Me, Myself And Irene DVD

“Is that another chicken joke?” Not since Joanne Worley bellowed that line on “Laugh-In” has fowl been so chic. After roosting with the fine feathered friends of “Chicken Run” for an hour-and-a-half, you would assume that you’ve heard and seen every chicken joke and pun imaginable.


You would be wrong.

me_myself_irene_dvd_coverThe filmmakers behind “Me, Myself & Irene” do something with a chicken you don’t normally see in a movie, at least this side of the Mexican border. It starts with a bet about a chicken egg and its ability not to break under tight conditions. It ends with one of the most outrageous sight gags I have seen since Cameron Diaz used Ben Stiller’s man mousse as hair gel in “There’s Something About Mary.”

Outrageous sight gags are the calling card of directors/writers Bobby & Peter Farrelly, whose enjoyment of humiliating their stars actually pays off for the audience. Their track record speaks for itself: Jeff Daniel’s massive dump in “Dumber & Dumber,”; Woody Harrelson downing bull sperm instead of milk in “Kingpin,”; the little-dab-will-do-you hair gel scene in “There’s Something About Mary.”

Signature scenes that demand you pay attention, scenes that in less talented hands would be offensive and immoral. Instead, The Farrelly brothers create endearing characters who just happen to become embroiled in outrageous situations. Because the characters are written with affection and hope, we forgive their involvement. When Daniel’s ends up on the can for what seems like an eternity, we’re not laughing at his sorry state, but because most of us have been there.

The Farrelly brothers put our lives under a microscope, amplifying them into comic proportions. They always manage to come up with an oddball gallery of characters, yet they are not so extreme they become unapproachable. It’s the filmmaker’s ability (along with co-writer Mike Cerrone) to balance the madness with some degree of honesty and heart that makes their films so enjoyable and accessible.

“Me, Myself & Irene” features a winning performance from Jim Carrey, who plays Rhode Island patrol officer Charlie Bailygates, a 17-year veteran whose stressed-out life has caused his personality to split in two. Carrey is the Farrelly’s best weapon, a man-child who can bring out the innocence in the sweet character Charlie, and the nasty disposition of the mean-spirited alter-ego Hank.

Those concerned about the film’s attempt to make light of a serious subject needn’t be. This isn’t that film. Despite the film’s continual stream of jokes and sight gags, Charlie’s condition isn’t one of them. The person he becomes is, and Hank is such an exaggeration it’s hard to take him seriously.

As Charlie, Carrey once again shows us his loveable, puppy dog persona. Charlie is so good natured that he never accepts the fact that his three African-American sons are actually the by-product of his wife’s affair. Instead, he raises them as his own, creating a family unit that is built on love and respect. His relationship with the three Mensa smart sons is one of the film’s best assets.

It takes a real woman to tame two Carrey’s, and Renee Zellweger is more than up for the challenge. The wispy star of “Jerry Maguire” is quite engaging as Irene Waters, a woman on the run who turns to Charlie/Hank for help. Just getting through a scene with Carrey without breaking up is tough, yet Zellweger provides much more. She manages to make us care about her plight and relationship with the dynamic duo.

The plot is feather thin, but it only serves as a framework to allow Carrey to strut his stuff. The fun comes watching the cast execute the rapid-fire screenplay with total conviction. For any of this to work, the stars have to connect with the material, and they do. When Charlie and Irene come across an injured cow in the middle of the road, their attempts to put it out of its misery are so extreme that all the humor would be lost if they didn’t believe in the moment.

The Farrelly’s are noted for their strong casts, and “Me, Myself & Irene” is no different. Robert Forster shows concern as Charlie’s supervisor, and Chris Cooper gets the chance to lighten up as a police lieutenant whose desperation suggests something more sinister. Anthony Anderson, Mongo Brownlee and Jerod Mixon are hysterical as Charlie’s sons, while Michael Bowman gets the Chris Elliott role of an albino waiter with a secret past.

The actors put a lot of faith in the Farrelly brothers, who have shown time and time again they know what is funny. Their twisted take on everyday life is refreshing and edgy, and I like that. I like humor that takes chances, that pushes the politically correct envelope a little further. The Farrelly brothers put all of this on the screen with the same conviction as their actors. They have to. The second they flinch or apologize the illusion is ruined and the emperor has no clothes.

There’s no naked ambition in the film’s technical credits. They’re the best, from Mark Irwin’s nicely framed cinematography, to Peter Yorn and Lee Scott’s snappy scored lined wall to wall with the Farrelly’s usual eclectic collection of tunes.

The Farrelly’s make no apologies with “Me, Myself & Irene.” From the first frame, they pull out all the stops. It’s a hard to pace to maintain, and even though the film does drag a little, it more than redeems itself with some of the funniest, nastiest jokes on screen this year. The hens in “Chicken Run” were worried about being made into pies. After seeing what happens to one of their own in “Me, Myself & Irene,” I’m sure becoming a pie is the least of their worries.

COMPLETE CHECK-UP

VISION: 20/20

check.gif (406 bytes)1.85:1 Widescreen

check.gif (406 bytes)16:9 Enhanced

Vibrant colors, realistic flesh tones and industrial-strength blacks are at the heart of a flawless digital transfer, delivered in the film’s original widescreen format. Excellent attention to detail and depth of field provide for a near perfect viewing experience. You can make out the smallest details like hair on a cow. Transfer from pristine print allows for pure whites, while blacks and shadows are solid. No visible pixelation or noise. The colors are bright and cheery, with no bleeding or fading. Saturation levels are perfect.

HEARING: Excellent

check.gif (406 bytes) Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround

check.gif (406 bytes) Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround in English & French

Playful 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround soundtrack makes good use of all sound fields. Excellent surround effects, including a truly amazing front-to-rear spatial separation that engulfs you in it’s precision. You honestly feel like the action is happening around you. Front sound field is honest, with near-perfect left-to-right stereo split and a strong dialogue mix. Rear speakers come alive with all sorts of data, from realistic ambient noise to powerful musical cues. Deep basses are there but only used when needed, while the middle and high ends are clean and completely free of noise and distortion.

ORAL: Good

check.gif (406 bytes) Closed Captions for the Hard of Hearing in English.

check.gif (406 bytes) Subtitles in Spanish.

COORDINATION: Excellent

check.gif (406 bytes) Full-length audio commentary with the directors. Okay, I’ve sat through three of the Farrelly brother’s full-length audio commentaries, and you know what? They’re all the same. Instead of spending time cluing us in on the intricacies of making the film, they feel more at home pointing out the endless list of friends they cast in the film. At first it’s quaint, but it wears thin real fast.

check.gif (406 bytes) Ten Deleted scenes with optional audio commentary, plus optional branching so you can insert the deleted scenes into the actual film.

check.gif (406 bytes) Six lengthy making-of featurettes that are the best thing about the DVD. These featurettes go behind the scenes, allowing us to become the fly on the wall as Carrey and crew work through the everyday hassles of making a big budget studio movie. With interviews, asides and alternate takes of scenes, these moments are priceless.

check.gif (406 bytes) The original electronic press kit from the film.

check.gif (406 bytes) Still gallery with a healthy selection of images.

check.gif (406 bytes) Television and theatrical trailers and commercials.

check.gif (406 bytes) “Breakout” music video by Foo Fighters.

check.gif (406 bytes) Hidden outtakes.

check.gif (406 bytes) DVD-ROM features, including the full script with direct scene access, plus web links to the film’s official site.

PROGNOSIS: Excellent

You don’t have to be crazy to appreciate this hilarious and fun-filled DVD.

VITALS:

$26.99/Rated R/116 Minutes/Color/20 Chapter Stops/Keepcase

ATTENDING RESIDENT: John Larsen

PATIENT: ME, MYSELF & IRENE

BIRTH DATE: 2000

HMO: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment



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