Back in the 1990s, you didn't get much bigger than Jim Carrey. He was the first actor to earn a $20 million fee for "The Cable Guy." Even though it was a box office disappointment, the payday cemented Carrey's status as the king of '90s comedies. These are his best, most re-watchable efforts that still make you laugh.
'Ace Ventura: Pet Detective' (1994)
Carrey's animal-loving sleuth was dumb yet brilliant, belligerent yet sweet, nerdy yet cool. Imagine Bill Murray's chill trapped in the spastic body of Jerry Lewis. It was an astonishing breakout, and it made Carrey a movie star.
'The Mask' (1994)
Carrey plays a meek banker whose discovery of an ancient mask turns him into a zoot-suited, super-powered, anarchic avenger. The then-pioneering CGI doesn't quite hold up, though its cartoonish effects seem superfluous when you have Jim Carrey, who's already a rubber-faced, elastic-limbed Tex Avery character in human form. Bonus points to the film for launching Cameron Diaz's career.
'Dumb and Dumber' (1994)
Carrey removed the cap on his chipped front tooth to play doofus-supreme Lloyd Christmas in the film that put the Farrelly brothers on the map. It perfected Carrey's persona, introduced just ten months earlier in "Ace Ventura," that mixed childlike sweetness and goofiness with slightly more grown-up naughtiness. The result was a comedy classic and Carrey's third blockbuster of 1994; has any star ever had a career-making year like that?
'The Cable Guy' (1996)
This dark, dark comedy from Ben Stiller and co-writer Judd Apatow plays (for the most part) better in a post-Apatow comedy movie world. It's not the turd its disappointing box office will have you believe, but its mean spirit and Carrey's annoying-but-funny take on the titular obsessive sociopath is a welcome break from his usual tried-and-true act. And there are few things funnier than his trip to Medieval Times.
'Liar, Liar' (1997)
Playing a weaselly lawyer forced by his son's birthday wish to tell the truth for 24 hours, Carrey does some brilliant physical comedy as a guy who's completely lost control of his own will, face, and bodily movements. If you were a teen when this movie first came out, then you were quoting it all the time.
'The Truman Show' (1998)
One of the best movies of the '90s and of Carrey's career. Whether you enjoyed the film as a satire about television or a prescient warning about our surveillance society, you had to agree that Carrey was pitch-perfect as the unwitting subject of a 24/7 reality show. Many, including Carrey, felt he was robbed of an Oscar; indeed, he wasn't even nominated.
'Man on the Moon' (1999)
Carrey looks nothing like Taxi" co-star and legendary comedian/performance-artist/prankster. Milos Forman's sensitive, funny biopic purports to show the man behind the act, though even that could be an elaborate put-on. In retrospect, it's hard to imagine a star other than Carrey who could have pulled it off.