Tag Archives: 1996 comedies

Movie Review: The Cable Guy

To start off on a good note and get back to good movies, I got stuck going to Netflix again.

I didn’t want to because->see last few posts on my blog->but I was with friends and they wanted to watch a comedy and none of the films I have in my room waiting for me are comedies. So we’re scrolling through films and I’m cringing as the titles continue to cross from right to left until this swooped in to save the day.

I’d seen the second half of The Cable Guy multiple times on TV but I’d never seen the whole thing in one sitting. I’d always catch it half way through.

Steven Kovacs’ (Matthew Broderick) life is in a downward spiral after a marriage proposal gets him kicked out of his love’s apartment. Now in a new residence, he can’t get the cable to work. Just a bad day overall. Then the cable guy shows up.

To call cable guy Chip Douglas (Jim Carrey) goofy would be true but only a page into the literature laid before us. Chip is so much more than that, as Steven will find out in the next few days. Chip’s pushy, invasive personality proves to be exactly what laid-back, passive Steven needs and a friendship ensues.

Chip’s eccentricity and brashness, as well as a prevalent lisp, are his defining traits but there’s also his sometimes odd sense of humor, his awkwardly fluid body movements and hand gestures and let’s not forget those terrible comebacks.

Yet with all that said, I’ll go ahead and say it: Chip is a likable guy. He’s weird and you’d probably be embarrassed to be seen in public with the guy sometimes, but you’d still be by his side at the end of the day, or at least I would. Some parallels to Catcher in the Rye‘s Holden Caulfield came to mind although I doubt that was done on purpose. Either way, Chip is a pitiful character who tries too hard to fit in. Not a role model for children.

However, Steven sticks with the guy and even has fun with Chip once in a while. Eventually that routine becomes monotonous and things turn for the worse when Chip oversteps his bounds, but Ben Stiller, this time in a directorial capacity, demonstrates that such a person has the ability to co-exist in this world.

Chip may be clingy and mentally unhealthy, but that is due to child neglect, not his personality.

All of this has nothing to do with the plot whatsoever, but it mattered to me because it clarified that a character like this isn’t out of the realm of possibility. Rarely do comedies bother with that. Billy Madison is a perfect example.

A comedy that is willing to step away from the material and create a sidebar of true narrative form and meaning will get a lot of bonus points from me. Remember, takeaways are what make films live on. What makes The Cable Guy memorable? Stuff like this.

Chip does all in his power to make Steven’s life a good time and never forgoes that objective. Selfless dedication that borders obsessive stalking, Chip always means well but people don’t always take what’s gifted to them with open arms and a brimming grin.

When Steven tries to ex-communicate Chip from his life, it doesn’t work out the way he hoped. Chip doesn’t just give up. He pushes further.

With the vengeance of a child, but the cunning of an adult, Chip finds his way into the fiance’s good graces and into a family get-together that brings a whole new sense of awkward into Steven’s life. While the dinner and festivities afterward prove a brilliant laugh factory, they also convince me that a character like Chip isn’t out of the realm of possibility, only making the character writing look all that more impressive because very often comedy writers seek to acquire the most absurd person they can think of rather than mimic a character off of real life experience. Chip carries enough fiction and real-life interaction to make him one-of-a-kind and man, is he fun to watch.

However, I doubt it would be half as fun without Jim Carrey in some of his finest work. This film reminds me how much I miss funny people and how much I’m sure they miss us. With Robin Williams passing and Jim Carrey’s apparent disappearance from the silver screen, it hastens me to say we’re entering a new generation of actors for the genre. My only hope is that the industry can do better than James Franco and Seth Rogen or else comedies might not be a thing in twenty years.

Once again, if you’re new to my blog, I’ve always ranked movies on a scale of 0-100 (I don’t know why, I just always have). Here’s the grading scale.  

90-100  It’s a great movie and definitely one worth buying. (American BeautyGone GirlMulanGuardians of the GalaxyDawn of the Planet of the Apes)

80-89   It was a pretty good movie and definitely one worth seeing, but it doesn’t quite scratch my top ten percentile. (The Cabin in the WoodsTears of the SunEdge of TomorrowThe Amazing Spider-Man 2Young Guns)

70-79   It’s okay but I’ve seen better. It has its moments, but it has its flaws, too.(SnowpiercerThe FamilyWhen the Game Stands TallBlack Hawk DownRed Dawn(2012))

60-69   It’s got plenty wrong with it but I still got enjoyment out of this one. (TwistedParkerHouse at the End of the StreetThe RavenDead Snow)

50-59   This movie isn’t intolerable but it’s not blowing my mind either. I’m trying really hard to get some sort of enjoyment out of this. (RageZoolanderThe Expendables 3HomefrontG.I. Joe: Retaliation)

40-49   This movie is just mediocre. It’s not doing anything other than the bare minimal, so morbidly boring that sometimes I’m actually angry I watched this. (ErasedI, FrankensteinThe Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1Teenage Mutant Ninja TurtlesBilly Madison)

30-39   Definitely worse than mediocre, the 30′s ironically define the 1930′s, full of depression, lack of accomplishments, poverty and just so dumb. (CenturionPlanet of the ApesStonadosRedemptionPride and Prejudice)

20-29   What did I just watch? Cliches, stupidity, nothingness, did I mention stupidity? Just…wow. (The ColonyIn the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege TaleThe GreyX-Men: Days of Future PastThor: The Dark World)

0-19      Watching this movie resulted in one or more of the following: seizure, loss of brain cells, falling asleep/unconsciousness, feel you wasted your time/day, accomplished nothing for you, left the movie knowing less about it then you did going into it, constantly asking yourself why you came to see this movie, or near-death experience. In short, staring at a wall was just as entertaining as watching this movie. This movie deserved a sticker or a label that said, “WARNING: EXTREME AMOUNT OF SUCKAGE.” (SabotageGallowwalkersTucker & Dale vs. EvilSafeWatchmen)

My score for The Cable Guy: 86.

If there’s one thing I appreciate in my comedy’s, it’s distinguished characters. The Cable Guy gives us that with a limitless Jim Carrey in one of his best roles and while Matthew Broderick is a sideshow and Jack Black seems thrown in for the hell of it, this is Jim Carrey’s show from start to finish, so it’s hard to not have fun with this.

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