Jim Carrey's career has gone through some strange places, but all of it has no doubt been at his direction.
His early career and the work he's most known for came from broad, zany comedies like 'Ace Ventura', 'Dumb & Dumber' and 'Batman Forever', where his rubber-faced antics drew him huge commercial success and turned him into a household name. By the early aughts, Carrey had transitioned into much more cerebral work, with turns in movies like 'The Truman Show', 'Man On The Moon', and, of course, 'Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind'.
With that in mind, we've culled his work into what we think are five of his best scenes. Take a look.
5. 'Man On The Moon' - The Mighty Mouse Scene
If you saw the documentary 'Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond', you'll have some idea of just how far Jim Carrey pushed his performance for 'Man On The Moon'. It's a fascinating doc, precisely because it never once lets Carrey off the hook for being a complete and utter asshole throughout production. By the same token, it also attempts to understand and explain why he went that far, and whether or not he went too far. For all that work, this scene just encapsulates how deeply and how completely Carrey managed to channel Andy Kaufman into being. You can find the original video of this scene on YouTube, and compare the two beat for beat. He didn't act as Andy Kaufman. He became him.
4. 'Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind' - "You should read my journal, it's just... blank."
You have to understand how much a gamble this film was for Jim Carrey. He was one of the highest-paid actors working in Hollywood and had made a fortune playing up his loud, extroverted characters. So for him to literally run in the opposite direction with a director who was largely unknown at that stage and fully commit to it is pretty brave. Thankfully, it paid off in a massive way. 'Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind' is one of those films that everyone can remember how they felt when they saw it for the first time. It's equal parts beautiful, sad, funny and mind-bending, but this scene encapsulates what a vulnerable performance he gave.
3. 'Me, Myself & Irene' - "Price check on Vagi-Clean..."
What's great about 'Me, Myself & Irene' is that it showcases how much versatility Jim Carrey has in his performances. Playing a schizophrenic state trooper, one side of him is overly friendly, helpful but a wimp and the other being an unhinged maniac, Carrey shows that he can shape not only his face but his entire presence to fit whatever he needs to. This scene shows off the first time that "Hank" comes out. Aside from the insane contortions that his face takes on, it's more Carrey's ice-cold delivery of each and every line that makes it all the more effective.
2. 'Dumb & Dumber' - "Hey, wanna hear the most annoying sound in the world?"
As you're reading this, you're probably thinking to yourself that we've left out scenes from the likes of 'The Truman Show', maybe a scene or two from 'Bruce Almighty' or even something like 'Batman Forever'. That's the trouble with writing lists like this. You're almost always going to leave something out, so you have to trust your gut and pick what you feel is the best. There was simply no way we could write this article and not mention this scene. The best part? Jim Carrey completely improvised the most annoying sound in the world part. The Farrelly Brothers simply let Carrey off the leash to do whatever worked. This was what he came back with.
1. 'Ace Ventura: Pet Detective' - "Excuse me, I'd like to ASS you a few questions."
That Jim Carrey was able to take a script and concept that had done the rounds in Hollywood more than once - Whoopi Goldberg was even going to do it at one point - and turned it into the star-making role for him just shows what kind of talent he was. More than that, his skills with improvisation and ad-libbing just about every scene shows what a natural comedic talent he was. 'Ace Ventura' certainly isn't the most enlightened comedy there is, nor has it aged well in one particular aspect, but there are scenes like this that are so base funny, so stupid that you can't help but laugh, that you realise how Carrey became as famous as he was. He's literally doing a good-cop-bad-cop thing, but the bad-cop is an asshole. Like, an actual asshole. Genius.