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Me, Myself & Irene Print E-mail
Thursday, 01 May 2008
ImageNice guy Charlie Baileygates (Jim Carrey) is a officer on the Rhode Island State Police, living a contented storybook life with an attractive girlfriend, Layla (Traylor Howard), who he then marries.  Unfortunately, on their return home from the church, Charley gets into an altercation with their over-sensitive, diminutive black limo driver, Shonte (Tony Cox).  Layla plays peacekeeper, but discovers that both she and Shonte are members of Mensa, the elite organization for genius-level intelligence, which she clearly finds attractive.  Nine months later, Charley is surprised when Layla gives birth to triplets, all of them black.  Layla leaves the heartbroken Charley with the kids and speeds off with Shonte.  Luckily, Charley adores the kids, precocious, off-the-chart geniuses, and raises them alone.  Unfortunately, Charley’s endlessly forgiving nature and inability to vent his frustrations has made him into a town laughing stock and a doormat.  One day, after a mounting series of calamities, Charley loses it completely and goes on an id-fueled rampage.  After regaining his senses, Charley is evaluated by psychiatrists who discover that he is suffering from severe split-personality disorder and that when he’s driven to extremes of anger and frustration, his real personality takes a back seat and another personality, Hank, takes over and unleashes all his deepest urges.  Charley is completely unaware of what Hank does, and is unable to control him when he takes over.

Entering into this situation is Irene (Renée Zellweger), who’ pulled over for a routine traffic violation and arrested, as her record has been flagged by the police in upstate New York.  As Irene needs to be escorted back to upstate New York, Charley’s boss, Colonel Partington (Robert Forster) assigns it to him.  Unfortunately, the mark on Irene’s record was put there by corrupt police who are in league with Irene’s scummy ex-boyfriend who has ties to organized crime.  Fearing that Irene is aware of the police corruption and the criminal operation, they plan on rubbing her out. Irene manages to escape their first attempt, and after she locates Charley, the two go on the lam, pursued by the corrupt cops (who have pinned a murder on her) as well as Charley’s friends on the Rhode Island police force.  While on the run, Irene becomes attracted to Charley and is aware of his second personality, but the trajectory of the two lovers is constantly sidetracked by Hank’s eruptions and the nefarious elements that are hot on their trail.
“Me, Myself & Irene” is a perfect vehicle for Jim Carrey; it allows him to display both his sad likeability and his completely anarchic, scenery-devouring talents.  Storywise, it echoes “The Mask,” by giving Carrey a narrative motivation to showcase different Jekyll and Hyde personas, but this film replaces the supernatural motivation of the titular mask with a psychological motivation.  Hank’s persona is as rude and over the top as you’d imagine from a Carrey performance, but he also is a bit odd.  Instead of being loud and explosive, Hank is more snakelike and sleazy, with a raspy Clint Eastwood-esque voice.  What’s particularly amusing is that while Hank is unbridled attitude, he’s not much of a fighter, and gets beaten up very easily.  The plot is a pretty lightweight jumping-off point for the gag sequences, but it’s enough to hold the film together.    “Me, Myself & Irene” is a Farrelly brothers film through and through, with a unique mixture of contrasting tones, like crude and extremely gross humor, cartoonish set pieces, and a warm fuzzy center.  Zellweger is charming and attractive, and Forster is perfectly cast as the fatherly Colonel Partington.   The film is stolen by Charley’s three sons, Jamaal (Anthony Anderson), Lee Harvey (Mongo Brownlee), and Shonte Jr. (Jerod Mixon).  The three actors play off each other brilliantly, and the mixture of the characters’ erudite observations and the colorful profanity that fills their dialogue (“Enrico Fermi would roll over in his motherxxxxxxx grave if he heard you say that!”) yields comedy gold.  
“Me, Myself & Irene” is a bright, pretty film with lush, green scenery and a sunny look.  Most of the film occurs during the day and Fox’s BD release showcases the pleasing, occasionally vivid colors.  Fine detail is prevalent in wider shots and facial close-ups are crisp and attractive.  The1080p transfer is sourced from a near-pristine element.  Flecks of dirt that are built into the original optical effect are visible during a brief slow-motion shot, but it’s exactly how it would have been presented theatrically.  The image compression is predominantly stable, which makes for a more involving experience.
The disc includes a lossless DTS-HD Master Audio track in 5.1, which is welcome, though at this stage of the technology, few players are capable of conveying it at full resolution.  The track is detailed and crisp and the mix is nicely balanced, with occasional strong surround usage.  The narration by Rex Allen Jr. (perhaps cast because of his dad’s similar work on Disney films of the 60s) is particularly warm and is given rich, sumptuous presence within the mix.  Songs and music are vibrantly presented, with exciting separation across the front channels.  The Samsung BDP-1000 used for evaluation is only capable of playing the audio “core,” but even the core makes for a highly satisfying track, though it has issues that viewers should be aware of.  The audio was evaluated using the DTS-HD MA track core, transmitted via analog inputs.  This caused an occasional loud, disturbing popping sound (which does not exclusively accompany loud parts of the film) particularly early in the film, that’s highly disruptive and may be damaging to speakers.  Several online boards have addressed the issue, particularly toward users with HDMI and players that are supposed to be able to decode the DTS-HD MA track, but there’s no remedy or much coverage on this happening with the core signal alone via analog.  I highly recommend selecting the DTS-HD MA track, but using an optical connection and not the analog inputs.  This will convey a lower resolution track, but may save your speakers and make the experience less distracting.  It should be noted that the issue does not seem to be attributable to Fox or the disc manufacturers, but to an audio format (DTS-HD MA) that seems to have been rushed to the market, without proper testing for audio component compatibility.
The feature-length audio commentary by Bobby and Peter Farrelly is a highly casual chat. The track is light on production minutia but strongly conveys the brothers’ sensibilities, their method of working, and the intimate, familial atmosphere of their productions.  The Farrellys fill the screen with old friends and family members in bit roles and as background extras, and much of the track consists of them pointing out these players and relaying personal anecdotes about them.  It’s the kind of laid-back commentary track that feels as if it was produced for the Farrelly’s family and friends.  It’s not essential, but it’s genial and the brothers occasionally discuss on how a comedic scene evolved from the original idea through collaboration on-set, which is interesting.  There are ten deleted scenes totaling around 20 minutes. Most of the scenes are small trims to dialogue or scene extensions, instead of completely new scenes.  It’s easy to see why most were cut; all tend to make a scene overstay its welcome or give a particular line a harsher tone that doesn’t quite gel.  During the feature-length audio commentary the Farrelly brothers mention a few other deleted scenes, which are not included.  The deleted scenes are formatted to fill the screen but are sourced from either a videotape or a low-res avid output file and display all manner of video nose, such as combing, pixelation, flat colors, etc.  Deleted scenes are usually presented in varying levels of quality, so it isn’t that grave of an issue, but if they couldn’t have been presented in HD, than they should have been presented 1.85 letterboxed instead of being blown up to fill the screen.  If shown a bit smaller, the digital artifacts would be a bit less distracting.  Two theatrical trailers are included on the disc and both are presented in HD; a welcome bonus that should become a standard inclusion on all HD media.

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