If you're like me, you became a Jim Carrey fan because of a simple, yet hilarious image: Carrey contorting his face so that his chin falls back, his big buck teeth swarm his bottom lip, his cheek bones become pronounced and his eyes bulge out of his head and all the while he's got cracked-out spirit fingers waving around to the music of his maniacal utterances. That's the Jim Carrey we fell in love with.
However, as his career grew, he mellowed a bit. He even dabbled in dramatic roles, some of which are the best things he's ever done (hello, The Truman Show, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and Man on The Moon) and some of which we'd like to forget (Number 23, GTFO). He's tried his hand a few decent kids movies -- most of which sample a bit of that absurd physical comedy we love so much, but for the most part he's a lot like so many of his characters: all over the place. The one shining example of the marriage of his best qualities is The Truman Show. We laughed, we cried, we felt deeply -- and most importantly, we could see it before turning 13.
Now, it seems Carrey is attempting to recapture the catch-all wonder of The Truman Show with his new movie, Mr. Popper's Penguins. Technically, it falls in the same category, but my concern is that he won't be able to capture that magic again. While Poppers may dot all the i's and cross all the t's on paper, that Carrey magic that worked so well for Truman may be the missing factor that forces the animal-friendly flick to fall short. Now, it all rests on what Carrey does next. If he sits on this, he may as well join the other comedians who've fallen to the Daddy Day Care and Grown Ups routes. If however, he loves his old self as much as we do, he'll stop trying to please everyone all at once and find something with a little more teeth. Or he could always just go back to talking out of his ass.