"Our daddy may have advanced delusionary schizophrenia with involuntary narcissistic rage. But he is a very gentle person!"
A longtime friend and I got into a discussion many years ago about whether Jim Carrey or Adam Sandler was funnier. We get into these discussions all the time, and his contention was that Sandler was the funnier one. My friend often recalls a scene in the blooper reel of Carrey's Liar Liar where Swoosie Kurtz calls him an "overactor" as a joke, but his point was that Carrey's physical and vocal demeanor was that of a Virginia ham. While both seem to have taken a bit of a downturn in popularity in the last few years, Carrey's has been the slightly sharper turn (witness The Number 23 for proof). But now that I've seen Me, Myself & Irene again for the first time in years, I can honestly tell him in front of all the interwebs, Patrick, you were right man. I can't remember watching a movie and even moderately liking it, and then revisiting it to find that it's really really bad.
Me, Myself & Irene was the Farrelly Brothers' first film after the smash success that was There's Something About Mary. And for Carrey, it was a return to his comedic roots after acclaimed dramatic turns in The Truman Show and Man on the Moon. Carrey plays Charlie, a Rhode Island motorcycle patrolman who fell in love with a girl who eventually left him and their three African American sons to fend for themselves. Charlie's also the resident town doormat, as no one pays attention to what he says, people borrow things from him and never give them back, that type of thing. So one day, something in Charlie's personality snaps, and we have Hank, a split personality who has the courage and boldness that Charlie seems to lack. The problem is that Hank is just that, a split personality, so Charlie has to take medication for it, as well as hopefully get accustomed to lower stress work. So he's ordered by his boss (Robert Forster, Jackie Brown) to take Irene Waters (Renee Zellweger, Cold Mountain) back to New York where she is wanted by authorities. And with that, we cue up 116 minutes of road trip hilarity and hijinks!
Now that last part might be an oversimplification, but it really is just that. It turns into a road trip/buddy film, which looks an awful lot like any other road trip film, including the Farrellys' Kingpin, where the two main characters strike up a friendship, even a romantic one, while outside forces are trying to impede their goal of getting to where they need to go. Seeing what Zellweger has done before and since has been impressive and she's gotten an Oscar for some of that work, and the main antagonist in the film is Chris Cooper, who also won an Oscar for Adaptation. Though in subsequent years and Farrelly projects where other Oscar nominees and winners have appeared, this really seems like more of an excuse for them to do some "crazy" slapstick or something that in their minds might be funny but, at least in the case of this feature, isn't.
And what of Carrey you say? Well he was apparently given the green light to go over the top before when he and the Farrellys made Dumb and Dumber, but here, Carrey seems like he either phoned it in for the big paycheck, or he felt incredibly neutered by the material. I'll leave it to everyone's presumptions on which occurred. I will give them credit though for one item, and that was the first ten minutes of the film and the way it laid out what happened in Charlie's life to make him the way it does. His sons are African American and highly intelligent (it's a long story), but among those sons is Anthony Anderson, who people might recognize in recent films like Hustle and Flow and The Departed. His work and the work of the other actors were the only things that really kept me going in a film that was far from Carrey's (or the Farrellys') best work.
The Blu-ray Disc:
I don't know, this 1.85:1 presentation is presented in 1080p and uses the MPEG-2 codec with a pretty high bitrate, and while it appears to be a fine transfer, the problem is that there hasn't been any remastering work done on the film, and it suffers as a result. Blacks tend to possess some contrast though it's not really all that consistent, there's hardly any background depth to be gained from the image, and in the foreground there's not a lot of detail, though the film grain appears to be the one consistent through the picture.
OK, so there's a DTS HD Master Lossless Audio track that is largely wasted on this production. Dialogue remains firm and in the center channel with an occasional speaker pan or two, and the music sounds clear, but there is very little in the way of directional effects and subwoofer usage on the low end is nonexistent. It's a clear sounding track, but hardly remarkable.
As a quick disclaimer, this disc does not completely port over all of the extras from the standard definition version, some DVD-ROM material and production vignettes are missing, along with a branching version that included said vignettes. Otherwise and quite honestly, there's not a lot here that's designed to blow sunshine up your skirt. The Farrellys lend a commentary to the production that's long on trivia and short on actual production information. They tend to really more identify locals who appeared as extras more than anything else. About halfway through the film they actually start talking about the film and how it came together, but aside from a strange affection for Steely Dan, the track is pretty boring. Ten deleted scenes (17:22) with optional commentary follow, but aside from an extra chuckle or two, there's nothing here that warranted inclusion into the final version, and the commentary is more of the same. Two trailers for the film (in high definition) are next, followed by previews for the Fox Blu-ray titles like Dodgeball, Dude, Where's My Car? and Mr. and Mrs. Smith.
Well, there are some extras missing from the standard definition version, and the technical quality doesn't seem to serve as too much of an upgrade from the earlier disc. If you really really love the film, then by all means go crazy over it, but don't say I didn't warn you of a potential disappointment.