Jim Carrey plays timid bank clerk Stanley Ipkiss, who, after being chucked out of a nightclub one sad evening, happens across a Nordic mask in the river which transforms him into a wise-cracking, zoot-suited green-faced super-comic-hero. With his new-found charm and powers, which include infinite malleability of his own body, Stanley chats up the gorgeous woman of his dreams (Cameron Diaz), robs his own bank, outwits the cops and demolishes the local hoods, also finding time to perform some rather nifty dance routines.
Praised at the time for Jim Carrey's facial acrobatics as the titular hero, The Mask
also had real charm in its use of period-ambiguous settings and intelligent use of its heroine, Cameron Diaz in her first screen role. Carrey is as interesting when he's the put-upon Stanley Ipkiss as he is when he transforms into an amoral cartoon character (thanks to chance discovery of an ancient mask). When a sweet woman reporter tells him that he is the nicest man in town, it does not strike us as odd. The plot is a pretty standard one--the hero comes to realise that he can do everything for himself and does not need magical assistance--but outstanding performances by Peter Green as the gangster heavy and Peter Riegret as the irascible cop who has to make sense of things offers the film a bit more dramatic oomph. Add to this a couple of splendid song-and-dance routines and one of the most charming dogs in modern movies, and you have something moderately special.
On the DVD: The DVD comes with a very enthusiastic director's commentary, a moderately interesting making-of documentary and interviews with the cast as well as the theatrical trailer. --Roz Kaveney