Jim Carrey-underrated actor?
I’ve been meaning to write a post along these lines for a while, and with A Christmas Carol making Jim Carey a hot topic at the moment I thought I’d finally get on with it.
Most of the world know Jim Carrey for his “rubber-faced” antics (I swear that term was invented to describe him) and his over the top form of comedy which makes him a definite love-hate figure for a lot of people. Whether or not his particular style of comedy appeals to you, (and I’m slightly ashamed to say it does to me) you have to admit, he’s good at what he does. What interests me is that there tend to be moments in his films which belie a more serious talent behind all the funny voices and flailing limbs. I’m wondering if I’m the only one who thinks that maybe, just maybe, Jim Carrey is actually a pretty good actor.
My main evidence for this is The Truman Show. Carrey’s role is pretty serious throughout, with only a couple of his trademark gags. The rest of the performance is a really sincere portrayal of a man discovering everything in his world is a fabrication. I don’t want to ruin the movie for those who haven’t seen it (and I highly recommend you do) but the final scene in the boat is really well performed, and very held back for someone who is so renowned for being off the wall and out of control. In the gag reel to Liar Liar he picks up on his tendency to over-act, but it seems to me that the Jim Carrey we know is just part of the character, and if he’d chosen a different path, we might just know him as another good actor.
In recent years, it does seem that Carrey is trying to be taken more seriously, with films like Eternal Sunshine, which again is a very straight role for someone like him. He’s not always gone down well (The Number 23-oops) and he seems to be kind of stuck in this stereotype he’s created for himself. Perhaps that’s why he’s taken on a lot of voice over work recently, with Horton Hears a Who and A Christmas Carol.
I’m not saying Jim Carrey is one of the best actors of his generation, but I do think that people tend to overlook him because they think of him as a clown rather than an actor. I think films like Truman and Eternal Sunshine show that actually, he is a better actor than most give him credit for.