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With: Jamie Kennedy, Alan Cumming, Ryan Falconer, Traylor Howard, Bob Hoskins, Ben Stein, Kal Penn
Written by: Lance Khazei
Directed by: Lawrence Guterman
MPAA Rating: PG for action, crude and suggestive humor and language
Running Time: 86
Date: 03/18/2013

Son of the Mask (2005)

1/2 Star (out of 4)

Too Twisted for Kids

By Rob Blackwelder, SPLICEDwire

As if the years-too-late notion of making a sequel to Jim Carrey's The Mask wasn't a bad enough idea all by itself, the kiddie-targeted comedy Son of the Mask is a transparently minimal effort in which many jokes and pivotal plot points are grossly inappropriate for children.

TV prankster Jamie Kennedy phones in a whiney performance as a stereotypically irresponsible, immature husband ("Come on honey, slow down! You know I can't run and apologize at the same time...") who discovers the mask that in 1994 turned Carrey's mind-mannered banker into a rubber-bodied, green-skinned lunatic straight out of a Tex Avery cartoon.

While Carrey's elastic face and bouncing-off-the-walls insanity rendered the spectacular special effects in The Mask almost unnecessary, when Kennedy puts on the titular head gear (an ancient artifact spawned of Loki, Norse god of mischief), his already lackluster performance disappears under an inch of expressionless green latex and a plastic pompadour. His Mask character isn't funny or screwball charismatic -- he's just an obnoxious bore.

But that doesn't stop him from going to a Halloween party and stripping several female guests down to their bras in a production number, then going home to impregnate his wife (Traylor Howard) while still possessed.

Nine months later she gives birth to a trouble-making baby that is half-human, half-Mask. If that sounds more like a horror movie than a family matinee to you, then you obviously don't work for NewLine Cinema.

The rest of the picture is spent watching Kennedy try to keep up with his child as all hell breaks loose. Most of the gags concern jealous attempts by the super-powered infant and the family dog (who is also turned into a cartoon by the mask) to kill each other. But it's also supposed to be funny when Kennedy almost electrocutes the baby with a broken lamp (mistaken for a bottle), and when he beats up his wife, having mistaken her for Loki (a manic Alan Cumming) after the childish god turns up demanding the return of his mask.

But suitable for children or not, Son of the Mask is a failure of false notes on almost every other count as well, from its who-cares acting to its obscenely obvious product placement to its wholly nonsensical third act, in which Loki and the dad have an overblown set-piece showdown over the mask and the baby -- even though both of them are initially seeking the same outcome, namely getting everything back to normal.

Scripted by Lance Khazei (a former staff writer for Bill Maher on "Politically Incorrect") and directed by Lawrence Guterman (Cats and Dogs), this movie continues to prove itself wrong for kids by providing a moral that implies any bad behavior is OK as long as you apologize afterwards.

How a movie this repulsive and misguided ever got made might seem like a mystery, but Son of the Mask actually explains that right in the story: When Kennedy's character, an aspiring animator, submits a sketch of himself as The Mask to his boss, the reaction is an enthusiastic, "This could be a franchise character!"

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