by Philip Murphy
You remember The Mask, don’t you? The 1994 hit starred Jim Carrey as a miserable schmuck who was transformed into a cyclonic cartoon superhero by donning an ancient mask that his dog had dragged home. Well, this time the magical Mask of Loki (played here by Alan Cumming) finds its way to aspiring cartoonist Tim Avery (played by Jamie Kennedy) with traumatic effects for his whole family.
You see, Tim hasn’t felt ready to have children despite his wife Tonya’s ticking biological clock, until he dons the Mask and is shot through with its overpowering energy, which results in the birth of a cute, but “different” baby boy. The fact is the baby has some of the Mask’s DNA, which allows him to contort himself into more outlandish configurations than Wile E. Coyote crossed with a balloon sculpture. And when the Mask goes on Tim, not to mention his dog, the fur really starts to fly!
Jamie Kennedy is no stranger to comedy, being the creator and star of his own sketch comedy show, The Jamie Kennedy Experiment, as well as having starred in such gruesome/comic hits as Scream and Scream 2, Bowfinger, and Malibu’s Most Wanted. But it was clear from a conversation we had prior to Christmas that Jamie knew this role was going to be a bit of a stretch for him.
“It was different and similar at the same time,” he says in a voice that is remarkably similar to the young Jerry Lewis’. “I was comfortable with the comedy, but there were all these special effects, and it was a sequel of a hit that starred Jim Carrey, and I would be dealing with a baby and a dog, which are all things you’re supposed to avoid,” he laughs. “I was scared initially. I mean following in Jim Carrey’s footsteps …” he trails off.
“But then I realized that the Mask came out 10 years ago, and there’s a whole other generation of kids who haven’t seen that,” Kennedy continues. “And then I actually got to meet Jim Carrey, and he was 100 percent supportive, and just urged me to do my own thing. He couldn’t have been nicer, so that helped take some pressure off.”
“In fact, I’m not really playing the Mask all that much. I’m more playing the father of the Mask, so I’m not doing Jim Carrey anyway,” Kennedy concludes with some relief.
Son of the Mask is rated PG for “action, crude and suggestive humor, and language.” The film has a lot of frenetic action that may be scary for young children, so it is probably not appropriate for kids under 8. It will be in theaters beginning Feb. 18.
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Philip Murphy covers family-oriented films for United Parenting Publications.
by Philip Murphy