Chitika Ad

Monday, September 26, 2011

My 100 Worst Movies of the 90's - 77 - The Cable Guy (1996)

Comedy is a delicate genre.  You have to balance believability and the likability of the characters with the chaos and antics of the humor.  The Cable Guy does this poorly.  The problem with the Cable Guy is it takes the stalker story in a direction that is so unnerving, so uncomfortable, that while re-watching this one, I felt a little disturbed for actually liking it as a youth.  

The Cable Guy casts a talented Jim Carrey in a role that was not written with any of his previous characters in mind.  I don’t really blame Carrey for how bad this character is, I don’t think anyone could play this one well.  He plays a cable installer who hooks up a man’s cable after he moves into an apartment during a rough patch with his ex-fiance.  After offhandedly calling Carrey’s character “friend”, the titular cable guy begins to pursue Broderick so aggressively, it’s not funny, it’s just disturbing.  Matthew Broderick really seems out of place here, and I think he’s a little confused about what is going on with the all the lights and the cameras pointed at him, and the fact that there’s a dude shouting “Action” and “Cut” a lot.

The film is the product of screenwriter Lou Holtz Jr.  He has no other film credits to his name.  Ben Stiller directed and makes a brief cameo but it is completely irrelevant to the plot.  In fact, there’s a lot of that in this film.  There’s a subplot where Broderick’s character has plans to go to a concert with Jack Black, and one involving a karaoke party with a group of random characters and neither serve any purpose to the story.  The film’s apparent need to constantly sidetrack the stalker plot proves this is weak material.  The screenplay is riddled with Carrey laying out bad TV-related puns an a voice that makes Bobby Boucher sound like Cary Grant, Broderick seeming surprisingly unfazed most of the time but occasionally mildly annoyed by his admirer's antics and the supporting cast that usually pops up on the opposite end of a phone call to interrupt an already weak scene.  

Now, for why this movie is so creepy.  In the intro paragraph, I referred to this film as “unnerving”.  Carrey’s character (we never get his real name) is so disturbed and unstable from the very beginning of the film that the fact that Broderick continually allows himself to get sucked into his psychotic games makes no sense.  Still, many of the antagonist’s actions in this film are either cringe-worthy or criminal.  When Carrey isn’t trying to kill Broderick (something he does multiple times), he is aggressively inserting himself into his life.  Broderick’s family and inner circle are obviously a bunch of idiots however because they join this obviously insane stranger to play sexually-themed games alongside his target’s parents and girlfriend.  This scene in particular, as Broderick is paired with his mother and pressured (even by mom!) to play Password with sex terms, is so sickening that I have actually seen censored cuts of this movie in the past with this entire section of the film removed (noting again, I used to LIKE this trash... don’t ask me why).  

The Cable Guy is a dark mess and it all falls apart at the end in a scene that feels as though it belongs in a much better movie.  We get Carrey’s lisping villain explaining the reason he is what he is and constantly giving false names that are stolen from television characters while swinging from the top of a television tower after kidnapping Broderick’s girlfriend and forcing her up there with him, threatening to kill her and himself.  

Structurally this movie is messy, filled with holes and unnecessary violence.  The scenes do not really seem to flow all too well and many of the moments feel like sketches with the same characters over and over.  You can literally take many of these scenes and switch them around and have no effect on the actual movie.  There isn’t any cohesion between the events and most of the supporting characters only pop in when the plot needs them to, then they just disappear, some are never shown or even spoken of again.  There is a lot wrong with everything everybody does in this movie.  Nobody with a brain would react to Carrey’s character the way these characters do and that simply means that they only accommodated and tolerated him because the plot said so.  That makes this entire movie completely pointless and, therefore, stupid.

No comments:

Post a Comment