Jim Carrey was born in 1962 and he grew up in Ontario, Canada. While he had several small roles in various films throughout the 1980s, his big break came in 1990 as one of the founding cast members of In Living Color. While the show launched many future stars such as Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Lopez, and all of the Wayans brothers, none took off quicker than Jim Carrey. His slapstick characters were an instant hit with US audiences. From there, Carrey's film career took off, beginning with Ace Ventura: Pet Detective in 1994.
Ironically, he actually bombed in his first stand-up performance. As a teenager in Toronto's Yuk Yuk Comedy Club, his unique brand of comedy and impersonations did not get a positive audience reaction. He was left doubting his comedic abilities.
Luckily for us, he kept persisting. He has since become one of the biggest comedic box office draws in Hollywood. While many of his movies have a slapstick element to them, he has shown much more depth as an artist and this list of films demonstrate his range as both a comedic and a dramatic actor.
1. The Truman Show
2. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
3. The Mask
4. Bruce Almighty
5. Dumb and Dumber
6. Liar Liar
7. Ace Ventura: Pet Detective
8. The Cable Guy
9. Man on the Moon
10. Yes Man
11. The Majestic
11. The Majestic (2001)
The Majestic is a beautiful throwback drama that harkens to the films of Frank Capra. Carrey plays a blacklisted script writer who suffers amnesia in a car accident. However, he ends up in a small town and is mistaken for a returning war hero named Luke Trimble due to an uncanny physical resemblence. Without memory of his former life, he blends into a new life and love as Trimble and ultimately reopens the town's movie theater, the Majestic.
As his memory begins to return, he is faced with the ethical dilemma of coming clean with his new family or continuing the ruse as Trimble. While a simple story, the patriotic themes and wonderfully robust characters make it a heartwarming film and Carrey is very good in this dramatic role. This film has a resemblance to It's a Wonderful Life. However, the narrative is a bit darker than most Capra films.
Not many people have probably seen The Majestic so I felt I should add it as the 11th entry. It is definitely worth checking out. A lot has been written about Carrey as a comedian, but he proves here that he is also a fine dramatic actor.
10. Yes Man (2008)
In this silly comedy, Carrey partners up with Zooey Deschanel, whose cute, somewhat ditzy, but always irresistible screen presence is a perfect compliment to his brand of humor. Yes Man is a romantic comedy, which is not typical for Jim. However, it is both funny and touching and works as a romcom.
Carl (Carrey) is clinically depressed after his divorce and has become a recluse who watches movies at home during his free time. He is talked into attending a motivational seminar by Terrance Bundley (Terrance Stamp), whose motivational philosophy is to "say yes to more opportunities in life." During the seminar, Carl is singled out. After being humiliated, he agrees to make a change in his life to say yes to all opportunities.
As you can imagine, saying yes to everything is going to lead to some humor. He says yes to taking flying lessons, learning Korean, learning guitar, etc. Along the way, he meets Allison (Deschanel) and falls in love. Later, their relationship is put to the test when he is detained as a potential terrorist (because of all the strange courses he is taking) and has to admit he is saying yes to everything. Allison questions whether she was just another whim that he was saying yes to.
This is a good movie that doesn't use Carrey's traditional sense of comedy. It is a good mix of humor and romance that will keep you smiling in the end.
9. Man on the Moon (1999)
Man on the Moon is a biopic about Andy Kaufman, the eccentric 70s comedian. While this is more of a drama than a comedy, some of the scenes are quite funny, especially the early SNL scenes where Kaufman breaks out on the scene with his crazy drum act.
Carrey is eerily brilliant in recreating Kaufman and his exceedingly odd comedy and lifestyle. It is clear that he has a healthy respect for Kaufman and his talents; it shines through in this role. This film demonstrates Jim's wide range as a dramatic and comedic actor.
It was unfortunate that he was not nominated for an Academy Award for this role. 1999 was a tough year for the Best Actor category as it included Kevin Spacey for American Beauty, Russell Crowe for The Insider, and Denzel Washington for The Hurricane. However, Carrey did win the Golden Globe for Best Actor for this role.
8. The Cable Guy (1996)
The Cable Guy is not your typical humorous film. It is a dark comedy about complete madness. As such, it can play with your emotions. You can feel guilty laughing at Carrey's character. He displays a depth of acting in this film that we don't see in many comedies. He is quite believable as a man at the fringe of society dropping into the mental abyss.
By the way, the cast of this movie is outstanding. Matthew Broderick is great at working as the straight man and his facial expressions make many of the comedic scenes. There are also cameos by Jack Black, Owen Wilson, David Cross, Janeane Garofalo, Ben Stiller, and Andy Dick. This film is a must see.
7. Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (1994)
After bursting on the comedy scene with In Living Color, this was Carrey's first leading movie role and made him an instant box office success. This film has a simple plot but it features comedy with excellent delivery.
This movie is a non-stop romp of pratfalls, one-liners, and priceless facial expressions. For two hours, you can forget about the world and its problems while you laugh uncontrollably at Ace Ventura and his antics.
This is worth checking out as the film that started a career.
6. Liar Liar (1997)
Liar Liar is a traditional Jim Carrey comedy that combines his slapstick, verbal, and facial schticks into a hilarious romp. He plays an attorney who can only tell the truth after his son's wish comes true. Hilarity ensues as we see how we take all the little white lies we tell for granted as we try to avoid hurting the feelings of others.
This is a well-written comedy movie and is well-suited for Carrey's improv antics. It is definitely one of his top movies and a lot of fun for the whole family.
5. Dumb and Dumber (1994)
I have to admit upfront that this is not one of my favorite movies. However, it is highly ranked by both Rankography members and most Carrey fans. If you have not seen Dumb and Dumber, you should give it a shot. It is a very original comedy and is a cult classic that is viewed over and over by many devoted fans.
Jeff Daniels and Jim Carrey play very stupid best friends that end up on a cross-country adventure chasing a woman. They end up thwarting a crime in spite of themselves.
It is slapstick and sophomoric, but there are many great and memorable one liners throughout the film. Ask any fan and they will start rattling off 10-12 of them.
4. Bruce Almighty (2003)
Bruce Almighty stars Carrey as Bruce Nolan, a newscaster in Buffalo, New York. Jennifer Aniston also stars as his fiancé. When Nolan complains to God about all the bad breaks in his life, he ends up in a life-changing meeting with him (Morgan Freeman). God is exhausted from granting all the worlds wishes and convinces Nolan to take over his powers for so he could take a much needed vacation.
As you can imagine, having God-like powers is going to create some comedy. These powers offer Nolan the opportunity to get back at anyone that has wronged him in the past and some of these punishments are downright hilarious.
This comedy is well-written and very funny. It is definitely one of Carrey's best films.
3. The Mask (1994)
One of the more original entries on the list, The Mask is both a comedy and a superhero adventure film. Stanley Ipkiss (Carrey) is a pushover bank clerk who is transformed into a superhero when he discovers and dons an ancient mask. Of course, he ends up at odds with a local gangster, Dorian Tyrell (Peter Greene), when he falls for Tyrell's girlfriend, lounge singer Tina Carlyle (Cameron Diaz). Tyrell makes it his mission to destroy Ipkiss and the Mask.
This was a perfect film for the actor's early slapstick character-based comedy. His facial expressions and antics made this one of my favorite comedy movies.
The Mask was nominated for an Oscar for Best Special Effects and you will see why when watching this film. Keep in mind that it was made in 1994, long before CGI was a household word. They were able to blend live-action and animation in a way not seen before. Carrey is sensational in this movie and this is a must-see film if you are a fan.
2. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is a complex drama film that really requires a couple of viewings to catch all the nuances. However, it is a triumph for Carrey in a dramatic role. The story follows a couple with a tumultous relationship. When Joel Barish (Carrey) discovers that his longtime girlfriend, Clementine (Kate Winslet), undergoes a procedure to erase him from her memory, he is heartbroken and decides to undertake the same procedure. However, while viewing memories during the procedure, Joel changes his mind and much of the film follows him trying to hide away memories within his mind to avoid losing Clementine forever.
It is a poignant film that explores the intricate ups and downs of a relationship and how much work is involved in maintaining one. Overall, this film is very much a must-see.
1. The Truman Show (1998)
The Truman Show is my favorite Jim Carrey film and I am pleased to see that it was ranked best on the blended average ranking. What is truly amazing about this film is that it was released in 1998, long before reality television dominated our airwaves. It is almost as if director Peter Weir and writer Andrew Niccol were given a glimpse into the future and created this film as a warning to us all.
The Truman Show is a beautiful film that takes reality television to the extreme and tells the story of Truman Burbank (Carrey), who has unwittingly been the subject of a reality show throughout his life. His reality is actually just a show for the rest of the world. Obviously, we have not yet taken reality television to this extreme, but it is clear that we have not heeded any of the warnings presented in this film and continue to push the envelope of reality TV.
Jim shows us a wide range of dramatic ability throughout this film, first as a mild-mannered average guy and later coming to grips with signs that his life might not be real. He ultimately deals with the devastation of learning that his whole life was a farce for television viewers. I think this is an important film with wonderful dramatic performances by Carrey, Ed Harris, and Laura Linney.
The film was nominated for three Academy Awards; Best Director, Best Original Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor (Harris).
© 2011 Rankography
What did you think of this lens about Jim Carrey?
Balasubrahmanyam on February 02, 2019:
His comedy timing and energy levels are excellent....
ROBBIE HUBBARD on July 27, 2018:
I LIKE HIM IN BATMAN FOREVER BECAUSE IT WAS A GOOD MOVIE TO SEE WITH HIM IN IT.
Michael Chege on February 13, 2018:
He is such a great actor I love all his work and looking forward to more in the years to come.
siva on February 05, 2017:
i don't know what to write about him or his film character. but i like him when he is playing the role.
Niktravelfit on June 11, 2014:
Great lens about a, in my opinion, way underrated actor.
Pinar Unlu from Mugla Turkey on October 10, 2013:
Thanks, it made me crave to watch one ! Great lens !
mel-kav on September 26, 2013:
Great lens! I love Jim Carrey. There are so many funny, funny movies of his that I love, but The Truman Show was my favorite, even though it was not comedy.
anonymous on August 29, 2013:
My whole family loves Mr. Popper's Penguins. Jim Carrey's facial expressions are amazing, he can really maximise the use of every human facial muscle. It's really awesome how he can contort his face in unimaginable ways.
anonymous on May 05, 2013:
I enjoyed Ace Ventura and me myself and irene
Underrated on April 21, 2013:
JIm Carrey is one of the coolest actors of our generation. I mean he's best comic actor for sure and he even made a name for himself in dramas like Truman Show, Eternal Sunshine and Man On The Moon.
Thomo85 on April 06, 2013:
I Love Jim Carrey, he is probably one of my all time favourite actors. I believe he can truly do anything.
Rose Jones on February 09, 2013:
I love Jim Carrey and I realize that there are a lot of his movies I have not seen. It is interesting to realize that he was homeless at one point of his life. Pinned to my movies board and blessed.
john9229 on January 21, 2013:
I still remember the Ace Ventura movie when I was in school. We shared the movie among friends.. I love Jim Carry movies!
shamblesman lm on January 09, 2013:
@Just4Luck: good comment!
shamblesman lm on January 09, 2013:
very funny.....I only have to think of him in The Mask or Fun With Dick and Jane and I start to smile.........brilliant
audrey07 on January 03, 2013:
I'm not really a fan of his but I have watched a few of his films - Ace Ventura, Liar, Liar and Bruce Almighty.
Justin from Slovenija on December 28, 2012:
Jim Carrey is always funny. One of rare things in our world we can count on.
anonymous on December 25, 2012:
For me I liked him at his very best in "The Mask" other Films are okay too.
rudhushudu on December 25, 2012:
My fav comedy hero!
myspace9 on December 17, 2012:
He is good hero, I didn't watch English movies, but I have seen his one or two movies. So I remembered his name and story too. Nice lens and thanks a lot for Squidliking my two lenses.
cjbmeb14 lm on December 04, 2012:
I was watching Dumb and Dumber last night, great lens thanks.
pumpum on November 26, 2012:
Great lens. I love his movies. I love almost every, but my favorites are Ace ventura, The mask, Dumb and dumber.
VspaBotanicals on November 18, 2012:
I remember Jim Carrey on "In Living Color". My goodness ... this man was born for comedy. I love him.
MirandaGrimm on November 15, 2012:
YES!! So glad to see my favorite movie made the #1 spot on this lens. The Truman Show is one of my all-time favorite movies!
Noveliaa on October 31, 2012:
Great lens- I enjoyed reading it very much.
Cynthia Sylvestermouse from United States on October 31, 2012:
Happy Halloween blessings to you!
pcgamehardware on October 04, 2012:
Jim Carrey is one of my favorite actors, and now this is one of my favorite lenses.
Really nice job on creating this lens. :) Liked and Blessed. :)
RichBerry LM on October 03, 2012:
Man on the Moon is an awesome film, underrated by a lot of people.
supersiva on September 15, 2012:
The MASK is always my favorite movie of Jim - So fast and funny
LizardKing3 on September 09, 2012:
Cable Guy is so underrated!
JimH on August 30, 2012:
I love the karaoke scene in Cable Guy!
FashionMommy on August 24, 2012:
Great lens. I love Jim Carrey.
Tolovaj Publishing House from Ljubljana on August 19, 2012:
Great comedian with amazing achievements. I hope Jim Carrey will not stop making great movies for a long time!
sconnelly711 on August 17, 2012:
Good stuff, I love Jim Carry
anonymous on July 18, 2012:
Jim Carrey is one of my favorite comedy actors. I love Dumb and Dumber, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and Me, Myself, and Irene. *Blessed*
Mikewrites LM on July 12, 2012:
It was great I love most films I see him in has a huge amount of talent. Cool lens
CheyanneWassell on July 03, 2012:
Absolutely love this guy. Grew up with both The Mask and Ace Ventura, many memories. Also great lense...love it!
anonymous on June 15, 2012:
I was sure I had been here before, don't know how I've missed this fun.
anonymous on June 15, 2012:
A delightful presentation of the best of Jim Carrey, the guy is just who he is and we love him!
Laraine Sims from Lake Country, B.C. on June 09, 2012:
I'm going to have to see The Majestic .. sounds like a good movie!
worldrevivalnet on June 03, 2012:
cinefile on May 23, 2012:
I just can't seem to like this guy for some reason =(
wolvyz on May 19, 2012:
I love his each an every movie. The Mask is my best one. Man on the moon is also awesome.
Sharon Bellissimo from Toronto, Canada on May 13, 2012:
What I like about Jim Carey is that he did not give up, he pursued his dream relentlessly till he achieved the success he has today.
Ajeet on May 05, 2012:
His greatest asset is his flexible jaw :)
Rankography (author) on May 02, 2012:
@uneasywriter lm: Wow uneasy, he would be in my top 5 people I would love to have a conversation with.
uneasywriter lm on May 02, 2012:
Me, Myself & Irene is my personal Jim Carey film. I got a chance to meet Jim Carey about 10 years ago. Fun personality even when he is one on one in person.
DotComBusted on April 24, 2012:
You've got me here ... Jim Carrey is my favourite actor... He is so full of ... life :)
avigarret on April 23, 2012:
Dumb and Dumber and Me Myself and Irene are my personal favorite, along with this lens :)
anonymous on April 19, 2012:
All successes of this man would in all probability be hidden behind the Mask! :)
goo2eyes lm on April 09, 2012:
dumb and dumber is really a hit. i had to laugh aloud at the end of the film when they did not board the bus with lots of beautiful girls inside. they were really dumber.
Frankie Kangas from California on April 08, 2012:
Excellent lens. Jim Carrey has so much talent. I hadn't realized he'd made all of these movies. I'll be renting some soon. Bear hugs, Frankster
tylerabernethy22 on April 07, 2012:
Jim Carey is awesome. I don't like ALL of his movies, but I like 99% of them. I even liked his semi-less comedic movie "Fun with Dick and Jane"
WriterJanis2 on March 29, 2012:
He does make some fun movies.
georgeadri69 on March 22, 2012:
Ace Ventura rocks. ''Like a glove''. Epic. :)
Tugee on March 18, 2012:
Amazing list of movies.
dahlia369 on March 17, 2012:
I'm not the biggest fan of Jim Carrey but I always thought he was brilliant as a Grinch, stealing Christmas... :)
Rankography (author) on March 11, 2012:
@sousababy: Thanks so much Rose. I appreciate it.
sousababy on March 11, 2012:
Will be featuring you and this lens (plus a couple more of yours) on my new lens 'Squidoo people with a good heart - Part IV.' Hope it helps!
Shorebirdie from San Diego, CA on March 10, 2012:
I loved him in the Truman Show. I also liked Mr. Popper's Penguins.
Samuel Franklin on February 26, 2012:
Great movies from a great actor
anonymous on February 04, 2012:
Cool lens and interesting list
Rose Jones on January 25, 2012:
Your work is consistently helpful in directing us to our favorite actors. These preferences are going to the queue on my Netflix!
agent009 on November 29, 2011:
I like his comedy movies more. His role in The Number 23...not his high point.
anonymous on November 08, 2011:
You are right.The True Man show is #1.
Optionstradingiq on November 02, 2011:
Awesome lens, I love this guy. Hasn't made a movie for a few years though has he? Unless I just missed it. Be good to see him come out with a new one soon.
Mona from Iowa on November 02, 2011:
I love most everything Jim Carrey does though a couple were not my thing. Loved seeing so many old favorites.
pawpaw911 on October 12, 2011:
Always liked Jim Carrey.
healthandsick on October 08, 2011:
very good actor..
JoshK47 on October 08, 2011:
Great list - I keep meaning to see Eternal Sunshine.
Performancecars on August 28, 2011:
Earth girls are easy was a good one
KimGiancaterino on August 27, 2011:
One of my favorite Jim Carrey performances is in a made-for-TV movie, "Doing Time on Maple Drive" (1992). And who can forget his dance number in the cheesy vampire classic "Once Bitten" (1985). Funny, but after seeing that, I knew he'd be a major star.
ideadesigns on August 21, 2011:
I've seen six of these and think Jim Carey is the bomb. I may have to watch your other suggestions.
Bill from Gold Coast, Australia on August 21, 2011:
Another notable mention was the most recent of his films that I saw. Mr Poppins Penguins was a great family movie. Linking slightly back to my Clint Eastwood lens here with this fact: Did you know that Jim Carrey played a part in the final Dirty Harry movie - The Dead Pool? He was pretty young then and credited as James Carrey!
sukkran trichy from Trichy/Tamil Nadu on August 15, 2011:
i am ardent fan of jim carrey. love all his films. great collection of best carrey movies.
Rankography (author) on August 15, 2011:
@LissaKlar LM: I know what you mean Lisa, there are so many great Jim Carrey comedies. Keep in mind I did not select this Top 10 listing but rather it is the blended average of all members that ranked the category at Rankography. Thanks so much for your comments and voting.
LissaKlar LM on August 14, 2011:
Even though I love all Jim Carrey movies, I can't believe Bruce Almighty is on this list. Ace Venture Pet Detective 2 is one of my favorite comedies of all time. I'm just surprised not more of the comedies are here. How about Dick and Jane - hilarious! Great descriptions. Love the top 10 list.
Cynthia Sylvestermouse from United States on August 12, 2011:
Gotta love Jim Carrey! Liar, Liar is one of my all time favorites :)
anonymous on August 12, 2011:
Man who doesn't Love Jim Carrey Movies!!! I really wish he would make some more!
JublyJem on August 04, 2011:
Jim is so funny! great lens! brings back some good memories.
Tony Payne from Southampton, UK on March 11, 2011:
Jim Carey has had some great acting roles. I liked him in Lemony Snicket, and also in a rare straight role in Simon Birch.