The Cable Guy

* * 1/2*

An enjoyable comedy that's somewhat of a change of pace for Jim Carrey, The Cable Guy entertains and creates a humorous mood up to the final act. Matthew Broderick plays the pathetic Steven Kovacs, a struggling architect now living on his own after his girlfriend kicked him out. A friend instructs Steven to bribe the cable guy to get free cable, unknowing that his cable guy is none other than Chip Douglas (Jim Carrey), an obnoxiously obsessive television watcher yearning for a new friend. Without realizing it, Steven befriends Chip, and Chip won't let him forget it. With a single-minded obsession bordering on the psychopathic, Chip insinuates himself into Steven's life, whether Steven wants it or not. Fans of Carrey might be peeved, for there is very little of his trademark scatalogical humor present in The Cable Guy, although there are plenty of low-brow jokes to keep them from fleeing the theater. Rather, the Cable Guy keeps you chuckling with its pop culture references, and the antics of Carrey are a plus (for the first time not overshadowing his character). The biggest problem with the Cable Guy is that it doesn't seem to have an idea on how to portray Carrey's character. The audiences start to sympathize with him, then his evil side shows up, only to be covered again with more sympathy scenes, etc. The result is a yo-yo effect (possibly deriving from the film's many writers). Even at the very end, the film doesn't quite know if it wants the audience to like Carrey or not. Ultimately, the finale tries to satisfy both camps, and fails. Those who take Carrey's side will be turned off by his cruel behavior, and those that love to hate him will end up hating the movie's final softshoe. That problem aside, however, the rest of the film is refreshingly funny. A mild recommendation for the Cable Guy. (Columbia)

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