The early 2000s where quite frankly another world, long before the doom and gloom of the coronavirus, social media and high speed internet. The year 2000 was full of hope for a new millennia, and even though it was quickly marred by the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, an embarrassingly incompetent Bush administration, and the financial crisis of 2008, I do think that decade was far more hopeful than the one that came after it. I was also a child during that time, so that also probably has something to do with that.
As I recently watched Peter and Bobby Farrelly’s “Me, Myself & Irene”, a low-brow Jim Carrey comedy from 2000, I couldn’t help but get brought back to that time period, especially with how fine everything seemed and generally would be for quite some time. The film follows Carrey as Rhode Island State Trooper Charlie Baileygates, who has developed a split, sillier and more risky personality named Hank Evans, after his wife, Layla, (Traylor Howard) leaves him for the presumed true father of their kids, Shonté Jackson (Tony Cox); both of whom we never see after the first act of the film.
His abandonment has made Charlie suppress his feelings, letting others walk all over him for years as a state trooper, while he raises their sons, Jamal (Anthony Anderson), Lee Harvey (Mongo Brownlee) and Shonté Jr. (Jerod Mixon), all of whom are geniuses. One day, Charlie gets pushed over the edge, allowing Hank to take over and cause havoc. He is sent to get evaluated, his split personality is discovered, and he is prescribed medication to keep him under control.
Concurrently, Irene P. Waters (Renée Zellweger), arrives at the station and Charlie is ordered to escort her to Massena, N.Y., to answer for hit-and-run charges. When it appears the charges are bogus, and that Irene is tied to a larger corruption plot and someone wants her dead, Charlie (and Hank) must do all that they can to keep her safe.
As is the case with many comedies from this era, there are parts that I liked and found genuinely funny, and parts that aged like milk. It suffers to an extent from humor designed to be offensive for sake of being offensive, and Jim Carrey’s usual weirdness is pretty much hit or miss. I don’t know what what was with early 2000s humor, but having something just be bizarre or random does not always make a good substitute for a well-crafted punchline.
There are villains in this film played by Chris Cooper and Richard Jenkins, but they are hardly worth talking about. The conspiracy they’re involved in is vague, most of their plans are poorly thought out, and they solely exist in this project to give Jim Carrey different comedic scenarios.
Overall, “Me, Myself & Irene” is no hidden gem. It’s a perfectly fine, flawed, sometimes offensive comedy from over 20 years ago, that proves that, while the world has greatly changed in that time, Jim Carrey has barely aged.
“Me, Myself & Irene” gets a 6/10