Sunday, August 11, 2013

Son of the Mask (2005) DVD Double Feature

Rating:  -1 out of 5 creepy babies doing stupid stuff

Plot Synopsis:  I don’t know, good luck with that.  It’s the sequel everyone asked for but no one wanted 11 years after the first movie and 6 years after everyone stopped asking.

The Good:

-The establishing shot of Edge City looks great.

-They do a good job establishing Loki and The Mask.  It is no doubt ham handed and forced in but it at least tells you everything you need to know right at the start.

-Loki in his Mask form is pretty cool.

-Full disclosure, I have a crush on Traylor Howard so I’m glad to see her here and I think she does a good job with what she has.  But she has next to nothing to work with.

-Bob Hoskins is here as Odin and holy shit did he show up to work.  His role as Odin is pretty small but he manages to pull a lot out of the character and the make-up is actually pretty good.

-Speaking of people who showed up to work Alan Cumming does really good job as Loki.  It’s almost like he and Hoskins are actual “actors” who take “acting” seriously and approach any “job” as a “professional” and put in “effort”.  Why, I’ve never heard of such a thing.

-I like the look of Kennedy’s Mask form.  It’s really well done, it’s a different feel from the original.  There’s enough of the original mask (similar angular exaggerated features) while being different enough to be unique to Kennedy (such as the chin and hair).  Although he does look like an unholy combination of Jay Leno and Conan O’brien.

-The painfully extended dance sequence is the first time Kennedy has shown any personality and energy.  If the movie had more of Kennedy as the Mask (but less singing and dancing) then the movie would have probably been more tolerable.

-The practical effects and make-up are actually pretty good.

-The Mask form of the dog is pretty well done.

-The only redeemable parts of this movie are Cumming, Hoskins and Kennedy’s Mask form, however none of those 3 things are shown enough.

-Loki casually shoves a guy’s head into the pavement creating a massive hole in the sidewalk.  It’s the most badass thing ever.  I wish Avengers Loki did that.

-Cummings as Loki has attitude, he has personality and he has swagger.  The little cartoon touches make him more menacing.  This movie could have been pretty awesome if it was The Mask vs. Loki.  Someone who gets The Mask, learns how to use it really well and then fights a Loki who wants the Mask to consolidate his power and become ruler of the world.  That took me 3 minutes and would have resulted in a better PG-13 movie.

-The fight between Loki and Kennedy’s Mask form is actually pretty cool but it’s too short and should have been a bigger part of the film.

The Bad:

-Looks like Ben Stein is the only one who could be arsed to come back.

-“They have rhythm, they had music, but they didn’t have knives or spears so they died.”  It’s kind of funny but mostly stupid.

-Fuck you yokel.

-Does Jamie Kennedy’s character even understand how babies work?  Has he had sex?

-I don’t think Jamie Kennedy is trying here.  Or maybe he is trying, maybe he’s trying really, really hard but he’s just not a good actor.  He’s whiney, self-absorbed, emotionally flat and unfunny.  Maybe that’s how the character was written but Kennedy looks like he’s collecting a paycheck and little else.  The character has no life, no spark and no ambition even when he emotes there’s nothing behind it, like a soulless robot construct taught to mimic hu-man facial expression.  His main personality trait is mugging to the camera.  I don’t think there is a single line that isn’t wined out of his big goofy mouth while his eyes roll in his heavy lidded, slack jawed face.

-Kennedy plays videogames like a fucking goon.

-Why is Kennedy making out with his dog and not his hot wife?  Why is Kennedy doing anything when he could be doing stuff with his hot wife?  When I say stuff I mostly mean sex.

-I hate seeing Kal Penn being the token Indian with a stereotype accent.  He is either not trying with the accent or he’s trying to downplay it to make it less of a caricature but I know Kal Penn can do better than this.

-There is nothing charming or likeable about Kennedy’s character.  Every scene makes me wish his character were dead and because he’s not actually playing much of a character it makes me think I want Kennedy dead, which I don’t, at least not consciously, but all this anger at this poorly written piece of human garbage can’t help but be projected at the man himself.

-There is a protracted song and dance sequence that is not that fun.  It’s flashy and it provides The Mask a couple of different persona changes, which are interesting, but mostly pointless.  I couldn’t wait for it to be over.

-Why is Otis back?  How did Kennedy get Otis?  Where is Carrey’s character?  Were they friends? (EDIT: While going back through this review I realized that Ipkiss' dog was named Milo.  So they are Milo and Otis, which is actually a little clever and subtle.  So kudos for that but those last questions are still valid)

-What’s the point of this story?  What’s the plot?  There’s a little bit of conflict but it’s a sort of aimless, unrelated conflict.  Nothing makes sense when related to each other, there’s no coherency in the plot.  It’s just an excuse for gags and CG.

-Why is a cartoonist so totally devoid of creativity?  His lack of creativity is a running plot thread in the middle of the movie.  They show him drawing things, he makes a flip book as an apology, and he says he’s been trying to make it work as a cartoonist for a number of years but he can’t put together a pitch for a show?  They make being a cartoonist his one defining trait (making that flipbook is the only thing he’s done that could be considered character building) and show how he uses that to express himself and then it’s just removed arbitrarily to forward the nonsense plot.

-How fucking stupid is Kennedy’s character that he basically nearly shiv’s his infant son in the face with a broken lamp because he thinks it’s a bottle?

-This movie feels endless, nothing is happening even though the camera is moving constantly and there is activity I feel like each scene is just killing time until it gets to the next set piece designed to tell a “joke” or “showcase” the CG.

-Why do the dog and baby hate each other?  Why does the baby hate Kennedy?  I hate Kennedy so it makes sense but I hate Kennedy because I’m watching this movie and his character is terrible and can’t carry a feature film the way this film is written.


-Kennedy gets hit against the floor by his son and for a moment looks terrified before closing his eyes and acting unconscious.  I hate that, just hit the floor unconscious.  You are a human not a cartoon so the level of violence you’re being subjected to should just be overwhelming.  You should be dead not having a moment of scared realization before falling into unconsciousness.

-Why is this movie about the god damn (Batman) baby?  Why did you have to make it about the baby?  Why not make Mask Strikes Back?  Why not make a totally original Mask movie about… you know… The fucking Mask?  I would have taken a porn parody called The Fucking Mask over this.  At least with that I’d feel less guilty about masturbating to it.

-We get it, the baby and the dog don’t like each other.  Do we need all this bullshit of the baby one upping the dog on cartoon violence?

-We are well into this movie, contextually they’ve had this baby for months and there is a diaper changing 
sequence.  It’s filled with the usual stupid pee jokes but also has Kennedy’s character never changed the fucking baby before?  He’s supposedly had this kid to himself for several days and this is the first diaper change?  The kid has been sitting in a dirty diaper for days?  Where the fuck is child social services?  Why would you leave your kid with this total, useless incompetent asshole?


-So Loki loses his “Immortal Power” and then gets crushed by 2 garbage dumpsters and survives.  Shouldn’t that kill a person with no “Immortal Power”?

-The main character is such a total idiot shit bag.  Why am I watching a movie with this as my main protagonist?

-When the dogs kiss I’m pretty sure they fed one of the dogs a meat snack while CG’ing the other dog over it.

-I think Loki is about to molest that baby when he propositions a game of “Super Twister”.  All that’s missing is an unfinished basement or a dirty, windowless van.

-The end of the movie show’s Kennedy’s character pitching a show where a dog and a baby compete, with cartoon violence, over their father’s attention.  They basically use it as a platform to pat themselves on the back for coming up with the plot of the movie we just saw.  You know what?  Fuck you.

-The end reveals that Traylor is pregnant with another kid.  What is this unpowered kid going to do when he comes up against his super powered older brother?  Or is this kid super powered as well?  Did Kennedy fuck Traylor on their way to the final fight?  Why is the Mask such a powerful aphrodisiac?  Then the baby winks at the camera.  Why does the baby wink?  Did the baby impregnate Traylor Howards character?  What the fuck is happening?

The Ugly:

-The first CG effect is terrible.  Ben Stein loses his face and it looks awful.  Also terrifying, but not in a good 

-They love the wide angle lens close ups.  It gets kind of overwhelming.

-The CG ranges from okay to terrible.  From what I know about CG from the people that do CG is that you need Talent/Time/Money to create good CG.  Skimp on any one of those 3 and you get varying degrees of bad CG.


-No seriously, that baby is terrifying.  It’s the most hideous thing ever.

Final Thoughts:  This movie is barely about The Mask.  The sequences in it would have been better served as a Roger Rabbit style opening cartoon short to an actual Mask movie, assuming you want to keep with the previous PG style Mask and not the badass, violent, definitely R rated comic Mask.  Nothing happens in this movie, there’s no growth that isn’t totally cliché and forced, there’s no actual conflict (other than Loki and Odin’s relationship) that isn’t totally manufactured and pointless and there is no real theme or coherent plot.  It’s the worst kind of story, a story where shit just happens with no rhyme or reason it’s just “Here’s a CG baby and here’s a CG dog and oh oh they don’t like each other.  Here’s a pee joke and here’s a puke joke and here’s a snot joke, aren’t they all funny?”

            I will admit that I am not the target audience for this movie.  I don’t know, maybe this movie would play great for kids, it’s certainly designed for that.  A movie with no plot or characterization, a movie where shit just happens is perfect for a kid.  It’s a movie where they can get up, be distracted by something else for 10 minutes, come back and know exactly what’s happening (poo jokes and nothing).  It’s perfect, really, for anyone that doesn’t want to or can’t think about or is distracted by complex concepts such as “character growth” or “characterization” or “plot”.  Someone who just wants a series of lame jokes and cartoon violence with some padding to make it a “movie”.  But some of the references, plot elements, the violence and the, at times, downright frightening visuals, would put this out of the reach of most children.  In my opinion.  I should note that I’m a career bachelor who spend a lot of time around kids.  Maybe kids can handle that stuff.  I know as a kid I certainly consumed my fair share of media designed to be above me and while I enjoyed it I didn’t always really understand the messages on the content until re-experiencing it much later.  So does that make the messages and content unimportant?  That concept is too complex, I think, to be contained in the review for the Son of the Mask.  All I know is if I had a kid, I wouldn’t show them this.  I’d wait until they were older and show them the original Mask.

            I was intrigued by this movie mostly because it is the central premise of the Jamie Kennedy documentary “Heckler”.  The conceit of that documentary mostly revolves around the panning by critics of this movie and Kennedy’s personal reaction to it.  At one point in the documentary Kennedy confronts a series of critics about their hatred of the movie.  One of the critics asks Kennedy and I’m paraphrasing here “What’s the point of the movie?” and Kennedy responds with something along the lines of “To see what it’s like when you give a baby powers and to see a baby do all kinds of crazy things.”  That is a shitty premise for a movie, that’s an even shittier premise for a Mask movie.  If that is the core of your story, unless you are an exceptionally talented writer, you have nothing solid on which to build something compelling or even interesting on an abstract level beyond a 10 minute cartoon (where you can get away with ignoring all functional elements of storytelling).  You add in a lead actor who seems totally disinterested in being there then fill the supporting cast with people that can actually act you have this weird imbalance that throws off everything.

            I don’t recommend this movie, at all, in the slightest.  There are a few redeeming qualities to the experience but mostly it’s dreck, pure dreck and not worth your time.  At some point I may create a “best of” to showcase those good moments so you can experience that without have to subject yourself to the rest of the movie and the scenes will lose nothing without context because they essentially exist without context already.  The biggest shame is that you have some really solid performances by a few really talented people and it’s just all dragged down into hell by the weak premise, the incoherent plot, the non-existent characterization and the mostly substandard CG.  Then the conclusion of the movie where they sum up the premise of the movie and compliment it is just the final and most blatant fuck you of the whole movie.  You just spent 94 minutes observing why a baby and dog fighting for attention is stupid and they have to nerve to say it has “spark” and imply that it is ingenious.  It’s none of those things.

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