More in-depth film festival coverage than any other website!
Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About 

Overall Rating

Awesome: 11.54%
Worth A Look35.9%
Average: 20.51%
Pretty Bad: 24.36%
Total Crap: 7.69%

6 reviews, 42 user ratings

Latest Reviews

Luxor by Peter Sobczynski

Wander by Peter Sobczynski

Love, Weddings & Other Disasters by Peter Sobczynski

Black Bear by Peter Sobczynski

Poison Rose, The by Jack Sommersby

Ma Rainey's Black Bottom by Jay Seaver

Fat Man and Little Boy by Jack Sommersby

Harry & Son by Jack Sommersby

Shattered by Jack Sommersby

Deathstalker II by Jack Sommersby

subscribe to this feed

Majestic, The
[] Buy posters from this movie
by Chris Parry

"The McCarthy era as told by a man who talks out of his arse."
2 stars

It happens every time. Give a stand up comedian a career in the movies and it usually takes them about half a dozen films before they start getting the unstoppable urge to be taken seriously. Oddly, those comedians that don't make it big in the movies tend to be more than happy for nightclub audiences to not take them seriously for the rest of their lives, but give a Robin Williams or Tom Hanks or Michael Keaton a successful feature film or two and suddenly they think that this whole acting business is a cinch. The latest entry in this field is Jim Carrey; no longer content with talking out of his butt for attention, Carrey seems to have forgotten than it was only the fact that he's funny that got him out of the family Winnebago in the first place. Nowadays, he prefers to appear in faux deep, Oprah-audience favorites that have all the fake emotion of Patch Adams, all the insincerity of Anna Nicole Smith's wedding vows, and all the loud, plonking piano score that the collective musical hacks of Hollywood can license. If you're easily amused and cry when Lassie can't find her way home, then The Majestic could well be your next must-have video.

Jim Carrey plays Peter Stapleton, your typical Hollywood hack-for-hire writer, on the cusp of something big when he's named in the McCarthy hearings as a former communist. Despite the fact that Stapleton's only involvement with Communism was a one-night appearance at a college "bread not bullets" club to impress a girl, his career is effectively over. He gets liquored up, takes a drive down the coast, and ends up floating down the river in an upside down convertible. When he wakes up on the shore next morning and is dragged off to the town of Lawson, an uncanny resemblance to one of the town's fallen sons has him feted and accepted by all - until the commie cops come a-calling.

So that's the storyline - is The Majestic the gripping, emotional drama such a storyline would dictate? Not even close. It's sugar-coated patriotism for the masses, accompanied by a never-ending piano score, and characters that look and sound every bit as monotone as those on Pleasantville. Everyone's a nice guy, except the one gruff individual who you know from the outset will eventually come around. Every problem is fixed before the next reel starts. Every story twist is so telegraphed that you could turn the thing off after fifteen minutes and know every part of the film without having seen the whole thing.

And then there's Carrey. While far from sucking, Jim Carrey is essentially a serious actor who can't pass as serious. He's nowhere near the everyman that Hanks is, nothing close to the sage old weirdo that Robin Williams can be, not the fun 'beer and pretzels' Keaton-type, nor the fluffy, cuddly, dumb-dad Dan Aykroyd, and that pretty much means when he's trying to be dramatic, Jim Carrey just looks like Jim Carrey enduring a bowel movement.

On the other side of the dramatic scale is Martin Landau, who isn't far from my personal favorite actor. If his "pull the strings" cries in Ed Wood didn't turn your crank, I don't know what will. Though his agent should be shot for putting him in such dire incompetence as Ready to Rumble, Landau never fails to give his all in anything his image appears on, and The Majestic is no exception. As Carrey's almost-dad, he sells from the outset and gives his hokey dialogue respect it simply doesn't deserve.

But the real enemy of the state in this little encounter is the story. The writers of The Majestic treat the McCarthy hearings like the writers of Patch Adams treated the courts - like a snappy two minute monologue will change the world every time and all you need to do is shout over the top of a pounding gavel and everything will be good. The reality of the McCarthy anti-communist witch-hunts is that anyone who stood up and yelled that the hearings were illegal was shouted down, nailed with a contempt charge, and jailed with extreme prejudice. Every day saw a speech given like the one Carrey gives here, and every single one of them led to charges and jail-time. However, in The Majestic, Jim Carrey only needs to read a few sentences from the Constitution, hold up the medal of a dead soldier, and the entire country claps him off with a standing ovation while McCarthy wipes sweat droplets from his head.

Oh, sorry, did I just drop a spoiler on you? Guess again. If you can't predict the little passage I just described from the tenth minute of the film, you undoubtedly need help tying your shoes. To treat the McCarthy era like it was a two week whoopsy on the part of the US Government is akin to treating the holocaust like somebody left the gas stove on and a couple of people had coughing fits.

What it comes down to is a filmmaker making a film about how repugnant McCarthyism was, by treating McCarthyism like it could be cured if only anyone bothered to stand up to it. Wow, why didn't the masses of people who refused to name names and thus had their careers and lives ruined think of that?

link directly to this review at
originally posted: 07/30/02 19:35:25
[printer] printer-friendly format  

User Comments

3/12/15 скачать кулинарную книгу And how much?, 5 stars
11/12/14 Jamar Could you transfer $1000 from my current account to my deposit account? <a href=" htt 2 stars
11/10/14 Laurence Could you transfer $1000 from my current account to my deposit account? <a href=" htt 4 stars
10/24/14 coco888 I'll text you later <a href=" ">no rx bimatoprost</a> Sought after in Connecticut by the 4 stars
5/07/13 Charles Tatum Good stuff desperately needed to be edited down. 4 stars
9/05/11 RLan An enjoyable movie. One of Jim Carrey's better performances. 4 stars
8/14/10 robin lupinacci My dad was a decorated WWII vet, this film reached me in it's reminder of sucn values 5 stars
7/02/09 cindy Love this movie, one of Jim Carrey's best. 5 stars
12/26/05 Ben Knapton one of the most boring films ever made. 1 stars
8/08/05 Bad Critic A good film, but its running time could have been cut down a bit. 4 stars
1/04/05 HL Jim Carrey is Very Good...Story Contrived...Worth Seeing Though. 4 stars
7/06/04 R.W. Welch Overly slushy, but manages to hold your attention. 3 stars
3/04/04 daimon Pretty good 4 stars
2/01/04 Dean Carrey's best role. 4 stars
5/30/03 soliddrummer cheezy, rediculous, overly idealistic garbage. for some reason I liked it. 2 stars
4/13/03 Jack Sommersby Not as I'd feared: it's actually interesting and inolving -- to a point, though. 3 stars
4/11/03 Jack Bourbon I couldn't believe this movie thought I would buy its message. Jeez Loueez! 2 stars
3/09/03 Hannah This is the stupidest movie I've ever seen. 1 stars
1/06/03 Zaharin Hamid aka The Movie Samseng A wonderful story. Jim Carrey was great! 4 stars
1/05/03 WestcoastPunk Why does Carrey always get screwed in his movies. Once again a great performance 5 stars
11/26/02 Monster W. Kung Jake, you must be a retarded redneck fucking idiot or something. 1 stars
9/24/02 Jake Should of been nominated for Best Film instead of that Lord of the Rings rubbish 5 stars
9/04/02 Joe Zappa How can you not like this movie. Darabont & Rubberface are gods. Best courtroom scene ever! 5 stars
8/23/02 Danielle Ophelia Oy. I've digested less sugar in an entire family-size bag of Jolly Ranchers. 3 stars
8/19/02 Mr. Hat (I'm Back!) Another "Miracle Movie" from the true God Among Directors Frank Darabont!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
8/07/02 Kent Jim Carrey imitating Jimmy Stewart. The story was very predictable and got to be real dumb. 2 stars
7/10/02 Kevin I think Carrey is a very good dramatic actor... A very welcome feel good movie 5 stars
6/24/02 Del Didn't like the ending, but the ride was nice 4 stars
3/15/02 the movie moose critically shamed but excellent film 5 stars
2/28/02 Tiffany Thunderhurst Comic genius Jim C. still wanting to be serious actor; scores higher than usual this try. 4 stars
2/26/02 ownerofdajoint whatahugedisappointmentcouldntbelievehowtotallylamewantedarefunda 1 stars
2/07/02 Butterbean Carrey should go back to talking out of his asscheeks and stop trying to win an oscar nod. 2 stars
2/01/02 E-Funk Cute and cheesy...I think a lot of people missed the idea of a film emulating old Hollywood 4 stars
1/01/02 Greyjack Yay, a movie w/scenes about how great movies are. Still, it's not awful, I guess. 3 stars
12/31/01 poetchuck Heartwarming - good performance from Carey 4 stars
12/29/01 RazorDog So sugar coated I have 4 new cavities. 4 stars
12/25/01 daniboy agree COMPLETELY with A. Hershey. I had so high expectations for this one... 2 stars
12/25/01 A. HERSHEY This Film was VERY disapointing 2 stars
12/24/01 ajay Filled with so much cheese I was ready to puke. 1 stars
12/23/01 JL It's not a complete waste of ur time...a lot of great historical stuff if anything 4 stars
12/22/01 spaceworm USA TODAY: Slap, then dismiss, that bitch Claudia Puig. 4 stars
Note: Duplicate, 'planted,' or other obviously improper comments
will be deleted at our discretion. So don't bother posting 'em. Thanks!
Your Name:
Your Comments:
Your Location: (state/province/country)
Your Rating:

Discuss this movie in our forum

  21-Dec-2001 (PG)



Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About Australia's Largest Movie Review Database.
Privacy Policy | HBS Inc. | |   

All data and site design copyright 1997-2017, HBS Entertainment, Inc.
Search for
reviews features movie title writer/director/cast