×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Son of the Mask

The birth of this decade-later sequel would be easier to dismiss for the manic and mindless exercise that it is if the movie didn't represent a significant technical endeavor, replete with splashy special effects. The net result is a truly numbing experience. Almost surely destined for a brief stopover in theaters before a playdate with DVD.

With:
Tim Avery - Jamie Kennedy Loki - Alan Cumming Alvey - Liam and Ryan Falconer Tonya Avery - Traylor Howard Daniel Moss - Steven Wright Odin - Bob Hoskins Otis - Bear

The birth of this decade-later sequel would be easier to dismiss for the manic and mindless exercise that it is if the movie didn’t represent a significant technical endeavor, replete with splashy special effects. The net result is a truly numbing experience, inexplicably aimed at those who were zygotes when Jim Carrey’s energy powered its ostensible father to box office success. Almost surely destined for a brief stopover in theaters before a playdate with DVD, this misbegotten offspring features TV prankster Jamie Kennedy in a leading role, though in this case, the not-so-funny joke’s on him.

As with the original, “Son of the Mask” is positioned as a live-action cartoon, yet whatever Warner Bros.-inspired lunacy motivated the first plays here like taking Joe Dante’s cinematic tributes to those classic shorts and injecting them with steroids.

No one really escapes unscathed, but there are probably enough bodily fluid and crotch-kick gags to garner laughs from younger tykes before even their patience wears thin. The only problem is that after an opening sequence detailing Norse mythology — and how the mask of god of mischief Loki (Alan Cumming) conveys astounding powers on its wearer — it’s hard to imagine discriminating parents wanting their kids to partake.

There is even something slightly unsavory about the basic premise, in which a childlike wannabe animator, Tim (Kennedy), is horrified by the prospect of having a baby, only to don the mask and impregnate his ridiculously tolerant wife (Traylor Howard).

The product of that union is a strange-looking baby possessing masklike powers, which he manifests after watching the famous Warner Bros. cartoon “One Froggy Evening,” which is undoubtedly the best 90 seconds in the movie.

Loki, meanwhile, scours the world searching for the mask, while godly father Odin (Bob Hoskins, hidden under pretty impressive makeup) threatens to strip him of his powers if he doesn’t retrieve it, leading to an inevitable (if painfully prolonged) showdown.

Director Lawrence Guterman (“Cats & Dogs”) and first-time writer Lance Khazei load up on scatological gags and references, which is peculiar, since the Nickelodeon-watching target audience is unlikely to yuk it up over allusions to “The Exorcist” and spaghetti Westerns.

Although his WB network hidden-camera show “The Jamie Kennedy Experiment” actually had its moments, Kennedy plays Tim (whose last name is clearly an homage to animator Tex Avery) in such a cloying, juvenile manner — in essence, think of an adult speaking baby talk — that it’s painful to endure.

The best moments actually belong to the dog, Otis (Bear), at least before he inevitably dons the mask and ends up looking like a poor man’s Tasmanian Devil.

Those effects are generally quite polished, including some of the original animation, but even the design feels hopelessly derivative — as do the various permutations of the dancing and talking tot. Although such kid-driven gimmickry is usually crowdpleasing, potential laughs get lost amid the mayhem, and some of the mask-powered baby’s behavior simply comes across as creepy.

Perhaps the movie’s strangest aspect, however, is that amid the silliness it manages to be preachy, from touting the joys of parenthood to the mom’s warning that planting the kid in front of the TV is “gonna make him stupid.”

Sure, blame TV. As excuses go, that explanation might be as good as any.

Popular on Variety

Son of the Mask

Production: A New Line Cinema release of a Radar Pictures production in association with Dark Horse Entertainment. Produced by Erica Huggins, Scott Kroopf. Executive producers, Beau Marks, Mike Richardson, Toby Emmerich, Kent Alterman, Michele Weiss. Co-producer, Stephen Jones. Directed by Lawrence Guterman. Screenplay, Lance Khazei.

Crew: Camera (Atlab color, Deluxe prints), Greg Gardiner; editors, Malcolm Campbell, Debra Neil Fisher; music, Randy Edelman; executive music producer, Bonnie Greenberg; production designer, Leslie Dilley; supervising art directors, Michelle McGahey, Bill Booth; set decorator, Rebecca Cohen; costume designer, Mary E. Vogt; sound (SDDS Dolby Digital DTS), Danetracks; supervising sound editor, Gregory Hedgepath; visual effects supervisor, James E. Price; special visual effects, animation, Industrial Light & Magic; visual effects producer, Susan MacLeod; special effects supervisor, Brian Cox; special makeup effects sueprvisor, Brian Sipe; associate producer, Sean Gorman; assistant director, Toby Pease; second unit director, Price; stunt coordinator, Glenn Boswell; casting, Roger Mussenden, Christine King. Reviewed at New Line screening room, Los Angeles, Feb. 9, 2005. MPAA Rating: PG. Running time: 95 MIN.

With: Tim Avery - Jamie Kennedy Loki - Alan Cumming Alvey - Liam and Ryan Falconer Tonya Avery - Traylor Howard Daniel Moss - Steven Wright Odin - Bob Hoskins Otis - Bear

More Film

  • Bruce Springsteen arrives for the New

    Bruce Springsteen Returns to NJ Hometown for Surprise 'Western Stars' Introduction

    Bruce Springsteen returned to his hometown of Freehold, New Jersey to offer a surprise introduction to the first public multiplex viewing of his concert/documentary film, “Western Stars.” Dressed simply in a brown jacket, Springsteen took a moment to say a few words at the AMC Freehold 14 movie theater on Saturday night. “We knew we [...]

  • Backstage in Puglia del film SPACCAPIETRE:

    'Gomorrah' Star Salvatore Esposito Set For De Serio Twins' 'The Stonebreaker'

    Salvatore Esposito, the Italian star who plays young mob boss Genny Savastano in Italy’s hit TV series “Gomorrah,” will soon be hitting the big screen toplining upcoming drama “The Stonebreaker” by twin directorial duo Gianluca and Massimiliano De Serio, who are known internationally for “Seven Acts of Mercy.” The De Serio twins are now in post on “Stonebreaker” [...]

  • Angelina Jolie is Maleficent in Disney’s

    Box Office: 'Maleficent: Mistress of Evil' Tops 'Joker,' 'Zombieland'

    “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” is on track to give Disney another first place finish after scoring $12.5 million in Friday’s domestic ticket sales. If estimates hold, the Angelina Jolie-led film should finish the weekend with about $38 million — well below earlier forecasts but enough to top holdover “Joker” and fellow newcomer “Zombieland: Double Tap.” [...]

  • Maelle Arnaud

    Lumière Chief Programmer Maelle Arnaud: 'Film History Doesn't Have Parity'

    LYON, France   — As the Lumière Institute’s head programmer since 2001, Maelle Arnaud helped launched the Lumière Festival in 2009 and has watched it grow in international esteem over the decade that followed. This year, the festival ran 190 films across 424 screenings in theaters all over town. The festival will come to a [...]

  • Girl with Green Eyes

    Talking Pictures TV: Bringing the Past Back to Life in the U.K.

    LYON, France – Since its launch in 2015, Talking Pictures TV has become the fastest-growing independent channel in the U.K. with a growing library of British film and TV titles that span five decades, according to founder Noel Cronin. Noel Cronin attended the Lumière Festival’s International Classic Film Market (MIFC) in Lyon, France, where he [...]

  • Wings of Desire

    German Heritage Sector Applauds Increased Digitization, Preservation Funding

    LYON, France  — Germany’s film heritage sector is celebrating a new federal and state-funded initiative launching in January that will provide €10 million ($11.15 million) a year towards the digitization and preservation of feature films. Rainer Rother, the artistic director of the Deutsche Kinemathek, outlined the plan at a panel discussion at the Lumière Festival’s [...]

  • 'QT8: Quentin Tarantino, The First Eight'

    Film Review: 'QT8: Quentin Tarantino, The First Eight'

    In one of the intermittent revealing moments in “QT8: Quentin Tarantino, The First Eight,” a documentary about the films of Quentin Tarantino that’s like a familiar but tasty sundae for Quentin fans, we see Tarantino on the set of “Pulp Fiction,” shooting the iconic dance contest at Jack Rabbit Slim’s. As John Travolta and Uma [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content