The Majestic

Directed by Frank Darabont
Starring: Jim Carrey, Martin Landau, Laurie Holden.
MPAA Rating: PG for language and mild thematic elements.

Review by Matt Heffernan <matt@filmhead.com>
February 14, 2002

Well, it's Valentine's Day, and here's a review for a film that I saw the week of Christmas. Like so many other things, this review was a victim of procrastination to the point of absurdity. But as I've said before, the mediocre films are the hardest to write about, and Frank Darabont's The Majestic is no exception.

Jim Carrey stars as a Hollywood screenwriter who gets implicated as a communist sympathizer in the 1950s. In actuality, he just went to a meeting as a young man because a girl he liked used to hang out with a left-leaning crowd. Before his career can even get started, it's over, and he hits the road to run away from Los Angeles and his impending hearing. To avoid a small animal, he runs his car off a bridge and loses his memory. A local from a small California town rescues him and thinks he looks familiar. He is introduced to another local (Martin Landau), who is convinced that Carrey is his son who supposedly died in combat. Then they resurrect an old movie theatre and "reunite" with the lost son's fiancée (Laurie Holden).

For some reason, the director thought it would be a good idea to make a Frank Capra movie instead of just another Frank Darabont film. I personally didn't see what was wrong with The Shawshank Redemption or The Green Mile, other than the fact that they were both based on Stephen King prison stories. If this is his idea of going in a new direction, he is sadly mistaken. The Majestic is third-rate Capra at best and Jim Carrey is a poor substitute for Jimmy Stewart.

The film is just too sappy and old-fashioned to be taken seriously, and not funny enough to enjoy. The last-minute attempts at invoking patriotism fail as well, despite what certain critics may say. If you want to see a great American film, check out In the Bedroom. Just because our country is in crisis doesn't mean that shameless flag-waving is any less cliché. Yes, McCarthyism was bad, but it's over and we can move on.

As for the memory of Capra, it has yet another hardship to face. I just learned that Adam Sandler is starring in a remake of Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, due this summer. I have a feeling that Sandler's version of Gary Cooper will be on par with Carrey's Stewart. God bless America; we're going to need all the help we can get to carry on.


For more information, go to the Internet Movie Database:
The Majestic (2001)

Here's some merchandise for sale at Amazon.com
The Majestic: Soundtrack -- Compact Disc


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Review © 2002 Matt Heffernan