Me, Myself & Irene
Directed by The Farrelly Brothers (Peter and Bobby)
Review by Matt Heffernan
Finally, we come to the final chapter of this year's World Cinema Name Game. First, it was Where the Money Is vs. Where the Heart Is. Second was East Is East vs. East-West. Now, the Farrelly Brothers and Jim Carrey are certain to make the Australian import Me Myself I a distant, faded memory.
The team for Dumb and Dumber are back (sans Jeff Daniels) to tell the story of one Rhode Island state policeman named Charlie (Carrey). He's an easy-going guy, taking a divorce in stride, even though he's left with three sons which are obviously not his. The citizens of his jurisdiction offer him no respect, but he can only let it slide for so long. One day he finally snaps, taking on the identity of Hank, a Clint Eastwood-type tough guy that goes on a vindictive rampage across the state. Eventually, he becomes Charlie again, and is prescribed drugs to control his new mental disorder.
The police want to fire him, but they put him on one last job. He has to escort a suspect named Irene (Renée Zellweger) to Massena, NY, and hand her over to the local authorities. She is then questioned by EPA agents in a motel room, but somebody breaks in and kills the agents and Irene runs to find Charlie. She hurries him back onto the road, and he leaves his medicine behind. Now, Charlie is a murder and kidnapping suspect who has to contend with a re-emerging violent personality.
If you are looking for the plot to make sense, you are surely at the wrong movie. Me, Myself & Irene is a very simple comedy that doesn't even care about character motivations. What is important is to get the biggest laugh, which is successfully obtained with pleasing regularity. Some mental health groups have objected to the film making fun of schizophrenics, even without see it for themselves. I guess they don't have much of a sense of humor; you'd have to be crazy not to laugh.
Don't expect the same level of mounting hilarity found in There's Something About Mary, either. The plot complications themselves are not funny. It's Carrey's performance that generates the real comedy, with Zellweger providing the typical straight-woman/romantic-foil role. Chris Cooper, making his follow-up to American Beauty, plays a crooked cop who has something to gain for killing off Irene, but, for the purpose of the film, he's just an obligatory bad guy. I have a feeling that this film was originally longer, explaining exactly what his deal was and why the EPA was involved, but anything that focused away from Carrey for too long was cut.
That's OK. I don't need to understand a film to enjoy it. That's why I still prefer the original Mission: Impossible film -- forget the pedantic explanations and get on with the entertainment.
For more information, go to the Internet Movie Database:
Me, Myself & Irene (2000)
Video Pick of the Week
Guide to Star Ratings
Review © 2000 Matt Heffernan