Jim Carrey has had an interesting career. For the most part, he is known as a comedian, as a man who makes slapstick and funny movies. But lately, he has been mentioned as a good actor, earning Golden Globe nominations for his comedy dramas The Truman Show and Man on The Moon. When comedy is involved, the movies usually turn out to be pretty good and pretty popular (with exception to the last movie mentioned). But what will happen when Jim Carrey takes on a drama with little comedy? You'll see in The Majestic, his latest film about a blacklisted screenwriter who suffers amnesia and finds himself mistaken for a young man who was apparently killed in the war.
I've always been a big fan of Carrey. I didn't like Ace Ventura, which marked his emergence as a big name, but I've liked many of his other films, like Dumb and Dumber, Liar Liar, and The Truman Show. He is a talented actor for many reasons, and I feel he can do drama. He has the facial expressions and range of emotions to pull off a dramatic piece without exaggerating any feelings too much. Of course, he has to pick a good movie, too, and The Majestic isn't quite that film.
The biggest problem with The Majestic is its length. The movie is two and a half hours long, and for this kind of a movie, that is just way too long. Hasn't anyone ever heard of editing? Like with any movie, it is never easy, but The Majestic should have been edited down to a two hour piece, no questions asked. The film is just too slow-paced to work as an extra-long film, which should usually be reserved for war films and epics.
As mentioned, The Majestic is slow-paced. Extremely slow-paced. The movie really focuses on dialogue, and the dialogue is well done, but things need to flow quicker than they do. Again, a lot of scenes or parts of scenes could have been cut out to help, but, most of all, the script needed to be reworked. The script has two problems: One, it isn't funny enough, and Two, it tries to hit too many birds with one stone. Even in his dramas, I expect to see Jim Carrey cracking jokes, and I really don't think it is unfair to ask for some. The Majestic is very lacking in jokes, with the exception of a few subtle lines here and there, and that really is a problem. A story like this needs to be entertaining, especially if it is over two hours long. Also, The Majestic is not just about an identity crisis. Carrey's character is also blacklisted and at the end of the film must defend his "patriotism" in a trial. What the hell does this have to do with the rest of the movie? I see a small connection in the underlying theme of the movie, but in terms of plot, The Majestic's last half hour tells a completely different story. I have no interest in seeing Jim Carrey defend his innocence against the government. That's boring, and is unrelated.
As the movie goes on, The Majestic also begins to seem less and less original. In the trial scene, Carrey defends himself by reading one of the most important lines from the U.S. Constitution dealing with free speech. The movie treats this as though he is the first blacklisted person to think of this, which I think is just retarded. Furthermore, the end of the movie is just plagued with those cheesy clapping scenes, in where a whole group of people just applaud Carrey for the hell of it. This happens twice in ten minutes. And his wedding proposal is just lame...
Also, I was very annoyed that The Majestic decides to avoid the father situation altogether when it comes to Carrey's identity crisis. Martin Landau does a good job as Carrey's supposed father, but they kill him off before Carrey's identity is revealed. It would have been more interesting to see how Carrey dealt with his father when the time came to tell the truth. The movie just takes the easy way out.
As for Carrey, he is pretty good, but not great. Where he might have deserved an Oscar nomination for The Truman Show and maybe Man on The Moon, he is just not overpowering here. His character is just too bland.
Jim Carrey has got to face the fact that people see him as a comedian, not as a dramatic actor. Be dramatic - I would love to see him holding an Oscar sometime - but be funny at the same time. It is possible. As for The Majestic, it needs to be funnier, faster, and much shorter, not to mention more focused and less cheesy.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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