Thursday, 13 May 2010

No.33 : The Majestic

Jim Carrey stars in this bloated pile of sentimental crap that sucks up two and a half hours of your life and leaves you feeling that bit stupider for having fallen for its obvious pitfalls. But it starts with a ‘The’ so at least I’ve got an excuse.

The file opens with Carrey’s 1950s Hollywood screenwriter agreeing to all the mental changes to his script suggested by the studio. This shows he has no integrity but he has a sexy broad on his arm and a nice set of wheels so who’s to worry? His first film gets a decent reception and things are looking good until a teenage indiscretion brings him to the attention of the Committee for Un-American Activities . With his next flick cancelled he hits the bottle and goes for a drive - HUGE mistake.

A well trained opossum, which for some reason is crossing the middle of a long bridge, causes him to lose control and crash into the water. He washes up in a small town and as you’d guess the bump on the head has caused total amnesia - the movie kind, not the massive head trauma kind that most accidents accidentally cause.

He’s found by Brookes out of ‘The Shawshank Redemption’ and taken into town where he’s recognised as a long lost son of the town feared dead in World War Two. Carrey doesn’t know who he is but is soon cosying up to the dead man’s squeeze and Martin Landau, the local cinema owner father of the dead boy. Months soon pass and the father and not son start to bond as they do up the titular picture house.

Meanwhile the nasty commie chasers are on our man’s tail and when his car washes up they close the net and bring him back to LA to face the music. Will his now restored memory reignite his asshole persona or will his months with the simple towns people colour his outlook and give him some of the spirit and courage of his assumed dead soldier’s character? Go on, two guesses!

I didn’t fancy this film when it came out, thinking it would be some sentimental twaddle about the goodness of small town America and a love letter to a bygone age. As with all presumptions it turned out that I was correct. The film is directed by Frank Darabont and on this evidence he should stick to Stephen King penned prison stories. The emotional music cues and overlong heartfelt speeches are all present and correct, but outside the prison environment they seem a bit unnecessary and overbearing.

Carrey’s character arc is really thin, as is that of the towns folk who go from love to hate to big love in 20 minutes. The cast is pretty good with a lot of familiar faces popping up such as the guy from Kruger Industrial Smoothage and Bob Balaban playing his usual weasely character. The story, as it is, is too slight, with the miraculous and selective amnesia which turns on and off as the story requires a plot device too far.

The film is book ended with scenes of Carrey discussing changes to a proposed film plot and you could argue that the whole thing is meant to be a fantasy of a better time that never really existed. I’m not buying that, and saw the whole things as lazy, sentimental schmaltz.

There were a couple of positives such as Bruce Campbell showing up in Carrey’s ‘B’ flick as well as Indiana Jones’ golden idol but for the most part this was just an idle jab at the commie witch hunts 50 years too late. Running at 150 minutes I’d be surprised if you take a trip to ‘The Majestic’ dear reader especially when you realise it’s got enough plot for the first hour at most. Basically when Martin Landau shuts off so should you!

THE Tag Line : Pa-Pa-Pa-Pa-Pa-Pa-Pish 53%

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