Every Jim Carrey Movie, Ranked From Worst to Best – menshealth.com
From the ’90s into the early 2000s, Jim Carrey had a run virtually untouchable by any other modern actor. From Ace Ventura to Dumb and Dumber and Bruce Almighty, Carrey’s natural comedic gifts were on display in hit after hit after hit. But he also managed to find a niche in more muted, less comedic performances in movies like Man on the Moon or Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. In these, he proved that he wasn’t only skilled at finding ways to make you laugh, but could find a way to make you cry, too.
After a few years away from the spotlight (and with a lot more focus on painting), Carrey is ready to get back into it. On February 14, he’ll appear in the newly-released Sonic The Hedgehog as the villainous Dr. Robotnik (a performance that’s been hailed by critics as the highlight of the movie). He’s also in the midst of the second season of his wildly-underrated Showtime series, Kidding, which makes perfect use of his melancholic humor.
In honor of Sonic’s release, we thought it time to revisit and rank all 31 of Carrey’s movies. Not every movie on the list is a winner, but it’s hard to ever argue that our friend Jim isn’t giving it his all. Let’s get to the list.
31. Dark Crimes (2018)
Carrey has had some great successes when venturing into genres other than comedy, but Dark Crimes is not one of them. This movie was filmed in 2015, and while it was technically released some places in 2016, its official release didn’t come until 2018. Jim tries his best, but it’s not enough to overcome how truly sloppy the movie around him is—it currently holds a 0% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
30. Dumb and Dumber To (2014)
While it’s a delight to see the chemistry between Carrey and Jeff Daniels is still there after 20 years (seriously, these guys love each other and it is fantastic), this sequel…is not good. In fact, it’s atrocious, and borderline unwatchable.
Enjoy the warm fuzziness you feel from the Daniels-Carrey reunion as long as it lasts, because once it’s gone all that’s left is a really bad movie that you may not even be able to finish.
29. The Number 23 (2007)
The Number 23 was another Jim Carrey attempt at trying something outside of the comedies he’d become known so well for and, well, it didn’t work. If memes existed in 2007, there probably would’ve been quite a few making fun of this extremely odd movie and it’s even stranger premise. The Number 23 sort of feels like the spiritual successor to the “Hello Mister Police” memes of a few years ago. The desire is really there to be a David Fincher-esque thriller, but the execution is not.
28. Mr. Popper’s Penguins (2011)
Jim Carrey actually once called Mr. Popper’s Penguins his true passion project, something he wanted to work on for his entire career but just needed to secure the funding—just kidding. This 2011 family film is based on a 1938 beloved children’s book of the same name. It’s totally harmless and very middle-of-the-road.
27. Peggy Sue Got Married (1986)
Jim’s role as Walter Getz in Peggy Sue Got Married is super small; this was just under a decade before he broke out, after all. That being said, it’s still Jim Carrey in a Francis Ford Coppola movie. Gotta pay respect where it’s due.
26. Earth Girls Are Easy (1989)
This pre-fame Carrey flick saw him paired with Jeff Goldblum and Damon Wayans as aliens who arrive on Earth looking for some much-needed female companionship. Carrey plays a character called “Wiploc,” which by itself should give you a little insight into just how goofy this movie is. Geena Davis is also here (reuniting with Goldblum only a couple years after The Fly!).
25. Once Bitten (1985)
This 1985 horror-comedy finds Carrey as a very horny (and sometimes possessed) high schooler in the midst of a wild vampire story. There are worse ways to spend a couple hours, but also better.
24. The Incredible Burt Wonderstone (2013)
When I first heard about a comedy where Steve Carell was facing off with Jim Carrey and both were playing magicians, my expectations couldn’t have been higher. What a duo! Those expectations came nowhere near being reached.
Carrey’s Criss Angel-esque character is only in the movie for a few scenes (though he is admittedly funny), but the movie itself is mediocre at best. Negative points for a soundtrack that features Imagine Dragons.
23. The Bad Batch (2017)
The Bad Batch is a Mad Max-esque thriller starring our old pal Jason Momoa. Don’t go into this movie expecting the Jim Carrey with the gift of gab you probably expect—he plays a hermit who doesn’t speak.
22. Horton Hears A Who! (2008)
A few years before the disappointment of Burt Wonderstone, Carrey and Carrell also teamed up (albeit through voiceovers) for Horton Hears a Who! based on the Dr. Seuss book of the same name. Ultimately, a nice children’s movie! The Lorax, which came out a few years later, was better, though.
21. A Christmas Carol (2009)
Where Tom Hanks was central to The Polar Express, Jim Carrey was central to this 2009 telling of A Christmas Carol. He played four characters: Scrooge, along with all three ghosts (Christmas Past, Christmas Present, and Christmas Future). Until last year’s FX/BBC Christmas Carol, this may have been the darkest version of the story ever told. It movie made some money, and got mixed reviews, but didn’t become a classic in the way another entry down the list did.
20. The Majestic (2001)
This movie was another attempt at Carrey going dramatic, but he has done it significantly better elsewhere. The movie, again, is fine, but it’s a little over-earnest, and sometimes feels too similar to some It’s a Wonderful Life -ish stuff.
19. Kick-Ass 2 (2013)
While not as good as the original Kick-Ass, this sequel was more than passable, and Carrey’s character was actually quite enjoyable. He plays Colonel Stars and Stripes, an ex-mafia member who became a born-again Christian and started to lead a team of vigilantes. He fits really well in this quasi-meta superhero world.
18. I Love You Philip Morris (2009)
Just on paper, this is a duo you know you love: Jim Carrey and Ewan McGregor. Carrey is so good in this movie, based on a true-life con artist and how he fell in love with the man he met during a short stint in prison.
17. Batman Forever (1995)
This was a weird era of Batman movies, and this movie was a particularly bizarre pairing. Alongside a very miscast Tommy Lee Jones as Two-Face, Carrey played The Riddler. Where the Batman villains of today tend to be more reeled in, this Riddler was basically a cartoon character. The whole movie, directed by The Number 23‘s Joel Schumacher really is something. Not even necessarily bad! Just….something.
16. Sonic The Hedgehog (2020)
In a comeback of sorts (he’s also starring in the second season of his criminally-underrated Showtime series, Kidding), Sonic marks Carrey’s first major big screen role since 2014.
And critics have praised Carrey’s Dr. Robotnik—the villain, and Sonic’s enemy—as the best part of the film. It’s being called a vintage Carrey performance, and in the midst of the year 2020, you can’t ask for much more.
15. Me, Myself & Irene (2000)
A few years after Dumb and Dumber, Carrey re-teamed with the Farrelly Brothers in an attempt to recapture that same magic. It didn’t quite work to the same affect, but this movie with Carrey as a small-town police officer with a troublemaking split personality came right at the end of Carrey’s golden ’90s era, and has more than a few good laughs.
14. Fun With Dick and Jane (2005)
This oddly-prescient comedy about a couple that loses all their money when a company has an Enron-esque crash (it came out three years before the 2008 housing crisis) saw Carrey team with Tea Leoni as the titular Dick and Jane, in a movie that pokes fun at white collar crime and the big wigs who pull it off.
Alec Baldwin plays the lying executive who screws the pair out of a whole lot of money. It’s funny! You don’t hear many people talk about this movie these days, but that’s OK. If you’re ever flicking around for a movie and this is either streaming somewhere or halfway done playing on TBS, it’s worth a shot.
13. Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events (2004)
Before this purposefully-dark YA series was adapted into a three-season Netflix Original Series, it was a 2004 film with Jim Carrey playing Count Olaf, the master of disguise thespian villain. And, honestly, this is exactly the kind of Jim Carrey performance that people come out for—he EATS up every scene he’s in.
Even when he’s not on screen, you’re always looking for him. And he shares the screen (very randomly) with Meryl Streep!
12. Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls (1995)
Somehow this Ace Ventura sequel came out only a year after the original hit theaters. It’s fine! More of the same, which is Jim Carrey playing Ace Ventura, and being very, very funny. It’s not wildly different from the first movie, which puts it right here on the list. In other words:stay tuned for the below entry on Ace Ventura: Pet Detective.
11. How The Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)
This movie was not super popular with critics (50% from critics on Rotten Tomaoes) or fans (56% on Rotten Tomatoes), but has become a Christmas classic through sheer love of Jim Carrey and the bizarre energy that he puts into his performances. There’s a lot of nostalgia here, but you can also find this movie all over TV every. single. year. It’s weird, for sure, but Carrey does a good job of embodying the Grinch that everyone remembers from Dr. Seuss, and also making the character his own.
10. Yes Man (2008)
Jim Carrey kinda rehashed Liar Liar a little bit in Yes Man, but it doesn’t matter, because this movie is a blast. As a guy who can’t get over a recent break-up and always looking for excuses to not do anything, Carrey instead decides to take up a lifestyle of only saying ‘Yes,’ and never declining any offer. It gets a little crude, but with Zooey Deschanel and Bradley Cooper (a year before The Hangover!) this is a really fun movie with a great cast.
9. The Mask (1994)
Just in it’s own basic premise, the movie set up a classic Jim Carrey performance: a mild-mannered guy who finds a mythically-powered mask that makes him extremely outgoing. If that juxtaposition doesn’t sound factory-made for Jim Carrey, than what does? Plus, this movie introduced the world to national treasure Cameron Diaz, for which moviegoers will always be thankful.
8. Man on the Moon (1999)
Carrey’s performance as Andy Kaufman in Miloš Forman’s Man on the Moon is easily the most intense he’s ever given; he famously was in character his entire time on set of the movie, going full method. In fact, a documentary about the making of the movie, titled Jim and Andy: The Great Beyond chronicled the whole thing back in 2017.
7. Liar Liar (1997)
If Jim Carrey is going to play a lawyer, you don’t want him doing some John Grisham legal drama—no, you want him slamming his head on a table in a courtroom, obviously. Carrey was at what might have been his physical comedy peak in Liar Liar, and it makes the most of its star’s natural comic talents.
6. Bruce Almighty (2003)
Just like Liar Liar, Bruce Almighty is a relatively high-concept quasi-fantasy comedy that sees Jim Carrey play Bruce, a down-on-his-luck weatherman who…gains the powers of God (Morgan Freeman). I think the movie is pretty fairly seen as the final smash hit of Carrey’s golden era, and he really does kill it. Additional co-stars Jennifer Aniston and Steve Carell (who, in this pre-Office, pre-Anchorman, and pre-40 Year Old Virgin appearance was credited as “Steven Carell”) make this movie one to remember (Evan Almighty, meanwhile, can be forgotten at your leisure).
5. The Cable Guy (1996)
By far the most underrated movie on this list, and probably the most underrated movie of the entire 1990s decade, The Cable Guy finds Jim Carrey going dark (opposite straight man Matthew Broderick) in a creepy comedy that was way ahead of it’s time. Carrey plays a cable guy who grows closer and closer to Broderick’s everyman; weird TV references, scenes set at Medeival Times, and some really creepy Fatal Attraction energy sets the movie up for success.
In addition to Carrey and Broderick, this movie also has Jack Black, Owen Wilson, and Leslie Mann, and was directed by Ben Stiller and produced by Judd Apatow. If this came out 10 years later, it might’ve been massive—but you’ll just have to take our word for it now.
4. Ace Ventura: Pet Detective
This is the Jim Carrey breakout, the movie that took him from the funny guy on In Living Color to JIM CARREY, MOVIE STAR. Countless catchphrases, talking out of his butt (literally), Hawaiian shirts, and crazy hair—Ace Ventura really has it all.
Never forget: Laces Out.
3. The Truman Show (1998)
When Carrey nails a non-comedic role, he really, really nails it. And that’s exactly what happens in The Truman Show, a sci-fi concept that never feels sci-fi. Carrey plays a man who was literally bred into what would be today considered…a lifestyle vlogger. Except he has no idea he’s a lifestyle vlogger. His every move is captured on TV, and his entire life is a business for other people. But Truman…he starts to figure this out. And the rest is history.
The movie is insanely good, and it’s super close with #1 on our list for the best acting Carrey has done.
2. Dumb and Dumber (1994)
While in my mind there’s a tight competition for Carrey’s best non-comedy role between our list’s #1 and #3, there’s no question about his funniest role: Lloyd Christmas. As we mentioned when discussing the awful Dumb and Dumber To sequel, the chemistry between Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels is otherworldly, and Carrey’s gifts at pulling laughs from the funniest, silliest, and, well, dumbest stuff are just on an inhumane level. There is nothing not hysterical about Dumb and Dumber.
1. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
As you can tell from reading this list, picking Jim Carrey’s best movie is no enviable task. That being said, there was also very little hesitation: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is the best movie he’s ever been in. This story of a man who erases heartbreaking memories of his ex-girlfriend from his memory isn’t the Carrey who made your stomach hurt from laughing in Dumb and Dumber or Bruce Almighty; this Carrey might make a tear flow down your cheek instead.
With a masterful score by Jon Brion, great direction from Michel Gondry, and a cast that also includes Kate Winslet, Kirsten Dunst, Tom Wilkinson, Mark Ruffalo, and Elijah Wood, Eternal Sunshine is a 16-year old movie that already has a spot in the all-time canon.
Evan is an associate editor for Men’s Health, with bylines in The New York Times, MTV News, Brooklyn Magazine, and VICE.
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