Me, Myself & Irene marks Jim Carrey's return to the kind of comedy that catapulted him to stardom, and makes for a nice change from his recent high-brow efforts such as The Truman Show and Man on the Moon.
Charlie Baileygates (Carrey) is a nice guy working as a trooper for the greatest law enforcement agency in the world, The Rhode Island State Police. Ever since his wife left him for their black midget 1 Shonte (Tony Cox), with three sons who are clearly not his children, he has been suppressing his emotions and letting people walk all over him. On one such occasion, where a little girl tells him off, he snaps and his repressed side, by the name of Hank, takes over.
Hank's efforts at teaching the girl a lesson in manners, giving the Got Milk? commercials a new perspective, and doing his friends a favour by parking a car in their store are unappreciated. Charley (Hank) is soon placed on medication for his split personality disorder.
Of course, the adventure doesn't end there. Charlie must transport Irene P. Waters (Renee Zellweger), who is apparently involved in a hit-and-run case, to New York. Unknown to Charlie, Irene is actually sought after by the FBI for her knowledge of Dickie Thurman (Daniel Greene), who is connected to organised crime. Not only must Charlie battle an organised crime boss and crooked cops in his payroll, but also his alter-ego, Hank (who shows up soon after Charlie forgets his medication).
Like with many other films of this ilk, the plot is a showcase for Carrey and his supporting cast to flaunt their comedic skills. The Farrelly brothers who directed the film are known for pushing the envelope in films like Dumb and Dumber, and There's Something About Mary. However, while it may come close, this movie doesn't rise (sink?) to that level even though it does have a lot of good (extended) gags, particularly the one involving a cow that refuses to die.
The film is one of those rare occasions where Carrey's co-stars get to share significantly in the limelight, and sometimes even overshadow him. This occurs with the Tony Cox character attacking Carrey at the beginning of the film with Nun Chaks; Michael Bowman playing an albino named Whitey with a penchant for killing; and the stereotype-breaking antics of his three genius sons, played by Anthony Anderson, Mongo Brownlee, and Jerod Mixon. Carrey himself does a fine job, particularly when he switches back and forth between Charlie and Hank.
My favourite Jim Carrey movies are The Cable Guy and The Mask, and I really look forward to seeing him play the Grinch this Thanksgiving. However, even among the "comedies" that he's done, this is clearly not his best. Although it follows the vein of subtle transition that he's tried to make over the years (i.e., imbue his films with an endearing quality, as in Liar, Liar), the Farrelly brothers let him down with their vision which doesn't always succeed. Still, it's worth the matinee fare.