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THE MASK (1994)- PG13

Stanley Ipkiss is your average, everyday geek (read: loser): incredibly nice, but always taken advantage of at every turn, that is, until he discovers an ancient Norse mask that posseses magic powers, enabling him to transform into a debonaire, cavalier mask-clad Rico Suave. When the beauitful Tina Carlyle enters his life, Stanley decides to shake things up, wooing her in the process. But Tina's thuggish boyfriend, Dorian, is anything but humored, and, envying Ipkiss' masked-powers, resolves upon acquiring the mask for himself; if Dorian succeeds, however, it could spell trouble for a lot of people. Meanwhile, the debonaire Masked-man may be big with the ladies, but he's got the police force all up in a fit over his recent decision to rob a bank- no doubt as a form of payback for taking advantage of poor little Ipkiss. This gut-busting comedy is sure to entertain.

Director Charles Russell's "The Mask" is a wild, wacky, high-energy comic romp.

The energetic cast includes: Jim Carrey, Cameron Diaz, Peter Riegert, Peter Greene, Amy Yasbeck, and Richard Jeni.

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Promotional lines: "From Zero to Hero."
"Stanley Ipkiss is not the man he used to be."


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This romantic, action comedy involves a mysterious mask that a meek and mild bank clerk finds in the river. Putting it on he turns into a wild, extroverted, cartoon-like super hero character, who has much fun and gets the girl.

"The Mask" is one of the best comic book type adventure ever put on film. "Batman Forever" comes close, but "The Mask" is better at capturing the anything can happen, and does quality of comic book and cartoons. The dialogue is imaginative, witty, and very entertaining. Mark Verheiden adapted the screenplay from an old comic book series, but makes the mask character a crazy super hero type, instead of a mass murderer, thank goodness.

Stanley Ipkiss (Jim Carrey), who has the reputation of being a really nice guy, is taken advantage of by pretty girls, crooked car mechanics, suffers under an insufferable bank manager, and a landlady from hell, the disagreeable Mrs. Peenman (Nancy Fish); people who don't give him any respect. After a discouraging evening, that started with Stanley being thrown out of the line to the ritzy night club, while his friends went in, and that ends with the junky loaner car breaking down in the middle of a bridge, in the middle of a rain storm, Stanley spies what he thinks is a drowning man. Yelling, "I know CPR!!", he jumps into the water and finds a weird, ancient mask, depicting Loki, the Norse night god of mischief, floating with some trash. At home, in his run-down apartment, he is drawn to the mask and puts it on, where the mask melds into his face, as it's power seeps into Stanley's being, with hilarious results. Let's just say, some of Carrey's tormentors get a unique come-uppence, which doesn't escape the notice of the police. The power of the mask "brings all his innermost desires to wild, screaming life!"

The second plot line has a power struggle going on between an old, evil, reigning mobster, Niko (Orestes Matacena), who uses golf cruelly to make his point, and his equally slimy young protege, Dorian Tyrel (Peter Greene I ), who plots to take over the territory, by first robbing a bank to finance it. Too bad that the swirling green guy had just robbed the bank that night, as well as make a move on the young mobster's girlfriend, Tina Carlyle, played by the luscious Cameron Diaz, a woman that Stanley greatly admires, but doesn't feel that he has a chance with. She is a talented singer in the upscale, hard to get into night club, owned by the old mobster, but managed by Dorian, who claims her as his property. This was Diaz's first movie.

Because of the mask, Stanley finds himself in the difficult position of having both the nasty Dorian (Peter Greene) and the police, lead by Lieutenant Mitch Kellaway (Peter Riegert), out to trap him, on top of falling in love with Tina. Thank goodness that he has such a smart little dog, Milo!!

The script, by Mark Verheiden, and direction, by Chuck Russell, are very inspiring efforts. Chuck Russell also directed Rodney Dangerfield in "Back to School," so he has had experience directing talented comedians, and successful comedy films. The action scenes are well-paced and very well done.

The film offers a great showcase for Carrey's high energy, rubber face, and contortionist's body. Jerry Lewis would have loved to play this character in his prime, but he wouldn't have been as good. His dancing ability also shines as well. A favorite scene takes place involving Carrey and Cameron Diaz. Transformed into the wild, cartoon like character, Carrey engages in a wild choreographed dance scene with Diaz, as wild, drum accented music.

Carrey's wild brand of humor, adds a lot to the script. His delivery and timing really punches the comedic moments. He really makes the script come alive. An added chuckle are his impersonations of Clark Gable, Sally Field, a western cowboy, just to name some, which are hilarious.

The FX in this film are amazing. Scenes of Jim Carrey transforming into a cartoon character, his eyes flying out of his head, or heart beating hugely through his shirt are incredible. When inspired, this masked character moves and appears to be a green tornado. The FX at the park are terrific also, as the mask character tries to impress Tina, and infuriate Lieutenant Mitch Kellaway.

This movie is rated PG-13. The bad guys are pretty mean and scary, especially the last 30 minutes, when Dorian explodes with evil after putting on the mask. There is one big shoot out in the club, where Dorian viciously machine guns the old mobster, Niko (Orestes Matacena) and his cohorts. Stanley and Milo do wind up rescuing everyone after twists and turns, but it may be too much for children under 13.

If you enjoyed THE MASK, you may like ACE VENTURA: PET DETECTIVE, BATMAN FOREVER, DARK CITY, and/or SUPERMAN.

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