There’s Something Wrong With Charlie

[Contains busted soda-dispensers and SPOILERS!!!]

The third and final flick in my impromptu Farrelly Brothers fest is Me, Myself & Irene (2000), starring Jim Carrey as ‘Charlie Baileygates’, a long-serving Rhode Island State Trooper suffering from a split-personality disorder, who is charged with escorting an alleged hit-and-run-driver back to the town where her crime supposedly occured… only to discover that his ward is actually the victim of a criminal conspiracy, and marked for death! Oh noes!

Renée Zellweger as ‘Irene P. Waters’ in “Me, Myself & Irene”To be honest the creaky crooked-cops plotline is the least interesting thing about this movie… the real USP is seeing Carrey switch back and forth between his character’s two disparate personalities, well-meaning pushover Charlie and aggressive extrovert “Hank”. Personally, I would have preferred it if Hank were more of a serious bad-ass, rather than just a flailing pervert, because I think that would set up a more interesting conflict and contrast between them… but Carrey is such a brilliant physical comedian, I enjoyed watching his performance in both modes, regardless of my own petty gripes. Apparently he also adlibbed most of Hank’s colourful tough-guy dialogue, so kudos for that! Meanwhile, Renée Zellweger’s innate adorability seemed strangely muted here in the straight-woman/love-interest role… and I never really got a handle on what her character was supposed to be. I mean, she had kick-ass fighting skills and independent spirit and all of that good stuff that I normally cheer for, but she still didn’t make much of an impression… possibly because Carrey was improvising his ass off, and stealing all the scenes from her? Weirdly, it takes almost twenty minutes for the Farrellys to acknowledge Zellweger’s existence on the commentary track, because they’re so busy pointing out all of the friends and relatives who appeared as extras in her early scenes… but when they do finally remember her, they’re full of love and praise for their leading lady’s acting talent and athleticism, as well as her off-screen “heart and soul”. There’s even a sweet “behind the scenes” featurette, in which she’s presented with a cake and a clapper-board (as a wrap gift?), and honoured for her contribution to the movie. Bless.

Traylor Howard as ‘Layla Baileygates’ in “Me, Myself & Irene”The film-makers are also full of admiration for their supporting actresses, such as: Traylor Howard, who plays Charlie’s cheating ex-wife ‘Layla’ in an extended flashback explaining the origin of his suppressed rage… Heather Hodder, who plays the ‘Jump Rope Girl’ who swears at Charlie, before being dunked in a freezing cold fountain by Hank… and Shannon Whirry, who plays the breast-feeding mother Hank starts suckling on, and was apparently a great sport during the filming of the scene.

For the record, I thought this movie was a lot funnier than Hal, but not as effecting or effective as Mary… either way, I doubt I’ll bother hanging onto the boxset now that I’ve watched all three.

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About Dee CrowSeer

A comic book writer with an interest in feminism, philosophy, and affirmative action.
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