Whatever might be compelling about a Hollywood film that proposes a son reeking revenge on the father who didn’t want him by driving him insane is quickly squashed in this dreadful sequel to The Mask. The first film was disappointing enough, lacking much of the maniacal and bloody lunacy of the original comic, about a mask that transforms its wearer into the indestructible and quite mad Loki, Norse god of mischief. Son of the Mask trades in on the same Looney Tunes antics—Jamie Kennedy’s put-upon father even has the last name Avery in obvious homage to legendary Tex—and then proceeds to make even less of the opportunity than its predecessor. Kennedy plays an immature goofball who longs for success as an animator and finds himself being harangued by his wife to have a baby. When his best friend, the family dog, brings him the mask, he ends up fathering a child while under its devilish influence: hence the birth of the titular star. Next to Kennedy, who is admittedly at times lovably stupid, and his overwhelmingly lackluster performance as the Mask, Jim Carrey’s previous portrayal looks like a work of genius. Everyone seems slightly embarrassed to be in the film and rightfully so because, above all else, the film just isn’t funny. The only thing that might raise a chuckle are, ironically enough, the clips from old cartoons included in the film. Besides a few set pieces with Alan Cumming’s Loki as he searches for the baby, the film is shockingly unimaginative, and even those sequences strain one’s patience. The tame “insanity” of a horrible looking CGI baby combined with a heroically bad script that, rather than trying harder to be funny, actually proposes that the franchise offer something meaningful in terms of parent-child relations, results in a film that is remarkably inept.
I’ve said this before, but it’s something that can’t be stressed enough: it simply isn’t fair for films this bad to look or sound this good.
Something that also can’t be stressed enough is how ridiculous it sounds when directors refuse to acknowledge the ineptitude of their films. During the first five minutes of the commentary track included on this Son of the Mask DVD, director Larry Guterman not only compares the aesthetic of the film’s early scenes to Chuck Jones’s "One Froggy Evening" but differentiates the film from the original by saying "it’s more of an ensemble piece." Less scary are the featurettes, which boast better titles than content: "Paw Prints and Baby Steps: On the Set of Son of the Mask," which focuses heavily on the child and canine actors; "Creating Son of the Mask: Digital Diapers and Dog Bytes," which allows various f/x people to extol the film’s revolutionary effects; and the admittedly adorable "Chow Bella-Hollywood’s Pampered Pooches," which should appeal to fans of Paris Hilton’s Tinkerbell. Rounding things off are lots of deleted/alternate scenes, three art galleries and storyboard sequences, and trailers for lots of weird stuff like Racing Stripes and 1990’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
You mean, that’s the same place they shot the police station in Blade Runner? Well, guess I’m buying this DVD post haste.