S-s-s-smokin'? Hardly, this sequel to the 1994 Jim Carrey flick THE MASK should have been snuffed out in the drawing room. Jamie Kennedy takes center stage as Tim Avery (note the none-to-subtle reference to innovative animator Tex Avery), a mild-mannered aspiring cartoonist whose wife, Tonya (Traylor Howard), is desperate to have a baby. Tim would rather...read more
S-s-s-smokin'? Hardly, this sequel to the 1994 Jim Carrey flick THE MASK should have been snuffed out in the drawing room. Jamie Kennedy takes center stage as Tim Avery (note the none-to-subtle reference to innovative animator Tex Avery), a mild-mannered aspiring cartoonist whose wife, Tonya (Traylor Howard), is desperate to have a baby. Tim would rather play video games and devote his energy to the family dog, Otis, but after a raucous Halloween party during which Tim dons the id-unleashing Mask of Loki and turns into an obnoxious vortex of mayhem, he stumbles home still wearing the green getup and impregnates his wife. Meanwhile, Loki (Alan Cumming), the Norse god of mischief to whom the mask belongs, has been instructed by his god-father, Odin (Bob Hoskins), to retrieve his chaos-causing creation before it wreaks more havoc on the human world. Papa's even angrier when, nine-months after Tim's wild night, Odin discovers that a baby has been "born of the mask" and he now threatens to take away Loki's immortal powers if he doesn't fix the mess he's made. Tim and Tonya are pleased as punch with their new arrival, Alvey (Liam and Ryan Falconer), but as their child hits the crawling stage, the proud parents notice a few eccentricities: Avley has superhuman strength, he quickly learns to speak with an adult voice and he's able contort his features as if he were wearing the magic mask. One week while Tonya's out of town, Alvey, inspired by old cartoons, torments his father with malicious gags and nearly sends him to the loony bin. Loyal Otis, who's been hiding the mask in his dog-house, tries to expose Alvey's scheme hoping that a grateful Tim will reward the pampered pooch. The rest plays out like a typical Tex Avery cartoon, complete with TNT, bugged-out eyes, murderous plots and low-brow sight gags, all rendered in a vibrantly colored disarray. It seems that after discovering the truth about CATS & DOGS (2001), director Lawrence Guterman is settling into a niche that blends live action with computer-animated effects, but all those high-tech hijinks are wasted with a sub-par plot line and idiotic action. The charismatic Cumming livens things up as a bumbling villain, and Kennedy is fine as the nebbishy neglectful dad, but both actors should have paid more attention to that old adage about working with kids and animals. Younger audiences may be briefly amused by the goofy gimmicks and unoriginal cartoonish moments, but adults should do them all a favor and have them watch a few Tom and Jerry reruns instead.
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