Despite being one of the biggest movie stars in the world with countless box office hits, Jim Carrey is a pretty divisive actor. Some fans appreciate his knack for rubbery expressive comedy, but others criticize this performing style as overacting.
While he was once possibly the most bankable star in the world, his status has dropped in the past few years and he hasn’t really starred in a major hit since 2008’s Yes Man. Still, he’s left behind a very impressive body of work and there’s every chance his star could rise again. So, here are Jim Carrey’s 10 Best Movies, According To Rotten Tomatoes.
10 Man on the Moon (63%)
It was a dream come true when Jim Carrey was cast to play one of his idols, comedy legend Andy Kaufman, in a biopic. Directed by the great Milos Forman, this biopic plays around with the rules a lot.
There are dramatic moments and it follows a familiar formula, but there’s also a lot of Kaufman-esque comic trickery at play. As a recent Netflix documentary can attest to, Carrey went a little cuckoo on the set as he refused to break character for the entire shoot, even when the cameras weren’t rolling. But it’s hard to deny that Kaufman himself would’ve been proud.
9 Dumb and Dumber (67%)
This road comedy by the Farrelly brothers should never have gotten a sequel. The original stands perfectly on its own as one of the funniest movies ever made and no sequel could live up to that (especially the trainwreck we were eventually served in 2014).
Few comedies have a gag rate this rapid and even fewer have such a high rate of gags actually landing. Everything in the screenplay for Dumb and Dumber is carefully considered to deliver an infinitely funny moviegoing experience: the plot as a whole is funny, the individual scenes stand alone as funny, and each of those scenes is filled with hysterical one-liners and wordplay. Frankly, in terms of laughs, Dumb and Dumber is up there with Airplane! and The Naked Gun.
8 I Love You, Phillip Morris (71%)
This real-life story of con artist Steven Jay Russell has a darker sense of humor than Jim Carrey’s fans are used to, and it’s got a lot more dramatic elements than his usual work, but it’s still a lot of fun. Russell went to prison, fell in love with a fellow inmate named Phillip Morris (who, here, is played by Ewan McGregor), and when Morris was released, he broke out of prison a whopping four times just to be with him.
It’s a delightful story with more complex acting than Carrey is usually given the chance to do. Critic Steve Persall described it perfectly: “Catch Me If You Can mashed up with Brokeback Mountain if Mel Brooks directed.”
7 Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events (72%)
Jim Carrey found Count Olaf, the lead antagonist role in Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, to be the perfect part for him to play. He loves character work, and Olaf isn’t just an eccentric character on his own – he’s a bad actor who disguises himself as other people.
So, Carrey got to play a bunch of different characters who were being played by another character. He was eager to do a sequel to the movie, and he never likes to do sequels, but unfortunately, due to its unusually dark tone for a kids’ movie, it didn’t perform so well at the box office.
6 The Mask (77%)
The movie that made Jim Carrey’s career was a comic book movie, but not the kind of comic book movie that now floods theaters every couple of weeks. The Mask is about an ordinary man who is granted extraordinary powers, sure, but he doesn’t use them to save the world. The Mask is more like The Nutty Professor than Spider-Man, and obviously, a slapstick-based Jerry Lewis-esque role is right in Carrey’s wheelhouse, so it’s a brilliant movie.
On a side-note, Carrey isn’t the only A-list star whose career began with The Mask. You’ll also see a young Cameron Diaz make her starring debut in the film.
5 Horton Hears a Who! (79%)
This animated adaptation of the Dr. Seuss classic (funnily enough, the first-ever fully animated feature-length adaptation of the author’s work) takes the gloss of CG animation but gives it the whimsy of the iconic illustrations from Seuss’ work. Jim Carrey voices the titular elephant, who realizes that a tiny civilization lives on a speck of dust on top of a flower and will do anything to protect them.
Steve Carell plays the mayor of this civilization, while Seth Rogen lends his voice to Horton’s mouse sidekick, the aptly named Morton. It’s a heartwarming movie that tells us that even the smallest people matter.
4 Liar Liar (81%)
Jim Carrey loves high-concept movies that he can dig his teeth into. A prime example of this is Liar Liar, in which he plays a lawyer who, thanks to his son’s birthday wish, is unable to lie for 24 hours. This led to hilarious scenes like Carrey rattling off a comprehensive list of offenses he’d just committed to a cop who pulled him over and beating himself up in a men’s room to get out of court.
But ultimately, the movie carries a strong message. You shouldn’t lie to your kids – or anyone, for that matter – and Fletcher learns that the hard way in this movie. It’s far from a flawless movie, but fans of Carrey will definitely get their fill.
3 Peggy Sue Got Married (85%)
Directed by The Godfather’s Francis Ford Coppola, Peggy Sue Got Married stars Kathleen Turner as a woman in her 40s who is ready to divorce her husband, Charlie, played by Nicolas Cage and is filled with regret about how her life has played out.
Then, she gets the opportunity to go back in time and start all over again. She can prevent herself from ever marrying Charlie in the first place. That is, until she finds herself charmed by him all over again. Jim Carrey plays a minor role as Walter Getz, and since the movie came out almost a decade before Carrey became a star, he’s virtually unrecognizable.
2 Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (93%)
Screenwriter Charlie Kaufman has made a career out of taking something we can all relate to, like the feeling of despair and hopelessness after a relationship, and spin it into something cinematic, like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Jim Carrey stars as Joel, a guy who falls head over heels in love with a girl, played by Kate Winslet, who breaks his heart.
Unable to get her out of his head, he hires a company to get her out of his head using experimental new technology. Naturally, it goes wrong and he ends up trapped in his own memories. It’s very strange, but also very powerful.
1 The Truman Show (94%)
This trippy work of social science fiction could easily be an episode of Black Mirror. Jim Carrey plays Truman Burbank, a regular guy who has never left his small town and lives a quiet existence. He starts to notice unusual things about his life and soon realizes that there are cameras on him at all times, broadcasting his every move to a world filled with adoring viewers.
When he discovers the truth and tries to escape, the director of the show becomes mad with power and would rather kill him than see him leave town and experience the real world. His fans all rally behind him. It’s very satirical, yet also very moving stuff.