Me, Myself and Irene

Me, Myself and IreneSynopsis: It’s not unusual for two men to be in love with the same woman unless it’s the same man.

Jim Carrey delivers a hysterical performance in this “fall-down, flat-out, irresistibly deranged movie” (Rolling Stone). Rhode Island state trooper Charlie Baileygates (Jim Carrey) proves that nice guys finish first after marrying the prettiest gal in town. But when she leaves him for another man, Charlie develops a split personality and his outrageous opposite, Hank, is born! Hank’s got a filthy mouth, a bad attitude and a short fuse. When Charlie falls crazy in love with the beautiful but wanted Irene, he must wage war – with himself – for the confused Irene’s affections.

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Me, Myself and Irene 7.75

eyelights: Jim Carrey’s tour de force dual performance. the absurd and transgressive humour.
eyesores: Renee Zellweger.

“He may have advanced delusionary schizophrenia with involuntary narcissistic rage. But he is a very gentle person!”

The Farelly Brothers’ motion picture ‘Me, Myself and Irene’ is a comedy that tells the story of Charlie, a Rhode Island police officer whose personality splits into a meek and an in-your-face duality after years of abuse from his community. Starring Jim Carrey, it was another big hit for the team, who had first partnered up for ‘Dumb and Dumber‘.

Naturally, being the Farellys, the picture is rife with politically incorrect, moronic and/or crude gags, as well as toilet and sex-related humour. Here, however they also delve into a little bit of intellectual humour, in the form of Charlie’s three African-American sons, who look and talk like they’re from the ‘hood, but are in fact intellectuals.

Wait-a-minute! Did I say “African-American”? Yes, I most certainly did.

You see, that’s the source of all of Charlie’s problems: his spouse cheated on him over the years and he simply couldn’t admit it to himself. Instead, he invented all sorts of excuses to explain why his sons looked nothing like him. This led to rampant mockery in his community and, when it was the final straw, Charlie created Hank to back him up.

Unfortunately, Hank is everything that Charlie is not, including being rude, belligerent, moody, unethical, selfish, insensitive, …etc. This causes Charlie all manners of grief because people can’t tell the difference between them, which means that he has to reap the consequences of Hank’s many improper acts – and that includes getting pounded.

In more ways than one.

The many misunderstandings combined with Hank’s outrageous antics are quite hilarious, in part because they’re not commonplace, but also because they express a little bit of wishful thinking in all of us. How many times have people been dicks and you’ve wanted to put them in their place? If you were Hank, you would do it. HARD.

What makes the picture so delicious is Jim Carrey’s dual performance. He’s already stellar at dialing up behaviours to make them comical (simple things like watching Charlie choke on water is hilarious, or his insane version of cottonmouth), but here he has two extreme opposites to play up. The contrast actually enhances each individually.

Not only that, but at one point in the picture, he has a routine wherein he gets off a train and both of his personalities fight; he actually has to switch between them rapidly as he performs. That must have been hard to figure out, let alone to perform, but he pulls it off. Amazing. No one else would. It’s a step beyond the bathroom scene in ‘Liar Liar‘.

To think that the original movie was supposed to star Woody Allen. I still remember hearing that he was due to be in the next Farelly Brothers film. I was only just discovering the legend at the time, but already this seemed like an ill-fit to me; his few attempts at physical comedy were hardly convincing. Still, I would have been curious to see it.

No matter how unusual a mix that would have been, it certainly couldn’t possibly be any worse than having Renée Zellweger as a co-star to Jim Carrey. Seriously. I’m no great fan of the “actress” to start with, finding that she’s more akin to a Novocained little girl play-acting than an actress proper, but next to Carrey she looks Tasered.

She plays the part of a woman who has been arrested under questionable circumstances and needs to be escorted from Rhode Island to another state. Given all the turmoil surrounding Charlie of late, his boss picks him to do the job. So they go off on a road trip together, getting into all sorts of misadventures thanks to Hank and her shady ex.

Frankly, it’s not so much the gags that make the movie, it’s the obscene way they’re delivered. A perfect example is when his neighbour takes his newspaper and suggests Charlie get another at work, and has his dog dump on his lawn right in front of him. So when Hank emerges, imagine what he does to get revenge on Charlie’s neighbour!!!

Heck, even putting down a cow becomes ridiculous in the Farellys’ hands. Or going to the bathroom after a night of sex (Why is that one of the things I remember most about the picture? Because of the delivery). Another I adore is Charlie’s interactions with his growing sons; it’s totally incongruous, but it endearing and funny at once.

‘Me, Myself and Irene’ is no masterpiece, that’s a given. But it’s actually got its fair share of terrific laughs and a few moments of cleverness. The key issues are the thin plot on which the gags are suspended and some of the unfortunate casting decisions. But it’s particularly notable for Jim Carrey doing double duty in a standout comic performance.

Forget Irene. Me and Myself are worth seeing.

Date of viewing: June 21, 2015

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