Ah... The Mask, a fun little Jim Carrey romp from 1994. It's one of his works from early on in his A-list film career; specifically his first film to arrive in theaters after Ace Ventura Pet Detective. It's built on slapstick comedy and Jim Carrey contorting his face a little more than usual, and turned out to be very popular. It is based, Film of the Book style, on the comic book of the same name. Well, sort of. The original is not harmless slapstick, fitting much better in the comedy horror genre.The story of the film follows twenty-something Edge City banker Stanley Ipkiss as he finds a magical mask, endowed with the powers of the Norse Trickster god Loki, which effectively makes the wearer completely immune to absolutely everything, and capable of practically anything. In Stanley's case, this manifests as gaining the Reality Warper abilities of his beloved classic Tex Avery characters (stretching, shapeshifting, bouncing back from Amusing Injuries, and the like). While not quite reaching With Great Power Comes Great Insanity levels, he does use it to get back at the people that bullied the shy reserved nice guy Stanley, and to woo nightclub-singer Tina Carlyle (Cameron Diaz). When other less savory individuals get hold of it, the results are not so amusing.Following the success of this film was a well-received (and often very naughty) Saturday morning animated adaptation in 1995, which lasted until 1997.It had a Carrey-less pseudo-sequel, Son of the Mask, in 2005, which starred Jamie Kennedy and a CGI baby. It was poorly received by fans and critics.
Somebody trope me!
Absurdly Ineffective Barricade: Stanley sealing the gate to Landfill Park is a great example of this trope. He does it to keep Kellaway and Doyle inside... only to turn and find the rest of the police on the same side of the wall as him!
The Mask itself. In the comicbooks it is deliberately malevolent and corrupting and compels its wearers to commit atrocity after atrocity with the immense power it gives them, before they die and it goes to its next "master". In the film it simply removes all inhibitions, letting the wearer do whatever they want to. This is why Stanley Ipkiss becomes a wisecracking mischief-maker, but the villain lets loose with all of his evil.
The same can be said for Stanley Ipkiss himself. In the film he's a loveable loser with a lot of nevertheless redeeming qualities who ultimately learns to stop relying on The Mask to solve his problems, rises to the occasion, and gets the girl. In the comics he's a right-wing lunatic who uses The Mask as his personal hitman to kill those who wronged him for increasingly trivial reasons (such as suffocating his elementary school teacher), goes on a violent rampage against the police, and is ultimately shot and killed by his girlfriend.
All Therapists Are Muggles: The psychiatrist doesn't believe that the mask could have any supernatural properties. Of course, the mask fails to work when demonstrated. This is because it only works at night.
Almost Kiss: Stanley and Tina twice: once while he's in jail, and again right after he rescues her from Dorian Tyrell.
Anti-Hero: Stanley fits the classical Greek definition of the term (Type I). The Mask himself is probably a Type IV. Even though he isn't as violent as most anti-heroes, he's still willing to do many unheroic things with little regard for those around him. Both Stanley and his Mask persona graduate to full (and in the Mask's case, very weird) hero status by the end of the film.
Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Played straight and inverted in the same scene. While emptying The Mask's pockets in the park, the police find a pair of "funny eyeball glasses", to which The Mask acts as if they are incriminating ("I've never seen those before in my life."), but when a bazooka is extracted, he calmly states "I have a permit for that".
Ascended Extra: Stanley Ipkiss. In the comics, he was killed off at the end of the first story arc, but he became the main character of the movie and cartoon in the adaptations.
Ass Shove: Stanley uses the mask's powers to get back at his shady car mechanics by shoving exhaust pipes up their asses.
Beneath the Mask: Although it doesn't get played straight (it just happens literally), this trope is one of the major themes of the movie. As laid out by the psychiatrist, everyone wears social masks hiding who they really are underneath. Putting on the supernatural artifact causes the wearer to tear off their mask and embody their id. This means that Stanley becomes The Mask by removing his mask, which is neat. On the other hand, the villain, an unrepentant violent criminal, becomes demonic when he wears it. This still holds true for Dorian as well, since the mask that the Mask rips away is his pretenses of being a classy old-school style mobster with a legitimate business and a sense of fair play. He becomes a blunt, brutal, thoughtless thug who kills for fun and can't think beyond his next step in getting what he wants.
Inverted. Usually in a story involving a guy, a hot lady (usually a blonde and a performer), and a simple girl, the guy gets the simple girl and optionally the hot lady betrays him beforehand. Here the guy is betrayed by the simple girl and gets the hot blonde lady. It should be noted that the blonde starts off using Stanley in order to help her mobster boyfriend rob the bank and goes through a High Heel-Face Turn.
Discussed. Stanley's buddy keeps trying to steer him away from the hot blonde and towards the simple red head.
Bond One-Liner: "Snooze" and "You were good, kid, real good. But as long as I'm around, you'll always be second best, see?"
Born In The Theater: Stanley is a fan of old cartoons (classic Looney Tunes and Tex Avery in particular) so a lot of the jokes and gags he pulls have shades of this. In one scene he goes through an overly dramatic death scene, after which he's immediately handed an Oscar and a silhouette audience stands up and cheers. The other characters in the scene aren't freaked out by this; heck, Dorian even smoothes his hair down and stands up a tad straighter.
Bowel Breaking Bricks: The animated alarm clock spews a few cogs and springs just before The Mask smashes it with a giant hammer.
Breakout Character: Stanley Ipkiss, merely a one shot character from the original comics who lasted for about the same story arc he got introduced in, became the star in The Movie and since then became directly associated with The Mask, changing the original premise of the comic in which The Mask itself is what matters no matter who's the one wearing it.
Bring It: The title character to some robbers, and Dorian Tyrell to his boss Niko during their final confrontation.
Bullet Seed: Dorian Tyrell while wearing the mask, with actual bullets. Which were just fired at him.
Butt Monkey: Stanley — until he discovers the power within the Mask, that is. Also Kellaway, the hapless cop in pursuit of the Mask.
The Mask himself fits this trope when he gets carried away on his date with Tina.
The Cast Showoff: Yes, that is Jim Carrey singing "Cuban Pete". (That is not, however, Cameron Diaz singing in the nightclub, as anyone who has seen My Best Friends Wedding can attest.) Both Carrey and Diaz did all of their own dancing, Jim even helped choreograph the "Cuban Pete" number.
Clingy MacGuffin: Stanley tosses the Mask out a window, only for it to boomerang back onto his bed. At the end of the film, he manages to throw it into the river with no side effects, but then Milo dove in and fetches it.
Conspicuous CGI: Since the Mask has the powers of a cartoon character, it doesn't feel out of place. They weren't trying to make it realistic in the first place, it's deliberately cartoony. That it saves money on effects is just a nice bonus. Alternate explanation: The effects are realistic, it's just that the Mask doesn't fit with our concept of reality.
Double Standard: Rape, Male on Male: Two car mechanics are assaulted and raped by Stanley while wearing the mask. He rapes them in the ass with certain phallic car parts, and this is played for laughs in the movie. Few would consider this funny when done to a female character.
Face Palm: Dorian pinches the bridge of his nose during The Mask's overly-dramatic "death" scene.
Family-Unfriendly Death: An infamous deleted scene was going to have the Big Bad kill Peggy by crushing her to death using a printing press instead of Stanley Ipkiss after the latter is forced to give up the titular Mask so that the villain can become the Mask himself. Peggy then emerges out of the printing press as a newspaper written entirely in red ink, has a picture of her screaming, and is entitled "Reporter Killed in Freak Accident."
Fan Sequel: TheMaskStrikesBack by GM Finney Productions and Smigiel Productions. It was highly anticipated and liked by many fans of The Mask.
Stanley, after being reprimanded by his landlady for watching cartoons too loudly, apathetically flicks to a TV show with Dr Neuman who describes the metaphorical social mask suppressing the Id. Guess what the titular mask itself enables for those who wear it?
Iconic Outfit: The Mask's banana-yellow zoot suit and hat, which was based on a suit Jim Carrey's mom made for him when he first did stand-up.
I Lied: Tyrell, after Peggy sells Stanley out for money.
Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: Three+ cops fire at Stanley as he gets into Peggy's car. Not only do they not hit him, but they don't even graze her, despite her proximity and the fact that her window is open.
Impossibly Tacky Clothes: Stanley's pajamas, to the extent that Kellaway deduces that he is the title character when he finds a piece of them at the Coco Bongo after The Mask's run-in with Tyrell's men.
I Want Them Alive: Dorian Tyrell puts up fifty thousand dollars to anyone who can bring him The Mask.
In Name Only: This bears very little resemblance to the Comic Book it was based on, with this featuring more slapstick than what many consider Gorn.
Invisible Holes: After the Mask is shot by Tyrell's men, he takes a drink and the liquid sprays out of the bullet holes. "Did you miss me? I guess not!"
Jaw Drop: The title character when he sees Tina in the club.
Lighter and Softer: In the original comic, Stanley starts out as a half decent guy, but quickly degenerates into a Jerkass Psycho Killer under the Mask's influence. The Mask in the comic has an actual personality, and talks to (and through, when it's being worn) its "owner", and no-one appears to be able to wear the Mask without being corrupted.
Lost Forever: The special flavor of sherbet made by Baskin Robbins as a tie-in to The Mask. Green and yellow and two flavors of delicious. But it's Lost Forever because they won't bring it back and refuse to publish the recipe. Why, cruel world, why??
Nigh-Invulnerability: The mask basically grants its wearer this; both Stanley and Tyrell shrug off gunshots.
No Man Should Have This Power: At the end of the movie, Stanley tosses the Mask into the river. Of course, both Charlie and Milo immediately jump in after it..
No Name Given: Averted. Lt. Kellaway's first name was never said in the original comics or in the film's dialog, but it is given in the credits. It's Mitch.
Non-Human Sidekick: Milo the dog, who at first misunderstands the command to "Get the keys", picking up the cheese from the guard's sandwich before bringing the keys Stanley uses to escape from the jail cell.
Not What I Signed On For: Apparently, Peggy at least partially agreed to hand Stanley over to Dorian only if he swore not to hurt him, and is genuinely shocked when Tyrell has him dangled over a letter press.
Or Was It a Dream?: For like five seconds, Stanley convinces himself of this. Then Kellaway knocks on the door, and Stanley opens it to see Ms. Peenman screeching at a hole in the floor that the Mask made with his Hyperspace Mallet.
Quizzical Tilt: Stanley's dog Milo does this the first time Stanley turns into the title character.
Reality Warper: What the mask is apparently able to do: break physical laws.
Reality Warping Is Not a Toy: Played with; Stanley is a good guy and therefore as The Mask is Fun Personified and uses his powers largely for personal amusement. (He does get a little payback in on the side, though.) Dorian is a bad guy so as The Mask he's a vaguely demonic Humanoid Abomination who abuses his powers for revenge and murder.
Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: Played with — when the club bouncer asks if Stanley is on the list to get in, Stanley responds "nooooo, but I believe my friends are, perhaps you know them?" He holds up two wads of cash and throws them into the air as a distraction, walking in as the crowd swarms the bouncer to get the cash.
The first film makes out that Odin banished Loki into a mask, from Valhalla, due to his mischievousness. Such a thing never happened (the closest is that Loki was banished from the company of the gods for many other reasons that culminated in duping Hodir into killing Baldur). Nor was Valhalla the home of the Norse Gods, Odin in particular had many other residences in Asgard. A more accurate statement would have been to say that Odin banished him from Asgard (a mildly accurate statement, at least).
Loki appears in the sequel, and more or less angrily says that the guy who said this was full of shit. The same film also makes the statement that Loki is Odin's biological son rather than his blood brother (the Marvel Comics trap), though.
One notable Shout-Out to a live-action movie is to The Untouchables. When the hero is frisked, his Bag of Holding turns up a whole lot of junk, including a BAZOOKA, to which he calmly says, "I have a permit for that," precisely the same words used in similar circumstances by Frank "the Enforcer" Nitti. The last item pulled out is a photograph which is a nod to actor Peter Riegert's previous work on Animal House.
Also, Dirty Harry (probably a shout out for Clint Eastwood being one of Jim Carrey's impersonations in stand-up as well as Carrey having a minor part in The Dead Pool), and Sally Field at the Oscars, following this gem of a quote:
Took a Level in Badass: The entire climax of the film — Stanley without the Mask breaks out of jail, cold cocks the guard, takes the detective who was hounding him hostage and walks out of the precinct (pretending to be his prisoner and pleading his innocence!). He then arrives at the club, knocks out ANOTHER guard, takes ANOTHER gun and faces off with Evil Mask. All this from the meek "good guys finish last" banker. Oh yeah that's a level of Badass alright. This is after shouting down his boss in epic fashion after the money-swindler tries to chew him out for being late. Definitely a step up from earlier in the movie.
Troll: The Mask is a living embodiment. Just imagine him smiling with a more stretched smile, saying "Problem?" or "lol u mad?", and going "TROLOLOLOLOL" instead of his strange laughter, and you've got yourself a textbook troll. He even makes troll science real!
The Mask's Pepe Le Pew impersonation. "Our love is like a red red rose, and I am a little thorny!"
"Kiss me, mah dear, and Ah will reveal mah croissant, Ah will spread your paté, Ah will dip mah ladle in your vichyssoise!" (Groin Attack ensues)
Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Aside from Dorian, people seem more interested in Stanley's crimes as The Mask than his blatant Reality Warper powers. For instance the cops are seemingly unfazed when they frisk him and pull dozens of items from his pockets larger than the pockets, and a group of muggers are happy to receive balloon animals from the man they were just mugging who has just changed clothes and produced a cane and podium from nowhere.
What Happened to the Mouse?: Peggy Brandt, who seems to disappear from the main action towards the end. In a deleted scene, we saw her death: Dorian Tyrell caught her trying to sneak off with her money, at which point he threw her into a newspaper machine. This being "The Mask," her death was cartoonish: an "extra edition" came out of the machine, printed in red ink. Peggy's visibly pained face was on the front page, along with the accompanying headline.
Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: Dorian has Stanley captive but gives him over to the police, effectively killing two birds with one stone: the cops leave him alone and he gets rid of Stanley for good.
Wild Take: The Mask after seeing the police outside the park. It details both an Eye Pop and his entire skull popping out of his head.
With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: Stanley and Milo when they don the mask. This is apparently the way the mask functions. The only ones that are immune to this are those who already are insane.
Working the Same Case: An example with criminals. Dorian was planning on robbing Stanley's bank but the Mask hits it first, leading to a brief exchange.
World of Weirdness: Best-fitting trope to describe how everyone just goes along with Stanley being "a guy in a big green mask" and totally ignoring the fact that he can turn into an ice statue and cartoon wolf, make people sing with him and pull cannons out of his pockets.
Wrongful Accusation Insurance: Stanley breaks out of a jail cell, assaults an officer, steals his gun, kidnaps another officer at gunpoint and steals his car, yet receives no punishment. Even worse, he commited the crime he was held for and there was evidence of him doing so. The trope is justified because the mayor thinks Stanley is a hero who was framed by Dorian.
Mayor: Dorian Tyrell was "The Mask." I saw it with my own eyes.
X-Ray Sparks: Shortly, the first time Stanley puts on the Mask.