Sunday, 14 October 2012
Film Review | The Cable Guy (1996)
Carrey stars as the eponymous televisual technician, Chip Matthews, who befriends Steven Kovacs (Matthew Broderick) after installing his cable for him. It's a friendship which swings wildly from the pleasant to the downright creepy, thanks in no small part to Chip's erratic behaviour.
The Cable Guy is at its best when at its darkest, with Carrey's demented turn as Chip at its heart. Borrowing from his rubber-faced repertoire only occasionally, this, along with his performance in 1995's Batman Forever, was the point in Carrey's career that he began to demonstrate he was more than just pratfalls and gurning. There are some more overtly silly scenes here - a friendly basketball match which escalates in the extreme being a prime example - but there are also plenty of moments, particularly in the final third, where Carrey along with director Ben Stiller show they can create something really quite unsettling. It's at these moments that The Cable Guy reveals itself as something more than just another wacky comedy.
It's a shame that it takes far too long to get there. With a relatively slight running time of just an hour and a half, this really shouldn't be the case. The first hour has some good moments, but there's also far too much here which simply doesn't do much at all. The cast aside from Carrey are functional at best, with Broderick doing everything he can to make you neither like nor hate his mawkish everyman, and the biggest achievement of the remainder being how many future big stars there are littered amongst them without any of them impressing you.
The Cable Guy ultimately evens out as something very entertaining but a little too patchy to be anything more. If the balance of the film was readjusted so that it took half the time to get to the darker and more successful stuff, and there was twice as much of it when you got there, this would be a classic.