Jim Carrey-underrated actor?

Posted on November 9, 2009. Filed under: Ramblings, Underrated Actors | Tags: , , , , |

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.

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20 Responses to “Jim Carrey-underrated actor?”

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Carrey can act, youre right. Dumb and Dumber, Eternal Sunshine and The Truman Show all prove this.

Good post, I agree that he is totally overlooked in the acting department. Eternal Sunshine and The Truman Show he was just fantastic. I think your right in saying the Number 23 did not go down very well, I still thought it was a different performance from Carrey.

Lets hope we actually see him back on the big screen soon (in non-animated form).

I can live without his comedy, but do like him in straighter roles. The other one worth mentioning is The Majestic. As for The Number 23, not a very good film but he was good in it.

I definitely agree that Carrey can act, but he does choose to take so many roles that simply require his one note brand of comedy that I am not particularly fond of. He’s a lot like Adam Sandler, it’s clear that the two can act, but finding the roles that prove this amidst a sea of roles that show otherwise isn’t always easy.

Thanks for the comments everyone.

Bill: I think the problem is that when you get known for being able to produce a particular kind of performance people write those kind of roles for you. At the same time, people are less likely to consider you for something completely different, and the audience is more likely to go into the film with preconceptions. It’s kind of a viscious circle. But that’s type casting for you.

I’m of the school that yes, Jim Carrey is indeed an underrated actor who has pigeonholed himself into “Me, Myself and Irene”-type parts way too often. You mentioned “Eternal Sunshine” — my 12th favorite movie of all-time — but I quite liked “The Majestic.” Yeah, it was overblown and a little sappy, but Carrey did some good acting in it. He also did well in “Yes Man,” and you have to respect the dedication he brought to “Man in the Moon.”

I really haven’t seen enough of his more serious movies. Eternal Sunshine didn’t thrill me, but it’s the only one on my miss list I’m willing to move once I see it again.
I really want to see Man in the Moon as it sounds good. I didn’t thin Yes Man looked good, but maybe…

I’m not sold that Adam Sandler can act…so…

Sure Carey has developed that niche for himself, but even those films within the niche – some are enjoyable. I mean, I actually enjoy Liar, Liar [Jennifer Tilly being a part of that]; and even in minimally creative stuff like The Pet Detective he just has a certain quality. Star quality I suppose: though cliched.

Eternal Sunshine is my favourite performance of his.

I agree I love some of Jim Carrey’s films, even though they’re not exactly intellectual. Liar Liar is a great film

I love The Truman Show, I wish Carrey would do more roles like that. I even enjoyed Bruce Almighty when he wasn’t being such a plastic face all the time. I was thinking about Will Ferrell too, as I really enjoyed his more serious and poignant role in Stranger than Fiction, but he seems to gravitate towards more slapstick stuff.

I have got to check out ‘Eternal Sunshine’ already, I know Meredith’s mentioned it a few times.

Yeah I liked Bruce Almighty too, although it gets a bit preachy at times.
Will Ferrell usually annoys the hell out of me but I can see how he’ll fall into the same trap.

I really need to see that film again so that I can see if it does any better second time around. I liked it at first but then the more I thought about it the more plot holes and loose ends I found and I kind of went off it.

Truman show is one of my favourite ever films, really touching performance, and for Carrey to pull it off when many have him so strongly stereotyped deserves extra Kudos.
Man On The Moon is certainly worth a look, there are a lot of parallels between Kaufman and Carrey. Plus Jerry The King Lawlor is in it!
And while I have no interest in Dr Seuss, The Grinch is one of the best Xmas films of all time – brilliant comic performance.
Oh and Me Myself and Irene is comedy gold.
‘Why am I peeing like I was up having sex all last night?’
Carrey FTW!
PS I quite liked The Number 23. Mainly because it was all about spooky numerical coincidences – opening shot is the headstone of a girl who is killed on Feb 3. She has almost the exact same full name as my GF – and Feb 3 is her birthday! She was too scared to watch it after that

Oh yeah I’m totally with you on the Grinch I love that film.
I wasn’t that into Me Myself and Irene, I got halfway thru it and then switched off.

ha ha your poor gf!

In terms of the Oscars, he’s underrated but I think he’s a great actor. The Truman Show and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind proved he had bags of talent, but Man On The Moon should have bagged him an Academy award and sadly it didn’t. Having said that, is he underrated? Not really, he won best actor awards for both The Truman Show and Man On The Moon at the Golden Globes and has been nominated for Screen Actors Guild awards and BAFTAs. His problem has been some of his choices in films – some have been complete rubbish – Fun With Dick and Jane, The Majestic, Bruce Almighty, The Number 23. Others have been massively underrated – not necessarily him as an actor but more the films themselves: The Cable Guy for example, and Man On The Moon is a modern classic which doesn’t always get talked about enough.

In terms of awards you;re probably right, but in the general psyche most people wouldn’t consider him in a list of great actors, and a lot of people think of him more as a comedian than an actor.

I really need to see Man on the Moon.


hi jim cerrey u r so so funny from kayla

Truman Show, Dumb and Dumber, Eternal Sunshine, Ace Ventura. Hell, even Bruce Almighty and Fun with Dick & Jane weren’t that bad. Also The Cable guy and Liar Liar are both good. In my opinion, he’s one of the better and most underlooked actors of all time.

You know what???My favourite actor of all time is Jim Carrey …He os the comedy and and does so much better in the serious movies. My favourite is eternal sunshine… He is no lesser than Johny Depp or Brad Pitt

I think it’s difficult to b a clown rather than being an actor. It’s very difficult to bring smile on others face and to make fun of himself. And Carrey is best in it. He did and can do apart from his stereotype roles. I love his acting.

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