It happens to the most talented funnyman. He takes his eyes off his comic mojo for a second to, say, film an Oscar contender, or star in a low-budget genre thriller, and poof, it’s gone. The dairy industry is lending its cartons to help locate these missing careers.
NAME: Woody Allen
DATE OF BIRTH: Dec. 1, 1935
ANSWERS TO: “The Woodman,” “Pops,” “Ingmar”
DISTINGUISHING MARKS: Singular lack of interest in public acceptance or critical approval.
LAST SEEN WEARING: Paranoia and ailments on sleeve as kvetching illusionist in “Scoop.”
POSSIBLE WHEREABOUTS: Eschewed slapstick and sophistica ted romantic comedies for Bergman (“September”), Cassavetes (“Husbands and Wives”) and Hitchcock (“Match Point”) homages. Adrift in London fog of mixed genres and slack pacing.
IF SPOTTED: Get him back to his hometown and match him up with likable and loose actors unintimidated by genius.
NAME: Jim Carrey
DATE OF BIRTH: Jan. 17, 1962
ANSWERS TO: “Ace,” “Grinch,” “Oscar wanter”
DISTINGUISHING MARKS: Rubber-faced, maudlin, tragicomic spasms reminiscent of Jerry Lewis, with similar obsessive-compulsive desire for respect.
LAST SEEN WEARING: Leering expression and greasy hair in overacted dual role in “The Number 23.”
POSSIBLE WHEREABOUTS: On walkabout with an evident desire to play Hamlet.
IF SPOTTED: Hide all his Dr. Seuss volumes as you reminisce about hilarity of yester year., i.e. “I just love it when you make your anus talk. And Fireman Bob was a riot!”
NAME: Bobby and Peter Farrelly
DATE OF BIRTH: June 17, 1958, and Dec. 17, 1956, respectively
ANSWERS TO: “The brothers who didn’t make ‘The Matrix’ “
DISTINGUISHING MARKS: Obsession with bodily fluids.
LAST SEEN WEARING: Matching sweatsuits.
POSSIBLE WHEREABOUTS: Wandered off together into Dismal Remake Swamp (“Fever Pitch,” “The Heartbreak Kid”) after high-concept ideas got dumb and dumber (“Me, Myself and Irene,” “Stuck on You,” “Shallow Hal”).
IF SPOTTED: Call Ben Stiller and Cameron Diaz to perform an intervention.
NAME: Robin Williams
DATE OF BIRTH: July 21, 1951
ANSWERS TO: “Mork,” “Patch,” “Oscar winner”
DISTINGUISHING MARKS: Extreme body hair and tendency to weep in sincere moments.
LAST SEEN WEARING: Ill-fitting clerical collar in “License to Wed.”
POSSIBLE WHEREABOUTS: Unpersuasive side trips into dramatic territory (“Insomnia,” “One Hour Photo,” “The Night Listener”), followed by loss of bearings in dreary ports of call (“RV,” “Man of the Year”). Now in comedy limbo.
IF SPOTTED: Encourage him to keep talking until something funny comes out. Suggest “Mrs. Doubtfire 2.” If he counters with “Jack 2,” get the “Hook.”