The Mask is a 1994 American fantasy superhero slapstick action comedy film based on a series of comic books published by Dark Horse Comics. This film was directed by Chuck Russell, and produced by Dark Horse Entertainment and New Line Cinema, and originally released to movie theatres on July 29, 1994. The film stars Jim Carrey as Stanley Ipkiss, a man who finds the Mask of Loki that turns him into The Mask, a grinning, magically-powered trickster uninhibited by anything, including physical reality. The film's supporting cast includes Peter Greene, Amy Yasbeck, Peter Riegert, Richard Jeni, Ben Stein, Joely Fisher, and Cameron Diaz in her feature film debut as Stanley's love interest Tina Carlyle.
The movie was among the top ten moneymakers of its year, cemented Carrey's reputation as one of the dominant comedic actors of the era, and immediately established Diaz as a major star who would go on to have a long career as a leading lady. Carrey was nominated for a Golden Globe for his role, and the film was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects (Tom Bertino, Jon Farhat, Scott Squires and Steve 'Spaz' Williams), but lost to Forrest Gump.
Stanley Ipkiss is a shy and unlucky bank clerk working at the local Edge City bank. He is frequently ridiculed by everyone around him, except for his Jack Russell Terrier Milo and his co-worker and best friend Charlie Schumaker. Meanwhile, gangster Dorian Tyrell operates a nightclub called the Coco Bongo while plotting to overthrow his boss Niko. One day, Tyrell sends his singer girlfriend Tina Carlyle into Stanley's bank to record its layout, in preparation to rob the bank.
Stanley is attracted to Tina, and she seems to reciprocate. After being denied entrance to the Coco Bongo, he finds a wooden mask near the city's harbor. Placing it on his face transforms him into a zoot-suited, green-faced, bizarre trickster known as the Mask, who is able to cartoonishly alter himself and his surroundings at will. After surprising his ruthless landlady, Stanley exacts revenge on some of his tormentors, including the auto mechanics who ripped him off the night before, and scares off a street gang that attempts to rob him by turning a balloon into a Tommy gun.
The next morning, Stanley encounters detective Lieutenant Kellaway and newspaper reporter Peggy Brandt investigating the Mask's activity of the previous night. To attend Tina's performance and, despite being sought by the local police, he again becomes the Mask to raid the bank, inadvertently foiling Tyrell's plan in the process. At the Coco Bongo, Stanley ogles and eventually dances exuberantly with Tina, whom he ends up kissing. Following a confrontation with Tyrell, Stanley flees, leaving behind a scrap of cloth from his suit that transforms back into his pajamas.
Kellaway implicates Stanley in the bank-robbery based on his pajamas, but Stanley flees and later consults an expert on masks named Arthur Neuman, who tells him that the object is a depiction of Loki, the Norse god of darkness and mischief. Stanley attempts to show Arthur his Mask persona, but it only works as an ordinary mask. That night, Stanley transforms into the Mask and meets Tina at the local Landfill Park, but the meeting is interrupted by Kellaway, who attempts to arrest him. Stanley tricks a large group of police officers into joining him in a mass-performance of the Desi Arnaz song "Cuban Pete". Stanley takes off the mask and flees with Peggy, but she betrays him to Tyrell for a $50,000 bounty. Tyrell tries on the mask and becomes a malevolent green-faced being. Forced to reveal the location of the stolen money, Stanley is kept hostage in one of the mob's cars while Tyrell's henchmen reclaim the money. Stanley is later given to Kellaway, along with a rubber green mask, to be detained.
When Tina visits Stanley in his cell, he urges her to flee the city. Tina thanks Stanley for treating her with respect and tells him that she knew that he was the Mask all along. She attempts to leave the city, but is captured by Tyrell's enforcer Orlando and taken to a charity ball at the Coco Bongo hosted by Niko and attended by the city's elite, including the mayor Mitchell Tilton. Upon arrival, the masked Tyrell kills Niko, and prepares to destroy both the club and Tina. Milo helps Stanley escape, and Stanley brings Kellaway as a cover and hostage in a desperate attempt to stop Tyrell.
After the brief, initial success of securing the assistance of Charlie, Stanley is spotted by Orlando and captured. Tina tricks Tyrell into taking off the mask, which is recovered and donned by Milo, turning the dog into a cartoonish pitbull who defeats Tyrell's men, while Stanley fights Tyrell himself. After recovering the mask, Stanley uses its abilities to save Tina by swallowing Tyrell's bomb and flushing Tyrell down the drain of the club's ornamental fountain. The police arrive and arrest Tyrell's remaining henchmen, while Kellaway attempts to arrest Stanley once again. Tilton arrives and debunks Kellaway's statements, announcing to everyone that Tyrell was The Mask all throughout, and orders Kellaway to release Stanley. He then goes on to tell Stanley that he is a hero and thanks him for saving lives, and all charges against Stanley are dropped. Tilton then tells Kellaway that they will have a talk in his office in the morning.
As the sun rises the following day, Stanley, Tina, Milo, and Charlie take the mask back down to the harbor. Tina throws the mask into the water, and she and Stanley celebrate their victory as they kiss. Charlie attempts to retrieve the mask for himself, only to find Milo swimming away with it.
- Jim Carrey as Stanley Ipkiss / The Mask. Carrey commented that he characterized Stanley after his own father: "a nice guy, just trying to get by". Carrey was paid $450,000 for starring in the film, which was a huge bargain for New Line Cinema at the time.
- Cameron Diaz as Tina Carlyle, Dorian Tyrell's girlfriend and lounge singer of the coco bongo who later becomes Stanley's love interest. This role marked the feature film debut for Cameron Diaz. Before Diaz was cast, the studio considered casting Anna Nicole Smith, Vanessa L. Williams and Kristy Swanson. After Diaz auditioned twelve times for the role, she was finally cast only a week before filming began.
- Peter Greene as Dorian Tyrell, a mobster who wants to take over the city's underworld. Greene was cast after the studio's top choice, Gary Kemp, turned it down.
- Richard Jeni as Charlie Schumaker, Stanley's best friend and colleague.
- Peter Riegert as Lt. Mitch Kellaway, a cynical police detective who is on the hunt for The Mask.
- Jim Doughan as Det. Doyle, Lt. Kellaway's dim-witted partner.
- Amy Yasbeck as Peggy Brandt, a reporter with a crush on Stanley. In a deleted scene, Peggy is killed by Dorian when he first transformed by the Mask by throwing her into the newspaper press that shows papers with a picture of her being squashed on the front page.
- Orestes Matacena as Niko, a Greek mafia boss and Tyrell's arch nemesis.
- Nancy Fish as Mrs. Peenman, Stanley's grumpy land-lady.
- Tim Bagley as Irv Ripley, a mechanic who rips off Stanley.
- Johnny Williams as Burt Ripley, a mechanic and Irv's brother.
- Reginald E. Cathey as Freeze, Dorian Tyrell's trusted lieutenant and friend whose death, inadvertently caused by The Mask, drives Tyrell into a personal vendetta against Ipkiss.
- Denis Forest as Sweet Eddy, one of Tyrell's henchmen. Before Forest was cast, the studio considered Chris Elliott for the role.
- Ivory Ocean as Mayor Mitchell Tilton, the mayor of Edge City.
- Joely Fisher as Maggie, another one of Stanley's colleagues.
- Ben Stein as Dr. Arthur Neuman, a psychologist. He is the only character to appear in both The Mask and its sequel Son of the Mask.
- Royal Crown Revue as themselves / The Coco Bongo Band
The film was a box-office success, grossing $119 million domestically and over $350 million worldwide, becoming the second-highest grossing superhero movie at that time, behind Batman. Even though it has been out-grossed by several superhero movies throughout the years, it remains immensely popular, especially among children. The film also received positive reviews from critics, including Roger Ebert, of the Chicago Sun-Times, who gave the film 3 out of 4 stars, noting Jim Carrey for his "joyful performance." The Mask is one of three films featuring Carrey (the others being Ace Ventura: Pet Detective and Dumb and Dumber) released in 1994 that helped launch the actor to superstardom, though The Mask was the most successful of these three films both critically and commercially. The film is also notable for immediately establishing Diaz â" previously a complete unknown â" as a major star in Hollywood as well. The film is also considered a cult classic.
It currently holds a 77% "Certified Fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a consensus stating "It misses perhaps as often as it hits, but Carrey's manic bombast, Diaz's blowsy appeal, and the film's overall cartoony bombast keep The Mask afloat." On the television program Siskel & Ebert & the Movies, the critics gave the film "two thumbs up" and the movie went on their list of "Best of 1994". Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from film critics, gave The Mask a rating score of 56, indicating "mixed or average reviews" based on 15 reviews.
The film was nominated for Best Visual Effects at the 67th Academy Awards, but lost to Forrest Gump. In addition, Carrey was nominated for a Golden Globe. Conversely, he was also nominated for a Razzie Award for "Worst New Star". The Mask was also nominated for the American Film Institute's 10 Top 10 list as a fantasy film, and the Mask's quote "Somebody stop me!" was nominated for 100 Years...100 Movie Quotes, but neither of them made the list.
The Mask: Music From the Motion Picture was released on July 26, 1994 on Chaos Records, which is associated with Sony Music Entertainment. It features music from Xscape, Tony! Toni! TonÃ©!, Vanessa Williams, Harry Connick, Jr., Jim Carrey himself and more.
- "Cuban Pete" (C & C Pop Radio Edit) - Jim Carrey
- "Who's That Man?" - Xscape
- "This Business of Love" - Domino
- "Bounce Around" - Tony! Toni! TonÃ©!
- "(I Could Only) Whisper Your Name" - Harry Connick, Jr.
- "You Would Be My Baby" - Vanessa Williams
- "Hi De Ho" - K7
- "Let the Good Times Roll" - Fishbone
- "Straight Up" - The Brian Setzer Orchestra
- "Hey! Pachuco!" - Royal Crown Revue
- "Gee, Baby, Ain't I Good to You" - Susan Boyd
- "Cuban Pete" (Arkin Movie Mix) - Jim Carrey
The record label Epic Soundtrax released an orchestral score soundtrack to The Mask shortly after the original soundtrack's release. The score was composed and conducted by Randy Edelman and performed by the Irish Film Orchestra.
Orchestral score track listing
- Opening - The Origin of the Mask
- Tango In The Park
- Out of the Line of Fire
- A Dark Night
- The Man Behind the Mask
- Dorian Gets a New Face
- Looking for a Way Out
- The Search
- Forked Tongue
- Milo to the Rescue
- The Mask Is Back
The film was released on VHS and Laserdisc on January 18th 1995 (and later on DVD) by New Line Home Video. The VHS version included an interview between Jim Carrey and Space Ghost, as a promotion for their corporate sibling Cartoon Network's Space Ghost Coast to Coast after the film. It also had a trailer for Jim Carrey's then-upcoming film, Dumb and Dumber, and ads for the soundtrack to the film, and for what was then branded as Betty Crocker Pop Secret. It was later released on Blu-ray Disc on December 9, 2008. It has an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and is encoded in 1080p/VC-1. Its audio is a 5.1 Dolby TrueHD encoded at a 16 bit / 48Â kHz sample rate. Special features include additional scenes, production details and two commentary tracks, one by director Chuck Russell and the other by the rest of the production crew.
- Son of the Mask, a theatrical follow-up to The Mask
- Can't make the scene if you don't have the green, famous phrase from the movie
- The Mask at the Internet Movie Database
- The Mask at the TCM Movie Database
- The Mask at AllMovie