After Jim Carrey's rapid ascension to superstar status in 1994 (THE MASK, ACE VENTURA PET DETECTIVE, and DUMB AND DUMBER), it was inevitable that the actor's earlier efforts would be unearthed and exploited. Carrey's first television movie, a 1981 Canadian production called "Introducing
... Janet," has been dredged up for home-video consumption with the misleading title RUBBERFACE. Marketed to the DUMB AND DUMBER audience, RUBBERFACE will surprise Carrey fans expecting a rollicking laugh fest. RUBBERFACE is actually the sweet story of a depressed teen struggling for acceptance.
High school student Janet Taylor (Adah Glassbourg) feels she has to be the class clown in order to gain the acceptance of her peers. Only through her writing does she reveal her true feelings--that she fears people won't like her as she truly is. For a school essay on "Why People Laugh," Janet
visits a comedy club, where she meets dishwasher and aspiring comedian Tony Marone (Carrey). Tony's act is a dud, but he still plans to enter the club's upcoming Battle of the Buffoons contest.
Janet writes some new material for Tony and coaches him on his delivery. Meanwhile, Tony tries to help Janet overcome her lack of self-confidence. He urges Janet to be herself rather than putting on an act. The night of the contest, Tony feigns laryngitis and convinces Janet to take his place on
stage. Janet gets off to a shaky start, but eventually overcomes her fears and wins over the audience.
Cast as a bad comic who shines only after hooking up with Janet, Carrey doesn't have much opportunity to display his budding comedic talents. His acting is effective, and much more restrained than in his present day hits. Here he is an earnest guy who would give up his chance at stardom to help
his friend. Glassbourg gives a realistic portrayal of an angst-ridden teen. She makes a less convincing comedienne, and Janet's supposedly hysterical stand-up routine falls flat. In fact, even taking into account that it is dated, none of the stand-up material is very funny. Writer Michael
Glassbourg, who appears briefly as a comedian, wrote this story as a showcase for his sister.
The film is an interesting character study, one that many teens could potentially identify with. Though the script is at times hackneyed (especially the faked laryngitis routine), it contains some nice moments, particularly in the segments between Janet and her mother, played by Lynne Deragon.
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- Released: 1981
- Rating: PG
- Review: After Jim Carrey's rapid ascension to superstar status in 1994 (THE MASK, ACE VENTURA PET DETECTIVE, and DUMB AND DUMBER), it was inevitable that the actor's earlier efforts would be unearthed and exploited. Carrey's first television movie, a 1981 Canadian… (more)