Me, Myself and Irene (2000)
Commentary by Elise Kaye, November 2001

Recently, I saw the movie Me, Myself and Irene starring Jim Carrey. It's one of those movies a person could either love or hate, depending on their view of slapstick humor and their appreciation of, or aversion to, Jim Carrey's comedic style. I suppose I am a fan of both slapstick humor and Jim Carrey. I see Jim Carrey as a performer who in many ways emulates Robin Williams. They both take risks as actors and both stretch comedic boundaries. They are spontaneous, very physical in their comedic presentation, and seem larger-than-life.

I very innocently watched this movie and laughed harder than I have in years. The movie has many elements of contradiction. For example, it portrays African-American triplets speaking vulgar slang, yet possessing genius intellect. The movie portrays Jim Carrey, a law enforcement officer, as a weak, passive person who is defenseless and unable to assert himself. The movie also depicts a dwarf as an overly aggressive, belligerent, and intelligent character who steals Jim Carrey's wife away from him and impregnates her.

Me, Myself and Irene demonstrates how Jim Carrey's character develops a split personality as a result of being victimized for so many years. The split in personality results in Jim Carrey overcompensating for his weak behavior, by becoming its antithesis; a highly assertive, aggressive person who defends himself in an extreme, threatening, and antagonistic manner. He needs to find a healthy balance in order to survive in society.

I initially viewed the movie's humor as a typical demonstration of what a stand up comic would do, when poking fun at all aspects of life and human behavior. I always thought that comedy, if done tastefully, was a just forum for defusing prejudice and bigotry.

However, that early scene in the movie, where a dwarf becomes excessively aggressive and insulting to Carrey's character, seems to have overstepped the boundaries of humor. It stereotypes dwarfs, without offering a resolution to the negative and inaccurate depiction of them. I may never had noticed this egregious error, had it not been for the insight of my friend, who supports a cause to defend the rights of short people. I'm grateful for his insight, and regret my insensitivity to their plight.