(PG) 2 StarsPaul F. P. Pogue
One of Jim Carrey's earliest successes, 1995's The Mask, was a fiendishly clever bit of filmmaking with surprisingly sharp writing and one of Carrey's best performances before or since. The unnecessary sequel, Son of the Mask, is none of the above. Jamie Kennedy as "Tim Avery"
Surprisingly, this is being set up as a kid's movie rather than the adult comedy of the original. This time around the Mask of Loki, which converts its wearer into a daredevil magic mischief-maker, falls into the hands of hapless animator Tim Avery (Jamie Kennedy), which results in his newborn son getting magical powers.
Magic baby and Otis, Tim's newly Masked dog, go to war with each other in highly destructive sequences that pay tribute to numerous Looney Tunes. Meanwhile, Loki himself (Alan Cumming) wants his mask back and will do anything to get it.
The last few years have seen some stunningly great kid's movies hit screens, most notably Spy Kids and The Incredibles. Because we've seen how good they can be, it's even more of a letdown now to see the genre done so poorly.
Apparently, no one in Hollywood has twigged to the fact that CGI-ed babies who walk and talk like people aren't funny; they're just creepy and annoying. The dog/baby war is easily the worst part of the film, so of course it takes up the most time. This film has far more special effects than the first, yet rarely are they used as cleverly - possibly because Carrey himself was the best special effect in the first film. It shows some promise when Kennedy dons the Mask and goes wild, but those moments are few and far between. Cumming is also having some fun as Loki, channeling an evil version of his Spy Kids character, but there's nothing in this film to come close to the "Cuban Pete" segment of the original.
Bob Hoskins drops in a couple of times as Odin, Loki's enraged father - appropriate in a film that owes more than a little to Who Framed Roger Rabbit. If I were the star of that movie stuck in this one, I'd be pissed off too.