Jim Carrey, Matthew Broderick
Timid, lame and painfully constricted by its need to pander to Carrey’s subtlety-impaired style, this insipid comedy has all the zip of a trip down a playground slide lined with tar and broken glass.
Carrey is a cable TV installer who does freelance stalking on the side. After he hooks up Broderick’s TV, he begins plaguing him with phone calls, gifts and visits. Carrey, submerging his usual mush-mouth diction under a crude lisp, overdoes everything, while Broderick, much the superior actor, displays relative restraint.
In tailoring the script to Carrey’s comedic limitations, writer Lou Holtz Jr. is reduced—as when Carrey urges Broderick to make a play for a woman—to giving him such lines as, “He who hesitates, masturbates.” And, as directed by Ben Stiller, Cable Guy waffles between slapstick humor and a crypto-poignancy that points the film toward its way-too-dark ending. It is almost as if, in the closing minutes of a Three Stooges romp, one of the boys actually puts another’s eye out. (PG-13)