The Cable Guy

Bomb Rating: 

Is Ben Stiller the director? Or is he Jim Carrey's personal ass-kisser?

Is Ben Stiller the director? You know, the guy who runs the show?Or is he Jim Carrey's personal ass-kisser? When Carrey goes to the bathroom, does he call Stiller into his trailer to wipe his butt? It sure seems that way -- in a movie where the lead role demands some sense of subtlety, Stiller steps aside and simply lets Carrey do what he does best: pitch every joke like a two-ton softball. The result is like watching Chris Farley in the title role of "Long Jump: The Carl Lewis Story."

As Chip Douglas (Carrey) tries to befriend and then torture cable subscriber Steven Kovacs (Matthew Broderick), Stiller, dutiful butler that he is, announces each joke as it enters the room. You'll have plenty of time to turn to your neighbor and say something like, "Hey, buddy, here comes the joke. Do ya think Jim Carrey is gonna act all goofy or something?"

First, there's an episode in a "Medieval Times" restaurant that drags on forever, followed by a Karaoke singing party that drags on forever, followed by a "Porno Password" game that drags on forever. All three scenes emphasize Stiller's submission to Carrey's goofiness to the point of absolute predictability. The only suspense the audience experiences is in the form of such questions as:

(1) "Chip and Steven are going to fight at the Medieval Times restaurant. I wonder which weapons they'll use?"

(2) "Chip is going to do a Karaoke song. Do you think he'll act all goofy or something?"

(3) "Steven is going to have to get his mother to say some nasty words in 'Porno Password.' How loudly will the teenagers behind me giggle when she says 'penis' and 'dildo'?"

Speaking of schtick, when will Matthew Broderick stop playing Ferris Bueller? Maybe he needs his first prostate exam or his first hemorrhoid before he feels ready to drop the boyish innocence bit. Maybe the filmmakers should have just titled this film "The Cable Guy Kills Ferris Bueller" and made it about five minutes long.

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