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ReelTalk Movie Reviews
The Bad Seed
by Adam Hakari

For a successful comedy, timing is everything. That's why waiting eleven years to make Son of the Mask, a sequel to The Mask, was a big mistake, at least in my book. If you saw the Jim Carrey blockbuster, you probably remember the title object was a mysterious artifact which transforms any soul who dons it into a green-faced flurry of slick personality and every cartoon effect in the book. In this disappointing second outing, Loki (Alan Cumming), the Norse god of mischief and the being responsible for unleashing the mask in our world, has been ordered by chief god Odin (Bob Hoskins) to bring back his creation before it causes more mayhem.

Loki will have to work fast, though, because the mask has found a new home with Tim Avery (Jamie Kennedy), shy guy and budding cartoonist, and his wife (Traylor Howard). While wearing the mask one fateful Halloween night, the powers apparently lasted well into a hop in the sack with his wife, as nine months later, Baby Alvey is born -- himself possessing all of the mask's goofball powers. As if raising a kid wasn't frightening enough, taking care of an infant who's literally bouncing off the walls and re-enacting the greatest hits of Looney Tunes is making Tim go nuts, not to mention causing a jealous dog to wear the mask and declare war on the new addition of the Avery household.

After the Dumb and Dumberer disaster, you'd think studio execs would've wised up about making follow-ups to Jim Carrey movies without Carrey in them. But for some puzzling and inexplicable reason, they went ahead with Son of the Mask, a rotten sequel that's too much, too late. Whereas The Mask had a dark, yet goofy, edge enhanced by Carrey's own comedic talents, Son of the Mask tries to compensate for its sheer lack of purpose by going over the top in every department, transforming the movie into a pinball machine with the audience trapped inside -- praying for someone to get a tilt. 

There's no reason why Son of the Mask needed to be made, and I'm confused concerning why so many actors and crew members who've been part of wonderful projects in the past agreed to be involved in this project. New Line Cinema? That's the company responsible for the Lord of the Rings trilogy, one of the most ambitious and successful film franchises in years! Alan Cumming? He's one of the most versatile actors out there and, not too long ago, did a great job playing Nightcrawler in X2! Jamie Kennedy? Well, okay, so I might've expected the dude from Malibu's Most Wanted to take part in something like this. 

Upon reflection, maybe Son of the Mask was overdone deliberately in order to hide the cast's collective embarrassment. The overly flashy and flamboyant special effects -- from the piles of makeup rendering Bob Hoskins unrecognizable as Odin (and when a guy who's been in Super Mario Bros. is trying to disguise himself, you know something terrible must be going on) to the awful Baby Alvey (looking like the "Ally McBeal" baby on amphetamines) -- may distract some viewers and focus their attention on how hideously overblown the rest of the film is instead of on the performances. However, I think the actors are as much to blame for Son of the Mask's immense failure as those headache-inducing special effects. Kennedy is no Carrey; Cumming appears bored throughout; Hoskins simply tries to hide inside his make-up; and Howard fails to register any impact whatsovever. Comedian/actor Steven Wright and Ben Stein (reprising his character from The Mask) chip in cameo appearances, but both of their monotone personalities make it difficult to tell whether they're acting or just as bored with the movie as the viewers are.

Part unnecessary sequel and part cinematic wrecking ball, Son of the Mask is a dreadful excuse of a movie. I saw it for free, and I still want my money back. 

MY RATING: no stars (out of ****)

(Released by New Line Cinema and rated "PG" for action, crude and suggestive humor and language. )

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