"This is a fake!" — Loki
Why, oh why, do I do these things to myself? Why do I inflict
such things upon my poor brain?
Oh wait, that’s how I began my last review. Let me start again.
The first thing that went through my mind when I saw the trailer
for Son of the Mask was, “Well, that’s going to suck.
I hope I don’t pull that assignment.”
So now I’m laying out my own hard-earned money to a CGI-fest
family film. Still, I do like Alan Cumming, and Guterman did
a decent job directing Cats
& Dogs, and it’s from New Line, which gave
us Lord of the Rings. How bad could it be?
As it turns out, pretty bad. But not completely deplorable.
Jamie (Scream) Kennedy is Tim Avery, aspiring animator
(nice tip of the hat to Tex Avery, who’s the main inspiration
for the mayhem in both Mask movies). He’s trying his
best to work his way up from turtle-suit wearing tour guide
to full animator at a Disney-esque studio headed up by . . .
by . . . a guy played by Steven Wright. It’s a bad
sign when I can’t remember character’s names from a film I just
watched twenty minutes ago.
So as he and his buddy Jorge (Kal “Harold & Kumar”
Penn) are trying to succeed, Tim’s wife Tonya (Traylor “Monk”
Howard) tells him that she wants to have a baby. This sends
Tim into a state of panic, as he feels ill-equipped to be a
dad and he’s about as mature as a 12-year old.
At the same time, Norse god Odin (Bob “Roger Rabbit”
Hoskins) sends Loki (Alan “Nightcrawler” Cumming) to Earth to
recover his Mask of Mischief. Hoskins is buried under the Odin
makeup, and apparently Loki likes to shop in the leather section.
Anyway, Tim’s dog finds the Mask in question, and brings it
home. Tim ends up wearing it to a Halloween party, where his
antics impress his boss enough to get him a job coming up with
a new animated TV show. After the party, he comes home and makes
sweet, sweet, freaky Mask-wearing love (off camera) to
his wife, and the Son of the Mask is quickly born. Having
been conceived while dad was wearing the Mask, the kid Alvey
has its powers. Meanwhile, the dog, now jealous of the attention
the baby is getting, dons the Mask. A live-action Tom and Jerry
style cartoon ensues, thanks to the magic of CGI.
Some parts of the movie work. The script is unapologetically
aimed at the seven-to-thirteen set, and works pretty well for
them (based on the hooting kids in the audience I saw this with).
It also has the plot pacing and manic energy of its cartoon
inspirations. It's brightly colored, and the Avery house looks
like it was pulled out of a cartoon, all bright yellows, reds
and blues. Some of the gags are inventive and actually funny.
Every scene with Loki is enjoyable; Cumming has an innate sense
of mischief which makes him a perfect trickster god. The CGI
is well done (not a surprise), and most of the actors turn in
On the down side, there is very little to recommend for those
not in the tween-ages. The script offers some ham-handed life
lessons, the mandatory gross-out jokes the kids seem to enjoy
these days, and all the depth of its source materials. While
you won’t be bored to tears watching it with your kids, it’s
not a film that provides different levels for all ages like
or the Toy Story movies. Jamie Kennedy turns in the same
stellar acting he did in Malibu’s Most Wanted. This is
not a plus. And dancing, talking, walking babies are just weird.
Something about them creeps me out
The only other complaint I have isn’t really a fair one: There
are only two real appearances of The Mask character. The movie
is about his son, so I can’t really knock it for not focusing
on the Green Faced One. Still, I would have liked to have seen
a bit more Mask-style shenanigans.
Overall, it’s not a terrible movie, but it’s not a great one
either. I have to cut Guterman and the screenwriter a little
slack, as they did accomplish what they set out to do: make
a live-action cartoon. I just wish it had been better, with
more for the older set to enjoy.
While Son of the Mask won’t become a family classic
that the whole family will enjoy watching together, I predict
a long-running future as a DVD that the parents will toss in
the player to amuse/distract the little ones.