This is going to be hard to say, but I’ll say it because it’s the truth: Jim Carrey can act.
Carrey shows restraint as Truman Burbank, a man trapped unknowingly in a live TV broadcast of his life. Discarded as an unwanted baby, he is the first child to be adopted by a corporation. Truman’s life is the center of The Truman Show. The show is the creation of TV director Christof (Ed Harris) who watches over Truman like a father.
A series of events lead Truman to dig deeper into his life, causing him to find out that his life may have been fabricated. His wife, Meryl (Laura Linney), his best friend, Marlon (Noah Emmerich), and his parents – could they all just be actors?
Writer Andrew Niccol (who directed and wrote last year’s Gattacca) takes the idea of a guy stuck in a TV show and runs with it. He makes us think: Could our own lives be fabricated? How much acting do people around us do? And Niccol brings meaning to Shakespeare’s “All the world’s a stage."; in The Truman Show everyone is an actor except for Truman himself.
The Truman Show opens with the line: We’re tired of pyrotechnics and special effects… And we are, let’s have some creativity in Hollywood, let’s have some originality, let’s have a movie that doesn’t rely on computer generated mutated iguanas. The Truman Show delivers on its laughs and it delivers on a well-written story.
I’ve never completely liked Carrey. From his stint on In Living Color to his movies afterwards, I never liked his rubber-faced antics, and sometimes childish-for-shock humor. Lately though, some of his work has been impressive. His “turn to drama” role in Liar Liar was enjoyable. His work in The Mask was fitting. In The Truman Show, Carrey holds off on almost all of his antics - there are still times where they show up - and it works for the best. The Truman Show is a showcase for Carrey, showing that he can do other stuff than the crap that he did in the Pet Detective movies.
Will Carrey ever be a Robin Williams? Maybe, but there is something about Williams that Carrey just does not have. I can’t put my finger on it, but if you also feel the same please let me know.
Director, Peter Weir, should be given a lot of credit for the work he’s done with The Truman Show. The docu-drama look of the film works well and does not become overly distracting. The humor is there and always works – I loved the posters warning about travel in the travel agency office.
For those looking for an all out Jim Carrey comedy, like the Pet Detective films, you’ll be disappointed. The trailers for The Truman Show promote the film wrongly: as a comedy. The Truman Show is more of a satirical look at the wrongs of our society. Unlike most all of Carrey’s old films its a thinking film.
Worth mentioning is the costume design by Marilyn Matthews and the production design by Dennis Gassner. Matthew’s costume design is old yet very new. Complimenting this look are Gassner’s sets which look so modern but incorporate older designs that they are pleasing but not distracting. I loved the look of The Truman Show.
If you avoid Jim Carrey films because of his antics, you might want to see The Truman Show; you’ll be pleasantly surprised. It’s a fun film that is a satire on the way our society stands. If not, just see it because it is a beautiful looking film with some laugh-out-loud moments. I never thought I’d say this about a Jim Carrey film, but: Don’t Miss The Truman Show.
Edited by Cher Johnson.
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