Me, Myself & Irene

on June 23, 2000 by Christine James
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   The notoriously anti-P.C. Brothers Farrelly play advanced delusionary schizophrenia with involuntary narcissistic rage for laffs in this mostly successful comedy that unleashes the frenetic Jim Carrey in the role(s) he was born to play. Carrey gets double the face time as a milquetoast who develops a psychotically aggressive split personality after enduring a lifetime of abuses great and small. His true self, Charlie, is a nice-guy cop who's such a doormat that when his wife runs off with a pint-sized African American Mensa member, he gamely volunteers to play single dad to a trio of sons who are suspiciously dark-complected and cerebrally endowed. Despite a fulfilling home life with his Richard Pryor-mouthed but loving genius pseudo-progeny whose hearts are as mammoth as their intellect and girth, Charlie is a timebomb; his wimpy ways have made him an object of disrespect and ridicule, and the seething rage he suppresses soon bursts forth in the alter ego of Hank, who immediately wreaks inventive revenges on all those who have wronged him. Only one person stands a chance of soothing the savage beast: the comely Irene (Renee Zellweger), whom Charlie is escorting across the state on police business. The problem is, both personae fall for their charge and jealously try to thwart each other, which only complicates their attempts to evade Irene's criminal ex-boyfriend and his platoon of crooked cops.

   Obviously straining to top themselves in their patented gross-out gags, the Farrellys do occasionally so outrageously transcend the boundaries of taste that they taint the good-natured spirit of the rest of the film. But it's a fun premise peopled with singularly wacky characters and tailor-made for Carrey's brand of zany, manic scenery-chewing. Starring Jim Carrey and Renee Zellweger. Directed by Bobby Farrelly & Peter Farrelly. Written by Peter Farrelly & Mike Cerrone & Bobby Farrelly. Produced by Bradley Thomas & Bobby Farrelly & Peter Farrelly. A Fox release. Comedy. Rated R for sexual content, crude humor, strong language and some violence. Running time: 116 min

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