Has Jim Carrey jumped the shark?

Jim Carrey. Love the guy. Totally killed in The Cable Guy. Totally melted our hearts in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. But, it seems, not everybody is such a fan these days. Check out the sluggish opening-weekend gross for his latest movie, The Number 23: just $14.6 million, his fourth-worst premiere since he achieved superstardom back in 1994. Indeed, the erstwhile Ace Ventura’s box office returns have been declining during the past several years. Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas earned $260 million in 2000 and Bruce Almighty brought in $242.8 million in 2003, but his other big Hollywood projects this decade — Me, Myself & Irene, The Majestic, Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, and Fun With Dick and Jane — haven’t come close.

Which leads to the troubling question: Is Jim Carrey’s popularity on the wane? And, if so, why? Does stardom, especially comedy cred, have a definite lifespan? (Quick aside: This thought occurred to me as I stood in line, right next to none other than Chevy Chase, waiting to have my audience with Al Gore at EW’s Oscar party in L.A. last week. I mean, one of the biggest stars of the 1980s in the same pathetic position as little old me!) Have folks grown tired of Carrey’s shtick, even when he’s being serious? Or did The Number 23 perform poorly at the box office because the dark, R-rated thriller is so out of character for the comedy genius? (Were ticketbuyers actually swayed by the reviews?) Will he be able to turn things around? How?


Comments (49 total) Add your comment
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  • Fatima

    Sorry, the caps were needed. I HATE that phrase so much I didn’t even read the article.

  • Josh

    A part of me wants to say “reviews,” but with “Ghost Rider” at No. 1, maybe not. Still, perhaps people saw the previews for Nic Cage and thought, huh, looks like fun; whereas they looked at the previews for ‘Number 23′ and thought, ‘Huh, looks kinda like ‘Secret Window.’ That movie was lame.’

  • Jennifer

    I don’t think it’s Carrey as a comedian. I just think he’s not making movies with the same type of appeal. I have nothing against Carrey– I didn’t see The Number 23 because I don’t think it looks good. I don’t care who is in it. It’s the same reason I failed to watch Me, Myself, and Irene, Fun with Dick and Jane, and The Majestic. If Jim Carrey starts starring in more appealing movies, they’ll make more money.

  • Evan

    This is an illogical article. ‘The Number 23′ may not be a classic, but Jim is still popular and people want to watch him. This is a different genre and it will take time for the masses to accept him in a thriller. Just like if Will Smith did a musical, you have to win over your own audience. Jim’s next film will probably be a comedy, and he WILL make another serious film. He’s an artist.

  • Stacey

    All Jim needs is a good comedy. Or a decent movie. Yes Number 23 was a departure. I didn’t see it, because it’s not my style. I am sure he’ll eventually find something that connects with the audience. I still think he has it in him.

  • Luke

    Jim Carrey is just selecting different roles. More artistic deep roles that are a challenge to him. He probably doesn’t care about the money or the fame anymore especailly after spending the last 10 years on the top. If Carrey made a comedy that had mass appeal like “Bruce Almighy” or “Fun With Dick and Jane” again and there is good marketing, sure he will role in $250 million. But what is so wrong with $100 million or even $60 million for a pyscho thriller. Johnny Depp did Secret Window which made $47 million and nobody kept saying his career was over. Same with Will Ferrel, he makes Kicking and Screaming a $30 million dud, but hes on top. Save your jumped the shark for people who really screwed up like Russel Crowe or Tom Hanks.

  • Ceballos

    This article fails to mention that Lemony Snicket and Fun with Dick and Jane easily cleared $100 million, and “Irene” made $90 mil, which is really good for a comedy…Dick and Jane wouldn’t have gotten anywhere near $100 mil without Carrey.
    It’s probably simple…The Number 23 didn’t do well because it’s no good (and it didn’t have a built-in fanbase like “Ghost Rider”…which is also no good)

  • Phil

    I wanted to see the Number 23 badly, but then I was in Florida on vacation, and the screening was the night I was set to get home from my trip. i couldn’t go, so I let my friends use my passes, and every single one of them said and I quote, “IT WAS THE WORST MOVIE I’VE EVER SEEN.” I was like OMG, could all four of them who never agree on ANYTHING possibly have all disliked this movie THAT much? So due to their criticism, i’ve failed to work the nerve up to sit through the movie, and then saw the disappointing first week box office reports and thought, I guess most of America agrees with my four friends! And gotta second Fatima, JUMPING THE SHARK is about as annoying as PopWatchers devoting quotes to the character Valerie Cherish every now & again. Hate the catch phrase and hate the comparisons to the Lisa Kudrow character. There is a REASON her show lasted only a season. THERE WILL BE NO SECOND COME BACK!

  • aa

    love jim carrey; esotsm is in my top ten movies. the reason that i won’t be going to see 23 is that it looks crappy. the previews and the clips of he and v. madsen trying to look all badass are laughable. when he does something good again i’ll be front and center.

  • t3hdow

    Using the phrase ‘jumped the shark’ is way too overused these days. Use some other trite expression, but please refrain from saying that one. I have to hear it every week I visit the ’24’ TV Watch.
    With that said, it’s a shame The Number 23 didn’t do so well. I thought it looked ok from the previews, unlike Epic Movie, Norbit and Ghost Rider (yet somehow, each of those three awful films earned over $30 million at least). Jim Carrey’s appeal has thinned out over the years, but if he starts making a few more decent films, he’ll be back on top.

  • sam

    I am tired of him. We waited for the Lemony Snicket movie to come out with great anticipation–he should have been perfect in the role. But his constant mugging and need to be the center of attention in every scene ruined the movie. He has no self control–same thing happened to Jerry Lewis in his later years.

  • EP Sato

    He’s just got to make better movies. Bruce Almighty was pretty good, all the other junk post Grinch has been well, junk.
    Poor reviews (or good ones) only affect movies that people didn’t really plan to see. Popcorn fare can make money without decent reviews because there’s usually something appealing (hot Latina actor, famous comic book franchise, or better yet, both like Ghost Rider). I didn’t plan to see Pan’s Labyrinth, but will go thanks to the reviews. The reviews sucked for Fantastic Four, but let’s face it, fanboys have waited since 1963 to see The Thing in a movie.
    On the other hand, when studio a movie tries to be “memento” or the next “Fight Clib”, it’s got to seriously up the ante. These movies appeal to a more fickle moviegoer, the kind who want written proof that the flick’s worth more than popcorn fare and isn’t just SAYING that it’s smarter than popcorn fare.

  • Slammy

    I thought he was jumping Jenny McCarthy.

  • Cheri

    He’s not on the wane – he’s just not picking the right movies. Trust me, all of America would flock to see him if he jumped back into some big physical comedy movie again.

  • Fatima

    Phil- Was that implying that I quote the Comeback or that Slezak does? Either way, it doesn’t bug me. Jump the Shark bugs me because there is someone on every single message board for every single show claiming events as bad as a so-so episode are shark-worthy. Going on a Lost message board is like the online version of a root canal.

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