Director: Ben Stiller
Cast: Jim Carrey, Matthew Broderick, Leslie Mann, Jack Black
Have I Seen it Before: It’s one of my favorites. Fight me.
Did I Like It: Don’t make me say it again.
The text of this review appeared previously in a blog post entitled “How Could No One Else Like These Movies?” published 04/23/2017.
Remembered mainly for Jim Carrey’s then-record twenty-million dollar paycheck, Ben Stiller’s second venture in the director’s chair was almost immediately dismissed upon release as “too dark,” “bleak,” and “not containing nearly enough scenes of an adult male attempting ventriloquism via his buttocks.” For my money, though it is not only a great film, it is the best film that writer Judd Apatow, director Stiller and star Carrey has yet to make.
Yes, it is the pitch-black tale of a cable installer gone rogue who injects himself into a hapless customer’s life, a la The Hand that Rocks the Cradle (1992). It’s more thriller-esque elements are tempered by an all-consuming sympathy for both of its main characters. Both Steven (Matthew Broderick) and the alias-laden titular Cable Guy (Carrey) are woefully unable to relate to people outside of television*. Broderick’s character has the capacity to change and be better by the end of the movie, whereas Carrey is a far more broken, far more tragic character. We, the pop culture obsessed inevitably fall on a spectrum somewhere between the two leads, and we can only hope that our lives are a little more Broderick and a little less Carrey.
Also, it has one of the greater homages to “Amok Time” ever produced—what’s not to love? Seriously, go give the film another look, and if you still hold as low an opinion of the movie as you did twenty years ago… Well, then, just keep it to yourself. I really like it.
But we can all agree it’s better than Zoolander 2 (2016), right?
*Remind us of anyone?