote about...

I fucking hate Ben Stein. Regardless of his annoying voice and stupid face this guy is a massive toolbag. No really, Youtube him. 

Tonight we look at a movie that has everything pretty much handed to it on a plate, and still manages to fuck it all up. Like most Zack Snyder movies, this flick mostly consists of effects that need to carry everything else but comes up short. Unlike most Zack Snyder movies, however, Son of the Mask doesn't leave you feeling a little empty but still impressed. It just makes you feel empty. Feauturing known faces on the cast list, and these effects as well as the coat tails of a massive blockbuster to ride on, it's almost saddening how poorly this movie was executed. I was never a fan of Jamie Kennedy, so his presence as the main character doesn't help me to like this, but I fear I would've probably not thought that differently if they had selected somebody else in his stead. This just couldn't work. Even the mostly charming Alan Cummings failed to pull this out of the dumpster with his colorful but annoying portrayal of Loki. The plot is feeble but coherent at least.

Alan Cumming. You were once Nightcrawler in blue, and now this shit? Where did it go wrong. 

Loki wants his Mask back. He goes looking for it on Earth wreaking havoc along the way. It's unclear if he's struck a deal with Odin or something, because Odin turns up later, as an apparition, and demands that Loki finds his mask or else... Meanwhile Jamie Kennedy is an animator working in a studio, trying to get his idea for a show realized and not having a lot of luck with it. His wife wants to have a kid, but Jamie doesn't think it's such a hot idea. I'm not sure why except perhaps because he's not mature enough or just doesn't understand what the point is. In a particularly grim moment where he's just been shot down at work, his dog finds Loki's mask somewhere, and Jamie puts it on as his costume for the night at his company party. He somehow manages to both pitch an idea for a show that his executives love and have sex with his wife that same night. When he wakes up, literally a few hours later, she informs him that she's pregnant. Boom.

Jamie Kennedy. You are an idiot and still I'm sorry you have to go through this. That hair and mask is just... ridiculous.
The child is born and looks normal but is of course a weird hybrid of human with mask/Loki like powers. Loki has found out that a child has been born of the mask, and is tracking down everybody with the same name as Jamie utilizing a number of annoying disguises and gimmicks. Jamie's wife, that I honestly can't remember the name of and alt tabbing to a browser to look it up seems too much effort at this point despite the fact, that typing that sentence and this one now is probably more work than just looking up her name, is going on a business trip to somewhere. The kid looks like he's 2 at this point, but nothing has been mentioned about accelerated growth, so either Loki is slow as fuck in his tracking, or this movie has a wonky time line. While she's gone, the kid starts fucking around with weird powers. Also the dog puts on the mask and further stupidity ensues. Loki finally manages to find out that the Jamie is the guy he's looking for, and an epic showdown happens, during which Odin strips Loki of his powers and then reinstates him before everything comes to a peaceful and multi beneficial solution. Everybody wins.

Loki bonds with the kid over a game of Super Twister. Let that concept just sink in.
This movie was a classic case of slapstick gone wrong. So many stupid attempts at gags that could've worked, but didn't. The Mask with Jim Carey had a lot of gags, most of which worked because of timing I guess, or the inherent comedic value in Jim. Jamie Kennedy isn't a comedic genius. Not at all. Alan Cumming is doing alright, but he can't carry this whole thing. I only really know him from X2 where he portrayed one of my favorite mutants, Nightcrawler decently so I'm irrationally disappointed that he is in this shit. Bob Hoskins plays Odin and that's just not working at all either. Good old Bob somehow got lured into doing this film, for God knows what reason. Blackmail is my guess. There's no way he could've read the script beforehand or had any idea what he was getting himself into. Alright so he did do Roger Rabbit, and perhaps he hoped this movie would reach the same level of cult status or fame, but he was sadly and grossly mistaken. Jamie's wife is Traylor Howard who we all know from Two Guys, a girl and a pizza place playing, you guessed it, 'a girl'. Her role here is tame and without real merit. Her part does beg the question 'what the fuck made her love Jamie to begin with'. Jamie is kind of a fuck up. Sure he has a degree in animation and is working a job in animation but still he comes off as a dead end loser. Perhaps it's just his demeanor, but everything about him screams loser.

I know punching babies is frowned upon in modern society, but no baby has made me this annoyed since the Olsen twins. 
Lastly we have the kid. That fucking kid. Played, as almost always, by a seemingly endless number of identical twins in Hollywood, this kid is just downright annoying. The few parts that aren't CGI they bomb. I don't know if it's because I'm in a pissy mood in general for watching this film, or because he is genuinely horrible. I'm leaning towards the latter. Mostly because it makes me happy but also because those twins have literally never been in anything else. So somebody out there must have seen this and thought “fuck no”. In Son of the Mask they obviously play the title role. Born of the mask it's referred to as in the movie several times. Like somebody the DNA of a mask wearer and human DNA mix up and create something out of nothing. I don't know. Nothing is really explained in the movie because there isn't an explanation for any of it that would make sense – even within the movie universe. How the hell can two year olds even bomb in a role like this? They aren't doing much. They are just babies! And yet, I haven't been this aggravated at a kid in a movie since the last superbabies flick. They try to mask most of it with CGI which could've worked, if it hadn't been for the fact, that all the gags are just horribly executed and crude in a non funny way. Nothing is funny. Nothing works. Everything is pointless.

Bob Hoskins, ladies and gentlemen. Academy award nominee Bob Hoskins. 
The CGI in general in this movie is over done. I get that the movie has no real content and nothing really to carry it through. And that the CGI is relatively well done. Not well designed, but well done. It's cartooney and looks decent for a movie that only the most hardcore believer could've had true faith in. It's just no where near enough to take the mind off of what a horrible piece of shit everything else is. Especially the way Jamie Kennedy looks when wearing the mask. I mean, is it a porcelain masking they have somehow clicked onto his face? What the fuck is going on with that. I don't expect it to look believable, because how could it? But at least don't make it look that stupid. They try to throw a few song and dance numbers at us, because they worked in The Mask, but they fall flat on their face. No gusto or effort really. Just half assing it. Alan Cumming tries a coy and trickstery approach as Loki, but it comes off as laughable. Enough so to make me wonder how the hell he pulled through it without throwing up. Bob Hoskins and him play back and forth on some father/son rivalry, but it doesn't really work. At all. It's not explained why Odin is pissed or why he wants Loki to find the mask that badly. Or why there is a countdown for Loki to find it. Or why the fuck he even shows up in the first place. God dammit.

I never really liked Jamie Kennedy. This movie didn't help. He always plays an annoying person. Perhaps he is typecast, I don't know. 
This movie is colorful and tries hard to be something it never could be. It somehow managed to lure in a few decent names, but nobody seems engaged enough or caring enough to put in more than a fleeting moment's effort. It's empty and pointless. Everything about it is. Not a chuckle, a smirk or a twinkle in my eyes happened at any point here. And I watched it on a plane going from Toronto to Denver, with no wifi and only pay per view in-flight entertainment. I had literaly nothing else to do, than stare out the window, and still this movie was the worse alternative. I could've looked at the wing of a flying airplane, and marveled at the concept of humans in flight, and felt like I had spent my two hours more constructively than watching this movie. I wish I had done that instead.  


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