The Cable Guy (1996)

Ben Stiller directs Jim Carrey, Matthew Broderick and Leslie Mann in this dark comedy where a broken hearted yuppie finds himself stalked by the man who installed his television cable.

Uneven but better than it’s bad reputation. When Jim Carrey unexpectedly came from nowhere and overtook Tom Hanks, Arnie and Bruce Willis to become the mid-90s biggest box office star, he could suddenly command the biggest payday. An unprecedented $20 million for any project he wanted to make. The project he chose to break star salary records was a small indie script, set mainly in one apartment that spoofed the babysitter / affair / cop “from hell” sub-genre. His check doubled the production budget, quadrupled the expectations of a small quirky production. And the critics sensing the world was off kilter, bundled on and tore apart the end result. The released film has issues… it is a little too dark and strange for a big summer tentpole. The final act is badly edited, skipping scenes and plot points, not really making any narrative sense but moving so fast you can’t stop to catch up. The scope shifts between intimate stagey scenes in a single setting, to big lunatic set pieces where Carrey can let loose and gurn and improvise and overkill to perfection. These bolted on set-pieces are the best parts of the film. Funny, full of relentless energy and unhinged. They just never slot comfortably in with a housebound unsympathetic Matthew Broderick seeing his life destroyed by his malevolent new “friend.” But who bought a seven dollar ticket for that? This is Jim’s show and, taken out of context, his jousting tournament, basketball hijack, toilet assault and karaoke jam sequences are high points of his pure comedy acting career. He’d go on to find drama projects that housed his less crowd pleasing sensibilities far snugger… but this curio demands a cult reputation.


Check out my wife Natalie’s Horror blog

We also do a podcast together called The Worst Movies We Own. It is available on Spotify or here

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