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Film review

'Son of Mask': a horror film in disguise

This crude, disappointing sequel to the 1994 Jim Carrey hit is billed as a comedy for kids. Don't be fooled.

By RICK GERSHMAN
Published February 17, 2005


photo
[Photo: New Line Productions]
Jamie Kennedy may face inevitable comparisons with Jim Carrey and come up wanting.

Finally, after a month of tepid horror flicks (White Noise, Hide and Seek, Boogeyman) we finally have a true terror classic. Son of the Mask is sure to horrify adults and kids alike.

Take, for instance, the scene when bleary-eyed new daddy Tim Avery (Jamie Kennedy) comes within inches of feeding his baby son a broken light bulb. Brilliantly shocking!

Then there's that bit when Avery mistakes his wife for the film's villain and attacks her, slamming her to the floor and beginning to throttle her. Move over, Raging Bull! Truly chilling stuff!

How about the lengthy, amazingly violent sequences in which the family's jealous dog and the infant repeatedly try to kill each other? Talk about taking Pet Sematary to a whole new bloodcurdling level!

Oh, you didn't know Son of the Mask was a horror film? Neither did we. This sequel to 1994's starmaking Jim Carrey-Cameron Diaz vehicle is being marketed as a comedy for kids. Heck, it's even rated PG.

Don't be fooled. Outside of a few amusing occasions - thank goodness for troopers Alan Cumming and Ben Stein - Son isn't funny. It's creepy, grating and tiresome, hands down one of the worst sequels ever. And the only indication that it's a kids flick is its reliance on pee, poop, puke and even snot jokes for its (far too few) laughs.

Granted, the studio never should have green-lighted a Mask sequel now that Carrey has moved on to bigger and better things. Has there ever been an actor more perfectly suited for a role?

This is an impossible assignment for any actor, much less a mediocre talent such as Kennedy (Malibu's Most Wanted). That's probably why Kennedy's character wears the titular mask only twice in the film, and both occasions are underwhelming at best.

Instead, the plot revolves around baby Alvey Avery, who possesses the Mask's superpowers thanks to being conceived while Papa was in mask mode. Meanwhile, Loki (the God of Mischief) is on a mission to track down the missing mask and appease his dad, Odin (Bob Hoskins).

Cumming, best known to American film audiences as Nightcrawler in X-Men 2, has fun mugging his way through as Loki. And Stein is droll fun as usual, supplying the film's back story.

The rest, however, is ugly, boring and crude, a disappointment no matter how low one's expectations are. Watch this one and you'll want a mask, all right - to hide your embarrassment when leaving the theater.

SON OF THE MASK

Grade: D

Director: Lawrence Guterman

Cast: Jamie Kennedy, Alan Cumming, Traylor Howard, Steven Wright, Bob Hoskins, Ben Stein, Kal Penn

Screenplay: Lance Khazei

Rating: PG; action, suggestive humor, language

Running time: 86 min.

[Last modified February 16, 2005, 08:33:04]


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