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Carrey gets back on the laugh track

May 19, 2003|Susan King

Make 'em laugh. Donald O'Connor delivered that message in a memorable way in "Singin' in the Rain," and it's apparently one Jim Carrey has taken to heart.

When Carrey delivers the laughs, he delivers at the box office. For example, "Ace Ventura: Pet Detective," a $12-million comedy released in early 1994 that made him a movie star, grossed $72.2 million. The 1997 farce "Liar Liar," took in $181 million, and "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" made more than $260 domestically in 2000.

On the flip side, "The Man in the Moon" (1999), a serious, even disturbing biopic for which he won a Golden Globe as the late Andy Kaufman, grossed just $34.6 million. His last film, "The Majestic" (2001), which cast him as a blacklisted screenwriter, eked out a mere $27.8 million.

The only dramatic Carrey film that scored was 1998's "The Truman Show," which deftly mixed pathos and comedy. It grossed $125.6 million.

After "The Majestic" debacle, Carrey returns to the tried-and-true formula that made him famous in "Bruce Almighty," opening Friday. He plays a Buffalo, N.Y., TV reporter who is one of the world's greatest malcontents. Eventually, God arrives on the scene and gives Bruce the opportunity to take on His job and see if he can make the world a better place.

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