Jim Carrey has a fairly diverse filmography but a very distinct comedic style that probably either cracks you up or annoys you. I am certainly in the first camp. He is easily one of my favorite comedic actors and when given the right material has great dramatic chops as well. He’s won 2 Golden Globes and has been nominated a slew of other times. Here are my five favorite roles by Jim Carrey.
5. Ace Ventura - This has to be one of the most memorable characters from movies I watched growing up. It’s definitely one of Carrey’s least mature roles but it never fails to crack me up. There’s also plenty of semi-iconic visuals from this movie, like his tutu wearing scene in the mental hospital in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, climbing out of the fake rhino’s ass, and the fancy dinner scene with the asparagus hanging out of his mouth and Monopoly guy impression in Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls. Out of context, describing all three of those scenes is completely ridiculous but if you like those movies at all you are probably laughing right now.
4. Andy Kaufman - Out of this list, Man on the Moon is the movie I’ve rewatched the least, but that doesn’t change how impressive Carrey is in this biopic. This movie is only comedic because of who he’s playing–it’s really more of a drama about the elusive comedian. Carrey doesn’t rely as much on his usual comedic ticks and mannerisms and completely disappears into the role. This is a perfect movie to see what Carrey can offer in the dramatics while still being the funny guy you know.
3. Chip - In one of Carrey’s most outrageous performances, he plays a bit of a psychopath in The Cable Guy. Apparently this was critically panned which I don’t get at all. I love watching Carrey take on this super dark role while still being wickedly funny. He has some amazing deliveries of inspired lines filled with television references. One of the most memorable scenes features Chip singing Jefferson Airplane’s “Somebody to Love”. Carrey can clearly play crazy.
2. Joel Barish - This is undoubtedly Carrey’s strongest acting performance of his career. You can’t watch Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and come out thinking he’s just a goofy comic with no real talent. This movie makes you feel the full gamut of emotions, and sure Kate Winslet helps as his costar but this is really Carrey’s film. He can pull off all the dramatic beats this role demands, making Joel a believable emotional wreck and this movie one of my all time favorites.
1. Lloyd Christmas - Was there any other choice? This is absolutely the funniest movie Carrey has ever been in and one I can watch endlessly just to see him and Jeff Daniels be ridiculous together. Carrey and Daniels together give two of the most quotable performances ever. Dumb & Dumber came out the same year as Ace Ventura: Pet Detectiveand The Mask, but Lloyd is the one that stands out as Carrey’s most definitive role.
This post is part of the LAMB’s Acting School 101.