Me, Myself & Irene is one of those typically wacky comedies with mistaken identities and mental illness played off for laughs. Except the laughs are about as frequent as they would be for an actual mental patient – in other words, mental illness comedy ain’t funny, it’s forced.
Jim Carrey plays Charlie, a Rhode Island state trooper who is cycling to upstate New York with a prisoner in tow – Irene (Rene Zellwegger), who has been accused of a hit-and-run crime in New York. Charlie seems like a nice guy, except Irene notices he takes pills. Why, she asks? Because, Charlie explains, if he doesn’t take one every six hours he feels….. funny. Something about paranoid schizophrenia. Irene gives that old nod-and-smile reaction we’ve all given to someone before.
There are two plots at work here. One is the someone-framed-Irene-and-we-know-who-but-the-good-guys-won’t-until-the-end-of-the-movie plot, and the other is the one that tries to set the movie apart. Charlie’s schizophrenia, you see, has manifested itself in the guise of Hank, a tough-talking, insensitive, loutish bully who is everything Charlie is not. Naturally, while Irene is in Charlie’s custody, Hank comes out at certain times, and hilarity ensues. (Charlie also has three African American kids! His ex-wife ran off with a short-statured African American limo driver – coincidence? – and the three kids, now in high school, feature prominently in this film.)
But for me, hilarity does NOT ensue. I found most of the jokes to be forced, even cloying. I found that I pitied Charlie more than I laughed with him. I found his romance of Irene (and don’t forget, Zellwegger was his beau at the time) to be a little trite. To me, they didn’t quite have the necessary chemistry. Yes, there were a few funny moments in the movie – and the kids were funny at times. I found this movie to be wildly uneven, funny in spots, dull in many others. I don’t think Carrey’s made a good film in a little while now, and I hope he can turn it around soon before he becomes the new Chevy Chase.
Me, Myself, and Irene: 5.5