Entering what I like to call the DVD basement of my local CEX, I saw the rubbery face of Jim Carrey staring back at me. But this rubbery face was stretched into a menacing grin, with sinister eyes stuck on his face, nothing like the usually silly and likeable rubbery face that many of us grew up during Carrey’s career. Above the face rested a large and striking white sticker marked a measly 75p. Peeling back the sticker reveals The Cable Guy, the 1998 dark comedy directed by Ben Stiller which many believed to have almost killed Carrey’s career. No wonder then, in this second hand shop, the film had been priced at a measly 75p. Ever a fan of Jim Carry, I figured I had little to lose and decided to see if this film was as bad as reputation suggested.
A lot of this may be down to the bad reputation the film received, but The Cable Guy really surprised me and I really enjoyed it. Some of you may be thinking I enjoyed it like I enjoy so bad their good films like The Room, but I genuinely enjoyed this film, laughing with it not at it. You’d expect a film starring Jim Carrey and Matthew Broderick to fall into the now all too familiar buddy-comedy, or bromance genre. To an extent this film is a buddy movie. Jim Carrey plays the titular cable guy Ernie “Chip” Douglas who is bribed by the recently single Steve (Broderick) to get free cable channels. Chip accepts, but also on the condition that he and Steve hang out. What happens is Steve’s worst nightmare as Chip becomes the obsessive and creepy friend that we have all dealt with at one point in our lives. That one “friend” that you don’t really like, yet he never gets the message and continues to constantly leech on to you and your group of friends bringing with him a whole host of awkwardness and uncomfortable situations.
This was a very different role for Carrey to play; it was dark, creepy and at times downright sinister. It was a complete change in tone to most of the films he was famous for, and I guess that’s why audiences weren’t so accepting of it. For me though, I really enjoyed his performance. The character of the obsessive and un-wanted friend was played over the top, just tipping on the point of annoyance.
The film combines the sinister with the hilarious, an example is the scene where Chip phones Steve and a spider scuttles, almost unnoticed across his face. The sinister elements are played, mainly by Carrey, over the top and that is where the humour derives. It also comes from the contrast of Carrey’s character against Broderick’s who plays Steve as the kind of person I imagine many of us acted like when we faced against our unwanted “friend.” Broderick’s performance as the hapless Steve is also very likeable and enjoyable to watch, which was also a nice surprise for me as I often despise the past performances I have seen of Broderick’s.
Seeing as we’re now part of a movie world where every single form of the buddy-comedy movie has been done to death, it was refreshing for me to see a different take on it, it’s also refreshing to see Jim Carry take his physical humour and completely throw himself into something different and daring. I often find Matthew Broderick to be bland and more wooden then an IKEA warehouse is actually very likeable and believable against the dark and over the top humour the film builds itself on. It’s not the best comedy in the world, by far, and I can see why audiences didn’t really take to the film upon release. Yet, for an insultingly low price, this was a real treat to watch and I would recommend you look out for it on the shelves of your local second hand shop.
David ParkerPin It