Ah... The Mask, a fun little Jim Carrey romp from 1994. It's one of his works from early on in his A-list film career; specifically his first film to arrive in theaters after Ace Ventura Pet Detective. It's built on Slapstick comedy and turned out to be very popular, although Carrey has stated that it's the least-favorite role he's ever played. It is based, Film of the Book style, on the comic book of the same name. Well, sort of. The original is not harmless slapstick, fitting much better in the comedy horror genre.
The story of the film follows twenty-something Edge City banker Stanley Ipkiss as he finds a magical mask, endowed with the powers of the Norse Trickster god Loki, which effectively makes the wearer completely immune to absolutely everything, and capable of practically anything. In Stanley's case, this manifests as gaining the Reality Warper abilities of his beloved classic Tex Avery characters (stretching, shapeshifting, bouncing back from Amusing Injuries, and the like). While not quite reaching With Great Power Comes Great Insanity levels, he does use it to get back on the people that bullied the shy reserved nice guy Stanley, and to woo nightclub-singer Tina Carlyle (Cameron Diaz). When other less savory individuals get hold of it, the results are not so amusing.
It had a Carrey-less pseudo-sequel, Son of the Mask, in 2005, which starred Jamie Kennedy and a CGI baby and was extremely poorly received by fans and critics.
- Absurdly Ineffective Barricade: Stanley sealing the gate to Landfill Park is a great example of this trope. He does it to keep Kellaway and Doyle inside... only to see the rest of the police on the same side of the wall as him!
- Acting for Two: A very interesting example of this trope. Jim Carrey is even credited as "Stanley Ipkiss/The Mask".
- Actor Allusion: The picture of Kellaway's wife is Marion Wormer from Animal House, which also starred Peter Riegert.
- The Alleged Car: "The Loaner" Stanley receives from the mechanics.
- Almost Kiss: Stanley and Tina twice: once while he's in jail, and again right after he rescues her from Dorian Tyrell.
- And Starring: "And Introducing Cameron Diaz"
- Anti-Hero: Stanley fits the classical Greek definition of the term (Type I). The Mask himself is probably a Type IV. Even though he isn't as violent as most anti-heroes, he's still willing to do many unheroic things with little regard for those around him.
- Which is still a step up from the original comic, where the Mask was pretty much always a murderous Villain Protagonist, at best probably wandering into Anti-Villain territory occasionally. The movie actually addresses this... Stanley is at heart a good person, so the mask just makes him a bit of a cartoonishly violent goofball. Almost anyone else, well.
- Ascended Extra: Stanley Ipkiss. In the comics, he was killed off at the end of the first story arc, but he became the main character of the movie and cartoon in the adaptations.
- Ass Shove: Stanley uses the mask's powers to get back at his shady car mechanics by shoving exhaust pipes up their asses.
- A Worldwide Punomenon:
- "Je t'adore...je t'awindow, I don't care!"
- "The money better be here, Ipkiss, or you can Ipkiss your ass goodbye."
- Bag of Holding: The Mask's pockets while being frisked by the police.
- "BANG!" Flag Gun
- Bank Robbery
- Bat Deduction: While Detective Kellaway is not a genius, he's still able to figure out Stanley is the Mask because a piece of his pajamas were found on the scene of a mob shootout (he met Stanley while he was wearing the same pajamas). While the pajamas were tacky, they didn't stand out, nor was there anything to suggest that those pajamas were exclusive to Stanley. Granted, he was correct, but his reasoning was a total Ass Pull.
- Kellaway's Bat Deduction had a little more support in the form of The Mask's first appearance happening right outside of his apartment door and his claims to have slept through the chaos. Kellaway was suspicious of him from the beginning, the pajamas just tied it together. Not to mention, the bank robbed was the one Stanley worked at.
- Beneath the Mask: Although it doesn't get played straight (it just happens literally), this trope is one of the major themes of the movie. As laid out by the psychiatrist, everyone wears social masks hiding who they really are underneath. Putting on the supernatural artifact causes the wearer to tear off their mask and embody their inner child. This means that Stanley becomes The Mask by removing his mask, which is neat. On the other hand, the villain, an unrepentant violent criminal, becomes demonic when he wears it.
- Becoming the Mask
- Betty and Veronica: Or, as they are named here, Peggy and Tina. Of course, the "Betty" in this case ends up selling "Archie" out, while "Veronica" is the good girl.
- Beyond the Impossible: What the mask is apparently able to do: break physical laws.
- Bilingual Bonus / Foreign Cuss Word: When the police interrupt Ipkiss' French seduction of Tina, he responds "Merde!" French for "Shit!"
- Black and Gray Morality
- BFG: Two of them. But they turn out to be BANG Flag Guns.
- Blondes Are Evil: Subverted. Usually in a story involving a guy, a hot lady (usually a blonde and a performer), and a simple girl, the guy gets the simple girl and optionally the hot lady betrays him beforehand. But here the guy is betrayed by the simple girl and gets the hot blonde lady. It should be noted, however, that the blonde starts off using Stanley in order to help her mobster boyfriend rob the bank. Obviously, she goes through a High Heel Face Turn.
- Bond One-Liner: "Snooze" and "You were good, kid, real good. But as long as I'm around, you'll always be second best, see?"
- Born in The Theater: Stanley is a fan of old cartoons (classic Looney Tunes and Tex Avery in particular) so a lot of the jokes and gags he pulls have shades of this. In one scene he goes through an overly dramatic death scene, after which he's immediately handed an Oscar and a silhouette audience stands up and cheers. The other characters in the scene are visibly freaked out by this; heck, Dorian even smoothes his hair down and stands up a tad straighter.
- Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: During the Extended Disarming.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: The Mask looks and speaks to the viewers multiple times. Considering he's basically a living Tex Avery creation, it makes sense.
- Breakout Character: Stanley Ipkiss, merely a one shot character from the original comics who lasted for about the same story arc he got introduced in, became the star in The Movie and since then became directly associated with The Mask, changing the original premise of the comic in which The Mask itself is what matters no matter who's the one wearing it.
- Bring It: The title character to some robbers, and Dorian Tyrell to his boss Niko during their final confrontation.
- Bullet Seed: Dorian Tyrell while wearing the mask.
- Captain Obvious: Well spotted, Doyle.
Doyle: I missed him.
- Carnival of Killers: Pretty-boy gangster Dorian Tyrell promises $50,000 to whoever can kill the title character (no mean feat, since the green-faced creature is practically immortal).
- Casanova Wannabe
- Richard Jeni as Charlie.
- The Mask himself fits this trope when he gets carried away on his date with Tina.
- The Cast Showoff: Yes, that is Jim Carrey singing "Cuban Pete". (That is not, however, Cameron Diaz singing in the nightclub, as anyone who has seen My Best Friend's Wedding can attest.)
- Both of them did all of their own dancing, Jim even helped choreograph the "Cuban Pete" number.
- Catch and Return
- Catch Phrase: "Ssssmokin'!"
- The Cavalry Arrives Late: The police arrive after The Mask has disposed of Dorian Tyrell.
- Changing Clothes Is a Free Action: Another obvious power of The Mask.
- The Chanteuse: Tina.
- Charity Ball: The Casino Night version.
- Chekhov's Skill: Fetch!
- Chronic Hero Syndrome: Although Stanley is aware that his reputation as a nice guy makes him a doormat to everyone, he can't stop himself from helping people when he feels they need help. It's how he found the Mask. The loaner car breaks down at a nearby bridge. After venting his rage at it, he notices what appears to be the body of a man floating lifelessly in the water. He comes down to rescue the man, only to find that it's really just a pile of garbage masked together. The "face" of it being the titular mask.
- Clingy MacGuffin: Stanley tosses the Mask out a window, only for it to boomerang back onto his bed. At the end of the film, he manages to throw it into the river with no side effects, but then Milo dove in and fetches it.
- Clothes Make the Maniac
- Clothes Make the Superman
- Come with Me If You Want to Live: As Stanley Ipkiss is fleeing the police, Peggy Brandt pulls up in her car and tells him to get in. Of course, she wasn't doing this for his sake, so it might almost be considered a subversion.
- Conspicuous CGI: Though considering he's got the powers of a cartoon character, it doesn't feel out of place.
- They weren't trying to make it realistic in the first place, it's deliberately cartoony. That it saves money on effects is just a nice bonus.
- Cool Guns: The Tommy gun.
- Crapsack World: Edge City. Just to top it off, the city landfill is apparently adjacent to the city park.
- Crashing Dreams: Stanley and his dream of Tina.
- Crowd Song: The Mask magics the entire Edge City police force into singing "Cuban Pete" with him.
- Cute but Cacophonic: The horn the title character uses to blow out the motorist's windows.
- Dance Line
- Deleted Scene
- Deadpan Snarker
- The Mask himself.
- Peter Riegert's character as well, which isn't all that surprising given one of his earliest roles.
- Disaster Dominoes: Kick the car.
- Disproportionate Retribution
- The Ass Shove applied to the mechanics.
Mechanic: Sign right here, and press down hard.
- What happens after a driver almost runs over the Mask and starts honking him.
- Distracted by the Sexy
- Damsel in Distress: Tina
- Donut Mess with a Cop: Doyle
- Dramatic Gun Cock
- The Dulcinea Effect: Stanley and Tina.
- Eat the Bomb: To make it safe.
- Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": The Mask
- Evil Counterpart: "Dorian Mask" to "Stanley Mask".
- Evil-Detecting Dog: Milo senses something is amiss with the Mask the moment he sees it.
- Evil Sounds Deep: Dorian Tyrell in his "The Mask" version.
- Evil Versus Evil: Dorian versus his mob rival.
- Executive Meddling: Very surprisingly inverted, at least if one listens to the DVD commentaries/behind the scenes material. Chuck Russell -- director of A Nightmare On Elm Street 3 Dream Warriors stated that New Line was interested in developing "The Mask" along the lines of the comic books; this would have become, according to Russell, "the next Freddy Krueger". But, he noted, that draft after draft of the more comics-faithful adaptation simply did not work. So, he fought valiantly to make "The Mask" as a comedy; the Cuban Pete sequence is one of the few elements that survived until the final cut.
- Expy: Dorian and most of the other mobsters may be a nod to the mob gangs from the comics, which played a key part through much of the early comics.
- Extended Disarming
- Extreme Omnivore: The Mask swallows a bundle of explosives with no side effects.
- Eye Poke: Stanley Ipkiss does this to Dorian Tyrell during their fight and yields one of the funniest moments in the film.
Dorian: I'm gonna take you apart!
- Eye Pop: Three times in the movie: once in his apartment building, once in the Coco Bongo club, and finally when confronted by a lot of cops with guns.
- Face Heel Turn: Peggy turns Stanley over to Tyrell.
- Face Palm: Dorian pinches the bridge of his nose during The Mask's overly-dramatic "death" scene.
- Fan Sequel: The Mask Strikes Back by GM Finney Productions and Smigiel Productions. It was highly anticipated and liked by many fans of The Mask.
- Fan Service: Pretty much every scene Cameron Diaz is in. Particularly her entrance and the nightclub scene where she appears to be channeling Jessica Rabbit.
- Final Speech: Parodied during the title character's "death" scene.
- Fire-Breathing Diner: After The Mask swallows the bomb and it goes off.
- Flat What: Stanley, to Peggy just before Dorian shows up.
- Foot Focus: After The Mask kisses Tina in the Coco Bongo number the camera cuts to a close-up of Cameron Diaz's feet as her shoes pop off.
- Foreshadowing: "Get the keys, Milo!"
- Funny Background Event
- During The Mask's faux Oscar speech, the villains do their best to look presentable for the camera.
- Also, when the criminals begin to take hostages in the Coco Bongo, Stanley's cranky landlady scolds the thugs for talking back to the mayor as they're being rounded up.
- Fun Personified: The normally shy Stanley turns into this with the Mask (mostly).
- Gangsta Style: Dorian's thugs sometimes indulge in this.
- Genre Savvy: The Big Bad's right-hand man realizes that dark clouds over him inside may bode ill.
"Um, Boss? You be careful, huh?"
- Getting Crap Past The What Now?: Often.
- The whole French-Lover Park scene ("Divide and conquer", anyone?)
- Pulling out an apparently used condom during the balloon animal scene.
- The Cuban Pete scene has hookers in it.
- The graphic peeing scene.
- Groin Attack: Tina does this to The Mask while they're in the park.
- Hair Flip: Occurs in Tina's intro.
- Hammerspace: Where everything the Mask uses comes from. Including an actual mallet.
- Hand Signals: Dorian Tyrell uses one to have his men stop firing.
- Harmless Freezing: The Mask does it to himself in the park.
- Hello, Nurse!: Tina
- Heroes Love Dogs: And he does!
- Heroic Comedic Sociopath: The Mask, when worn by Ipkiss. When worn by the Big Bad, not so much.
- Hot Scoop: Peggy Brandt
- Hyperspace Arsenal
- I Always Wanted to Say That: Stanley's friend Charlie after he says, "Officers, arrest those men!"
- I Lied: Tyrell, after Peggy sells Stanley out for money.
- Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: Three+ cops fire at Stanley as he gets into Peggy's car. Not only do they not hit him, but they don't even graze her, despite her proximity and the fact that her window is open.
- Impossibly Tacky Clothes: Stanley's pajamas.
- I Want Them Alive: Dorian Tyrell puts up fifty thousand dollars to anyone who can bring him The Mask.
- In Name Only: This bears very little resemblance to the Comic Book it was based on, with this featuring more slapstick than what many consider Gorn.
- Jaw Drop: The title character when he sees Tina in the club.
- The Jimmy Hart Version: Jim Carrey's cover of "Cuban Pete" used in the film.
- Karma Houdini: Peggy Brandt, because they deleted the scene where she was killed.
- Large Ham: The Mask (Stanley is subdued).
- Last Kiss: Tina makes a Last Request of Dorian Tyrell for one.
- Leaning on the Fourth Wall: The Mask's Oscar scene and apparent asides to the audience.
- Let's Get Dangerous: Stanley in the final act without the mask.
Stanley: Milo, you stay here and be a good boy... Daddy's gonna have to go kick some ass.
- Life of the Party: When he dances with Tina in the club.
- Lighter and Softer: In the original comic, Stanley starts out as a half decent guy, but quickly degenerates into a Jerkass Psycho Killer under the Mask's influence. The Mask in the comic has an actual personality, and talks to (and through, when it's being worn) its "owner", and no-one appears to be able to wear the Mask without being corrupted.
- Lost Forever: The special flavor of sherbet made by Baskin Robbins as a tie-in to The Mask. Green and yellow and two flavors of delicious. But it's Lost Forever because they won't bring it back and refuse to make public the recipe. Why, cruel world, why??
- Love Can Make You Gonk: This happens in a scene which pays homage to Tex Avery.
- Loves My Alter Ego: Tina and Stanley/The Mask, initially.
- Magic Countdown: The bomb counter is wildly inconsistent, and probably should have exploded at least twice in intervening scenes based on the last count.
- Magic Prerequisite: The Mask only works at night. If you put it on during the day, nothing happens. Handwaved by saying Loki was a night god.
- Mask of Power: It brings your innermost fantasies to life! If you're a little repressed and a hopeless romantic, it turns you into a love-crazy wild man. If you're a sociopathic mobster...
- Money to Throw Away: The Mask does this to get into the club.
Bouncer: Are you on the list?
- More Teeth Than the Osmond Family: Milo while wearing the Mask.
- Mugging the Monster: A street gang tries this with The Mask. Bad idea.
- The Music Meister: The Mask is surrounded by police, so he starts singing a rumba number and the policemen start singing and dancing along, to their great surprise.
- Mythology Gag: The scenes with the balloon animals/Tommy gun and of attacking the jerkass auto mechanics were from the comic, albeit severely toned down to just a humiliating beating.
- Nepotism: Stanley's boss at the bank.
- New Powers as the Plot Demands: Used constantly for comedic effect. The Rule of Fun greatly applies here.
- Nice Guys Finish Last: Stanley Ipkiss for most of the movie. Stanley even wrote an article about this in Peggy's column.
- Nice Hat: The title character wears one.
- No Man Should Have This Power: At the end of the movie, Stanley casts the Mask into the river.
- No Name Given: Averted. Lt. Kellaway's first name was never said in the original comics or in the film's dialog, but it is given in the credits. It's Mitch.
- Non-Human Sidekick: Milo the dog, who at first misunderstands the command to "Get the keys", picking up the cheese from the guard's sandwich before bringing the keys Stanley uses to escape from the jail cell.
- Non-Singing Voice: Cameron Diaz's singing is dubbed over by voice actress Susan Boyd.
- Not on the List: The Mask shows how having certain vouchers with pictures of Benjamin Franklin, Ulysses S. Grant and Andrew Jackson can overcome that difficulty.
- Office Golf: The head mobster, who drives off of Dorian's face to show his displeasure.
- Off Like a Shot: The Mask, repeatedly.
- Oh Crap
- Tyrell's henchmen after The Mask pulls out his multiguns. Every single one of them is a "BANG!" Flag Gun.
- Also the street gang when The Mask finishes making his last balloon-sculpture.
- One Last Smoke: Dorian Tyrell and a mortally wounded henchman. May count as a Pet the Dog moment for Dorian.
- Or Was It a Dream?: For like five seconds, Stanley convinces himself of this. Then Kellaway knocks on the door, and Stanley opens it to see Ms. Peenman screeching at a hole in the floor that the Mask made with his Hyperspace Mallet.
Stanley: This is... impossible!
- Oscar Bait: Parodied during the title character's "death" scene.
- Painful Transformation: Both putting on and taking off the mask.
- Pig Latin: Kellaway and Doyle outside the police station.
- Pistol-Whipping: Stanley does it twice, to the cop guarding him and a Mook in the Coco Bongo club.
- Planet Eris: Best-fitting trope to describe how everyone works along with Stanley when he wears the Mask, and totally ignores the fact that he's got a huge green prosthetic over his entire head and can pull cannons out of his suit pockets.
- Pragmatic Adaptation: From the comic book.
- Pre Ass-Shoving One Liner: "Hold on to your lug nuts! It's time for an overhaul!"
- Punch-Punch-Punch Uh-Oh: Stanley vs. Dorian Tyrell.
- Quizzical Tilt: Stanley's dog Milo does this the first time Stanley turns into the title character.
- Reality Ensues: While Stanley as The Mask has no trouble pulling things out of nowhere, such as weapons, balloons and what not. Things like currency, cannot be pulled out because like everything else it would have faded away once the powers wear off by unmasking or sunrise, prompting him to rob his bank to steal the money. Dorian seemed to come to the same conclusion, since the first thing he did after putting the mask on was force Stanley to reveal the location of the stolen money as well as rob a charity casino.
- Reality Warper
- Reality Warping Is Not a Toy: Played with; Stanley is a good guy and therefore as The Mask is Fun Personified and uses his powers largely for personal amusement. (He does get a little payback in on the side, though.) Dorian is a bad guy so as The Mask he's a vaguely demonic Humanoid Abomination who abuses his powers for revenge and murder.
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: Dorian Tyrell while wearing the mask.
- Ring Ring CRUNCH: When The Mask is trying to sneak past his landlady's door.
- Roadside Wave: Stanley outside of the Coco Bongo club.
- Roger Rabbit Effect
- Rubber Hose Limbs: The Mask, during the "El Pachuco" dance number.
- Rummage Fail
- Screw the Rules, I Have Supernatural Powers: Stanley uses his powers to rob a bank, woo the girl of his dreams, and take revenge on people who annoyed him.
- Sealed Evil in a Can: More like sealed Id in a mask.
- Many examples to classic Tex Avery animations.
- One notable Shout-Out to a live-action movie is to The Untouchables. When the hero is frisked, his Bag of Holding turns up a whole lot of junk, including a BAZOOKA, to which he calmly says, "I have a permit for that," precisely the same words used in similar circumstances by Frank "the Enforcer" Nitti.
- Also, Dirty Harry (probably a shout out for Clint Eastwood being one of Jim Carrey's impersonations in stand-up as well as Carrey having a minor part in The Dead Pool), and Sally Field at the Oscars, following this gem of a quote:
- "No! It wasn't me! It was the One-Armed Man!"
- Milo wearing the Mask has a laugh similar to Mutley's of Wacky Races/Dastardly and Muttley in Their Flying Machines.
- Edward G. Robinson, when the Mask lights a cigar and says "You were good, kid, real good. But as long as I'm around, you'll always be second best, see?" (a Beam Me Up, Scotty version of Robinson's famous line from the movie The Cincinnati Kid).
- "That's a spicy meat-a-ball" is a nod to an Alka-Seltzer commercial from 1969.
- Sickly Green Glow: The title artifact sometimes gives off this.
- Spared by the Adaptation: Stanley Ipkiss himself, who did not survive in the comics.
- Squashed Flat: The title character, after jumping out a window.
- Standard Police Motto: Used by Stanley on a cop to get him to help save Tina. Doesn't work.
- Star-Making Role: For Cameron Diaz.
- Sympathetic Inspector Antagonist: Lieutenant Kellaway
- That Poor Cat: After The Mask throws away a Tommy gun.
- Throw It In: The Mask pulling out a condom in the balloon making scene was an addition by Jim Carrey.
- Time Bomb: Disposed of in a... unique fashion.
The Mask: That's a spicy meat-a ball!
- Timmy in a Well: Milo
- Took a Level in Badass: The entire climax of the film -- Stanley without the Mask breaks out of jail, cold cocks the guard, takes the detective who was hounding him hostage and walks out of the precinct (pretending to be his prisoner and pleading his innocence!). He then arrives at the club, knocks out ANOTHER guard, takes ANOTHER gun and faces off with Evil Mask. All this from the meek "good guys finish last" banker. Oh yeah that's a level of Badass alright. This is after shouting down his boss in epic fashion after the money-swindler tries to chew him out for being late. Definitely a step up from earlier in the movie.
- Transformation Trinket
- Trickster Archetype
- Trojan Prisoner: Stanley's escape from the police station.
- Troll: The Mask is a living embodiment. Just imagine him smiling with a more stretched smile, saying "Problem?" or "lol u mad?", and saying "LOLOLOLOL" instead of his strange laughter, and you got yourself a textbook troll. He even makes troll science real!
- Unusual Euphemism
- Urine Trouble: Milo the dog to one of Dorian's henchmen.
- Vertigo Effect
- Vile Villain Saccharine Show: It's not exactly saccharine, but the amoral and frankly psychopathic Dorian Tyrell would still be a scary villain in a much more adult-oriented film.
- Visual Pun: His first spin is in front of a couch with a Taz pillow.
- Voluntary Shapeshifting: The Mask himself, along with other objects (turning a balloon-tommygun into a real one, for example).
- Wait Here: Stanley to Milo in the police car.
- Wallet Moths: In this case, a pocket moth.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Peggy Brandt, who seems to disappear from the main action towards the end. In a deleted scene, we saw her death: Dorian Tyrell caught her trying to sneak off with her money, at which point he threw her into a newspaper machine. This being "The Mask," her death was cartoonish: an "extra edition" came out of the machine, printed in red ink. Peggy's visibly pained face was on the front page, along with the accompanying headline.
- Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: Dorian has Stanley captive but gives him over to the police, effectively killing two birds with one stone: the cops leave him alone and he gets rid of Stanley for good.
- Wild Take: The Mask after seeing the police outside the park.
- With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: Stanley and Milo when they don the mask. This is apparently the way the mask functions. The only ones that are immune to this are those who already are insane.
- Working the Same Case: An example with criminals. Dorian was planning on robbing Stanley's bank but the Mask hits it first, leading to a brief exchange.
- Wrongful Accusation Insurance: Stanley breaks out of a jail cell, assaults an officer, steals his gun, kidnaps another officer at gunpoint and steals his car, yet receives no punishment. Even worse, he actually did commit the crime he was held for and there was evidence of him doing so. Justified by the mayor thinking Stanley is a hero who was framed by Dorian.
- X-Ray Sparks: Shortly, the first time Stanley puts on the Mask.
- You Said You Would Let Them Go: Peggy the reporter to Dorian Tyrell, re: Stanley Ipkiss.
- You Taste Delicious: While Stanley is with Tina, she suddenly starts licking his ear. Then he wakes up and discovers that it was a dream, and his dog Milo is licking him.