Did you happen to see that disheveled, pantsless, cake-smeared individual doing the Charleston down Barham this morning? No, no, no… not Tim Conway. The other one who looked a little like Jim Carrey in the middle of a Martin Lawrence-scale meltdown. I’m pretty sure that was actually Jim Carrey.
Kinda embarrassing, no? Perhaps. But if Tim Burton had just abandoned the one promising project I had in development following my ignominious participation in The Movie That Hated Hollywood’s Inbox (leaving me with a lighthearted comedy about a drunk trying to stay sober from the writer of Camp Nowhere), I’d probably skip showering for a few days, decline the comfort and concealment of trousers, roll around in the bakery display case at Albertsons for a few minutes and make like a deranged flapper up and down the path to Alan Horn’s place, too (which, given that murderous incline, would be terrific exercise)!
Is the loss of Burton on Ripley’s Believe It or Not* after the uber-awful Steve Oedekerk inexplicably jumped onboard to rewrite Scott Alexander & Larry Karaszewski worth all that? Taken on its own, no. But when you pile on 20th Century Fox defibrillating Used Guys – which the studio killed a year ago rather than shell out roughly $20 million apiece for the talent troika of Stiller/Carrey/Roach – and factoring you out of the equation in favor of the stupendously affordable Will Arnett… welcome to career free-fall!
If you want to attempt a positive spin on this, Fox is probably retaining Stiller not because Carrey’s washed up, but, rather, because he’s been extremely useful to them in the last year (i.e. A Night at the Museum). Carrey, on the other hand, has only made one film for Fox (Me, Myself & Irene), and that title underperformed for the studio in the summer of 2000. Also significant, Carrey has no real history with Jay Roach, while Stiller definitely does (to the tune of over $800 million worldwide).
But it’s never a good thing when the absence of your $20 million payday gets a troubled project greenlit. While it’s important to note that Used Guys – which, by the way, is a futuristic comedy about two cloned men searching for a male-friendly sanctuary in a matriarchal society – isn’t a go picture yet, the fact that everyone from the studio brass on down decided you were the least essential ingredient to the film’s potential success has to be a major blow to the ego.
Which brings us to this: does Jim Carrey have another career resuscitation in him?
*And that Michel Gondry "in talks" credit at the IMDb is not based in any reality I’m a part of.