The Mask still holds up today for a number of reasons, not least of which is its decision to mostly abandon the comic on which it’s based. The original Mask comics, which first started properly running in 1991 imagined “a combination of Tex Avery and The Terminator” and were heavy on the gore and violence.
The movie, which is leaving Hulu at the end of September, keeps some elements of the original but puts its money on Jim Carrey and Cameron Diaz to carry things. It was the right bet. The movie is in service to Carrey and Diaz, giving them the star treatment that would solidify their careers for decades.
Of course, it’s mostly Carrey’s film. He plays Stanley Ipkiss, the put-upon nice guy banker who suddenly finds a magical mask that turns him into a living cartoon character. He bounces off of walls, appears in bright yellow suits, yells out “Somebody stop me” and “Smoking,” acting zany in all the ways that would make the character a Weird Twitter legend decades later.