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Me, Myself & Irene (15) 116 mins x t 1%

There are two Jim Carreys. One uses his rubber face to contort his way through Ace Ventura: Pet Detective and Liar Liar, the other makes stabs at serious acting in The Truman Show and Man On The Moon. One hits box office heaven as Hollywood's top clown; the other fails to impress Oscar voters despite approval from the critics.

Currently Mr Carrey is a patient in the Beverly Hills Home For Career Schizophrenics, but he has been allowed out on day release to team up with the Farrelly brothers for the first time since 1994's Dumb & Dumber. Mind you, his symptoms are now evident on screen.

Carrey plays both Rhode Island State Trooper Charlie Baileygates and Charlie's alter ego, Hank. When Charlie’s wife takes off with a brainy black dwarf (hey, it’s the Farrellys - why offend one minority group when you can hit on two?), he's left to bring up his three dark-skinned sons as a single father. Years later, his suppressed anger comes to the surface in the shape of Hank, a sexually aggressive, misogynistic loudmouth as nasty as Charlie is sweet and kind. Charlie/Hank is/are then assigned to escort the lovely Irene (Renee Zellweger) to New York State but, plagued by corrupt cops and other obstacles, his split personality threatens to take over his life completely.

In America, Me, Myself & Irene didn't meet the expectations of fans who hoped a gross-out comedy masterpiece would follow when the makers of There’s Something About Mary got together again with the country’s favourite funny man. Granted, Zellweger's cutesy love interest is more cloying than the truly versatile Cameron Diaz, but the rude sight gags and stinging one-liners are blatantly in evidence in the new


. ii. Groundbreaking special effects, shame about the ropey characters and plotting


Rude sight gags and stinging one-liners are blatantly in evidence

movie. The story also works as something more than just a shakey scaffold holding up the comic set-pieces. The revelation, however, is Carrey himself. His Charlie/Hank creations are the mark of a master craftsman. When the zoot suit and green face took over in The Mask, there was nothing of gentle Stanley lpkiss left in the cartoon character; here, however, there are enough elements of each in the other that Charlie and Hank are believable as opposite extremes of the same disturbed human being. Carrey's inspired performance holds the sentiment in check, but doesn't stem the flow of the laughs. No doubt Oscar will avert his eyes again. (Alan Morrison) 5' General release from Fri 22 Sep.

committing rape and murder is the threat of being caught and punished. Cynical Plato may be, but his thoughts give Marlowe and Verhoeven great source material to work With. And, initially, Caine’s tentative experiments With lawbreaking and subsequent descent into madness live up to expectations. Problem is, all this is abandoned around the half way mark for straightforward, action thrills that sWiftly become unexCiting and unbelievable Within the film's own narrative logic. Caine's inVisibility, for example, also endows him With super strength and invulnerability to fire, the sole purpose of which is to extend the

Hollow Man (18)114mins v

Paul Verhoeven follows up his brilliant blockbuster science fiction epic, Stars/iip Troopers With another foray into adult sci-fi territory, here loosely based on H (3 Wells' The lnvrsrb/e Man The always watchable Kevm Bacon plays Sebastian Caine, an egotistical genius leading a team of scientists including Elisabeth Shue and Josh Brolin involved in governmerit/military-sponsored

experiments With inVisibility Determined to bog the fame and glory, Caine volunteers to be the first human

24 THE “ST 21 Sea- ‘3 Oct 2000

guinea pig, but when he becomes stuck ’out of phase' he begins to lose his grip on reality.

From The Fourth Man through Robocop to Basic Instinct, Verhoeven’s proved to be as intellectually challenging as he is provocative. Unsurprising then, that in Hollow Man nudity and cartoon Violence share the same bed With some fascinating philosophical ideas. Andrew W Marlowe’s screenplay subscribes to ideas espoused by Plato in his Republic If a man were made inVisible he wouch lose all sense of morality, because morality is defined by what others think of us. All that keeps us from

lengthy climactic fight

The special effects are ground- breaking, particularly the scenes in which lab animals, and later Caine, are iniected With a radioactive serum causing them to vanish and reappear in layers, skin, muscle, organs, skeleton Other moments, such as Caine's face appearing in the mirror when he splashes water on it are inventive, but, Caine aside, the characters are strictly two dimensional

Great ideas, gob-smacking speCIal effects, shame about the film's execution A failed experiment. (Miles Fielderi if: General release from Fri 29 5ch

Billy Elliot

(15) 111 mins ****

In The Full Monty it was stripping, in Brassed Off it was a brass band and in Little Voice it was vocal impersonations. In Billy Elliot, a member of the disenfranchised working class in the grim north of England finds release from life’s daily drudgery and, ultimately, self-fulfilment thr0ugh , . . ballet dancmg As unlikely a leisure pursuit as that might be for a teenage boy growmg up in the recession-hit Yorkshire of the 80s (and that, of course, is the pomt), it becomes young Billy’s (superb newcomer Jamie Bell) ticket out of hard times.

Hard times as remembered by scriptwriter Lee Hall, who sets his coming-of-age drama against the background of one of the most deplorable, but nevertheless defining moments in British post-war history: the miners' strike, during which Prime Minister Thatcher mobilised the full force of the State against a small part of its population. The film doesn’t bludgeon its audience With political rhetoric, but when eleven-year-old Billy and his friend saunter obliViously past a line of riot police it sends a shiver down the Spine.

The Royal Court's former artistic director Stephen Daldry (director of the long-running production of An Inspector Calls) makes his film debut With Billy Elliot, and he handles the political backdrop With as much assurance as he does the drama in the foreground. The dance routines prowde much of the film's hum0ur and qune overwhelming feelgood factor, particularly Billy’s tap dance in the street to The Jam’s ’A Town Called Malice’ as well as his workouts With Julie Walters' compassionate middle- class ballet tutor. Such moments are offset by another powerful, emotive performance by Gary LeWis (Orphans) as Billy's Single parent striking miner which flavours the film With pathos.

And, dance routines and kitchen sink drama aSIde, the clash between the strikers and the police to the $0und of the punk anthem 'London Calling’ is as powerful a piece of Cinema as you’ll see this year. (Miles Fielder)

a General release from Fri 29 Sep.

Quite overwhelming feelgood factor


1* x s x * Unmissable

t x x * Very good

t * * Worth a shot

t * Below average

it You've been warned