Hollywood conventional wisdom holds that it’s been a rough last couple of years for Jim Carrey, which is pretty remarkable considering that he did star in a movie that made over $200 million worldwide. Unfortunately, that movie, Fun with Dick and Jane, was heavily re-shot to the tune of $100 million; studio accounting never ceases to amaze and depress me, but I think it’s safe to say Sony might still be in the red on that one. Compounding Carrey’s bad luck was Used Guys, a proposed teaming with fellow comedy titan Ben Stiller that got abruptly kiboshed by 20th Century Fox for specious budgetary reasons (I mean, when has Fox ever flinched at overspending on garbage?), and Ripley’s Believe It or Not, another ignominiously delayed star vehicle which might still happen with Tim Burton directing (though no one still in possession of their frontal lobe is actually looking forward to Steve Oedekerk’s rewrite of Scott Alexander & Larry Karaszewski’s very respectable draft). And then there was The Number 23, a misconceived thriller that haunted my inbox with quite possibly the dumbest publicity stunt in the history of film marketing before justly bombing.
So, yeah, for the first time since Once Bitten, it actually sucked to be Jim Carrey. And while I can only be so sympathetic to a man who has made $20 million per picture for most of the last decade, there’s no pleasure to be derived from Carrey’s struggles. He’s a tremendously talented actor who seemed to be turning a corner with Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind – without question, his best work – before unexpectedly spinning out with two underperforming seasonal tentpoles (I’ll save my earnest defense of Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events for another time).
Thank god, then, for Ian Roberts and Jay Martel, two very funny gentlemen whose spec script, Me Time, has been snatched up by those spendthrifts at Fox as a potential vehicle for the down-and-out Mr. Carrey. To be honest, I’m not familiar with Martel’s work, but anyone worthy enough to write with UCB Vet and Nick Fury action figure model Ian Roberts must be a mensch. Their script concerns an author plunged into a masculine crisis whilst writing a book based on the life of his frontier-hardened great-great-grandmother. The writer’s spiritual turmoil is exacerbated when his wife becomes bed-ridden due to pregnancy, thus forcing him to take on more domestic responsibilities. This must’ve been a tough pitch.
Will it actually get made? I think so. Jim Carrey in the right comedy is still good for a $30 million opening. He’s no Seth Rogen, but he’ll make you some coin. You’ll probably not give a shit to know that I’ll be chasing down Me Time for a future "Crop Report".