However, I think that audiences expecting a typical manic Jim Carrey movie like Liar Liar or The Mask
would probably be disappointed. People who dislike his usual comic style (like myself)
would probably be the ones most surprised by The Truman Show. It has Carrey in an
unusually restrained and sympathetic mode - it is probably director Peter (The Cars That Ate Paris, Picnic At Hanging Rock) Weir's
doing: after all, he managed to coax a similar restrained performance from Robin Williams
in Dead Poets' Society way back then.
The success of Carrey's role depends on him
playing the so-called "straight-faced man" - the only one who's sane while
everything around him is strange or unusual. Despite letting his usual
occasionally, Carrey (I'm glad to say) carries the role off excellently.
So what's The Truman Show about? No doubt
everybody knows by now: how the Carrey character is living in an artificial town that is
actually an enormous television studio. His every move is being broadcast as a live
television show. Carrey himself is, of course, unaware of what is going while everybody
else in the "town" is. While The Truman Show isn't a comedy as such,
there are some very funny moments along the way as Carrey gradually begins to suspect the
truth of his situation. Screenwriter Andrew Niccol, who penned the genetic engineering
gone rampant cautionary tale Gattaca, also makes some points
about our media obsessed society.
None of the insights are particularly profound or new as
anybody who has recently pondered the implications of Princess Diana's death and your
average Oprah Winfrey show will know. However, with today's standard multiplex-friendly
movies The Truman Show must count as very clever entertainment.
I suppose that The Truman Show's points have to be made again - although The
Truman Show never really examines our own roles in media today. Somehow it is easy for
us to criticize paparazzi chasing Princess Diana around while still buying (and poring
over) the magazines and newspapers that extensively feature those paparazzis' work.
critics have stated that The Truman Show is unlikely, that people wouldn't watch a
show about somebody leading a boring and unexciting life such as Truman's. Well, if that's
the case, then page through People magazine sometime and look at the photographs of
your favorite celebrity strolling in the park . . .