The Cable Guy

I bet many people who see The Cable Guy will be shocked at the theme and content of Jim Carrey's latest venture. His presence almost certainly guarantees that this movie will be another box office hit like his previous efforts, but this time it's for different reasons: Jim Carrey's in a movie that is extremely insightful and symbolic, and actually showcases his acting abilities.

Yes, you heard that right. "Insightful and symbolic" and "Jim Carrey" in the same sentence. How this came to be I do not know, but Carrey has made a wise marketing move with his decision to act in this movie, and has acquired respect, in my eyes, as an actor with enormous talent. This is something I already suspected, but while there's a certain genius in movies like Dumb and Dumber and Ace Ventura, his antics, funny though they were, for the most part masked whatever other talents he might've had. In this dark comedy, Carrey's full talents are exploited to the hilt (his karaoke rendition of Jefferson Airplane's Somebody to Love is a classic).

Carrey stars as Ernie "Chip" Douglas, a supposed employee of The Cable Company. His protagonist, Steven Kovacs (Matthew Broderick) is a Joe Average kind of guy who's going through the relationship blues with his girlfriend Robin Harris (Leslie Mann). Steven has a new apartment (a consequence of the relationship problems) and has called The Cable Company to get his TV in proper working order (what better cure for loneliness?). Enter Chip, with a prominent lisp, who not only fixes Steven's TV, but attempts to do the same with everything else in Steven's life. The result is a funny, dark, and a highly philosophical telling statement about alienation and our dependence on the idiot box.

There are many interesting sub-themes that I think are deep in this movie, and I am not sure whether they are all intentional. I'm sure many of us have experienced the "annoying friend syndrome" where someone picks you and bugs you persistently (and it's not really their fault---they're just lonely). Many of us have also experienced, either first hand or second hand, the amount of control people give up to television. The audience laughs when they hear Chip say "I am the bastard child of Claire Huxtable", but the movie also tells us that it isn't a laughing matter. These are the two major topics addressed in this movie, but there are others that the movie touches on (the broadcast of a murder trial itself, for example).

Carrey is supported by a strong cast, with some interesting cameos. Fans of his previous movies will not be disappointed: his goofy contortions are still present and parodies of other movies abound. But the major thrill in the movie is in the way the ups and downs of the relationship between the cable guy character and Broderick are handled. It has been rumoured that Jim Carrey no longer wishes to play the fool in his movies and this time he makes a solid effort to move away from his bumbling idiot image. I'd say he's off to a good start with The Cable Guy.

Movie ramblings || Ram Samudrala ||