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Once upon a time in the 90s, a little-known comedian took the box office by storm.
This is the story of one of the greatest hot streaks in Hollywood history.
For about three years there, standup comedian turned TV sketch performer turned movie actor Jim Carrey was the biggest movie star on the planet -- perhaps the last human pop-culture phenomenon to become such without the approval of The Internet. Between 1994 and 1997, the Canadian-born comic would go from "that white guy on the black sketch show" to ubiquity that few movie stars have ever achieved, reigning over the box-office with a string of smash hits that were the envy of every other comedy star of the time.
This weekend, Dumb & Dumber To, Carrey's first return to one of his classic roles in two decades, opens wide in theaters -- reuniting him with the co-star and filmmakers who were at his side at the precise moment when he was the brightest star in all of show business. With that in mind, let's remember the halcyon days that got us here...
ACE VENTURA: PET DETECTIVE (1994)
The quintessential 90s comedian star-vehicle, where not much adds up (what does being an animal-loving private eye, a nigh-superhuman lover and talking with your butt have to do with each other, exactly?) except that it all exists to give Carrey breathing room to do his thing. The story involving a kidnapped football mascot is disposable (and its big reveal is depressingly transphobic even through a "back then" lens) but funny is funny and even today it's a marvel to see Carrey transform non-jokes into winners ("Aaaaallrighty then!") by sheer force of will.
THE MASK (1994)
Once upon a time, it was actually easier to get gimmicky indie comics made into movies than anything from DC or Marvel. The Mask comes from that realm, a loose adaptation of a high-concept comic that mostly serves as an excuse for Carrey to augment his human-cartoon physical comedy with CGI. The effects haven't aged particularly well, but it's still a diverting action-comedy; and even though she went on to be a huge star in her own right Cameron Diaz's entrance still makes you go "Wow! Who is that!?"