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Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
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Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Friday. From the March 29 issue of The
American Conservative


dazzling screenwriter Charlie Kaufman’s new sobriety suited the
notoriously Oscar-hungry comedy king Jim Carrey. As wonderful as Carrey
is in mainstream laughers like "Bruce Almighty," he knows the
Academy doesn’t much respect funny performances, as we just saw with the
droll Bill Murray and the flamboyant Johnny Depp losing the Best Actor
award to Sean Penn and his "Mystic River" emote-a-thon.


lust for official recognition probably stems from his inferiority
complex over his lack of education (he dropped out of high school to
tell jokes for a living). More generally, stand-up comics like Carrey
tend to be self-loathing and depressive (as Nicholas Cage’s portrayal of
Charlie Kaufman in Kaufman’s Adaptation showed. Even the
exception that proves this rule, that bulletproof superman Bob Hope,
made a running joke out of his pain at being repeatedly rejected by the
Oscar voters.


for Carrey’s dramatic ambitions, his comic competitive advantage
originates is his remarkable muscle tone: his facial muscles can simply
power their way from one exaggerated expression to another as fast as
anyone in movie history. Carrey’s attempt to harness his antic visage to
Academy-style social issue drama hit rock bottom with 2001’s "The
Majestic." Playing a blacklisted screenwriter in order to pander to
Academy members’ belief that the Hollywood Red Scare was the worst thing
that ever happened in American history, Carrey gave a performance
restrained to the point of catatonia. In Eternal Sunshine,
however, he has largely solved his acting problems. He portrays a
cautious introvert, but this time allows his character’s sorrows to
fully show appealingly on his expressive face.


read the rest, purchase the magazine on a newsstand near you, or
subscribe here.

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
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