With such movies as Dumb & Dumber and There’s Something About Mary under their belt, writer-directors Peter and Bobby Farrelly have continually shown that they excel in the art of delivering bawdy, salacious, un-PC humour in a bid to achieve one goal: make people laugh. On top of this, the Farrelly Brothers are also talented at constructing interesting stories and amiable characters around the humour to ground the outrageousness in at least a modicum of reality. Me, Myself & Irene represents another home run for the brothers, and it’s one of their most consistently hilarious motion pictures to date. You see, not only is this a Farrelly Brothers production, but a Jim Carrey flick as well, and the amalgamation of their comic styles represents a match made in cinematic heaven.
Carrey plays Rhode Island State Trooper Charlie Baileygates, who’s such a nice guy that people walk all over him. Even his beloved wife (Leoni) divorces him in favour of a black midget (Cox), leaving poor Charlie with their African American triplets (hilariously played by Anderson, Mixon and Brownlee). After a lifetime of internalising anger and avoiding confrontation at the cost of his dignity, Charlie finally snaps, inadvertently unleashing his alter ego Hank. The complete opposite of Charlie, Hank is never shy about coming forward with all guns blazing. Diagnosed with “advanced delusionary schizophrenia with involuntary narcissistic rage”, Charlie is prescribed pills for the problem. To get some time off, Charlie is assigned to escort young Irene Waters (Zellweger) back to New York following her wrongful arrest. Unfortunately, Charlie and Irene are soon on the lam with corrupt cops on their tail. To make matters worse, Charlie loses his medication, and as a result frequently turns into the up-to-no-good Hank…
If anyone comes to a Farrelly Brothers picture expecting a thoughtful plot or thematic complexity, they’re a fucking idiot – the gags are the main attraction. Me, Myself & Irene‘s plot is flimsy to be sure, but it’s entirely serviceable as a clothesline on which to hang the laughs. If this type of un-PC humour is to your taste, Me, Myself & Irene is a complete hoot from beginning to end, and is jam-packed with memorable lines and situations you’ll be laughing about for days. Not to mention, you will probably still laugh your ass off on repeat viewings no matter how many times you watch this film. As to be expected from the Farrelly Brothers, the script delivers a lot of gross-out humour, scatological jokes, sexual innuendo, and a sizable sprinkling of obscene language. And it’s all fucking hilarious. There are gentler gags as well (yes, the Farrellys are actually familiar with the word), such as the ongoing guffaws provided by the fact that Charlie was left with kids he believes to be his despite all of them being African American.
Naturally, Jim Carrey’s trademark overacting represents a tremendous contribution to the laugh quotient. As the ’90s drew to a close, Carrey chose some dramatic roles to prove his versatility as a performer, and Me, Myself & Irene saw the star back in top comedic form. With the split personality conceit, Carrey could be both an amiable goof and a rubber-faced, over-the-top psychopath, meaning the film has both of Carrey’s strengths rolled into one. Carrey is especially funny as Hank, when he was permitted the chance to completely go for broke. And my word, he earns a lot of laughs. Carrey is the type of comic performer who runs with any humorous opportunity, leading to countless laugh-out-loud moments. Alongside him, Renée Zellweger is serviceable as Irene, but the film positively lights up whenever Charlie’s three sons show up in the form of Anthony Anderson, Mongo Brownlee and Jerod Mixon, all of whom are side-splitting. The three actors share a comfortable camaraderie, making their interactions all the funnier and wittier. They work extremely well with Carrey as well. In smaller roles, Chris Cooper and Richard Jenkins are decent, but do not truly own their characters like their co-stars.
Me, Myself & Irene is ultimately a lightweight comedy for the masses. The Farrellys did not set out to imbue the film with much depth – in fact the film seriously lulls during the more serious moments which attempt to display maturity – and one should therefore judge it on a less demanding criteria. Me, Myself & Irene works because it will make you laugh loudly and frequently as long as you can appreciate humour of the un-PC variety.