A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this movie has strong language for a PG ("Hell, no," "The crappiest piece of crap in crap-town"). There's a lot of comic violence, including hits to the crotch that are supposed to be funny. There's also some mild sexual material, including discussion of wanting (or not wanting) to have a baby, and the central plot point is based on Tonya getting pregnant while Tim is wearing the mask. Tonya jokes that she's going to make a baby with the neighbor. There's some vulgar humor, including potty jokes.
What's the story?
In this sequel, would-be animator Tim (Jamie Kennedy) lives with his wife Tonya (Traylor Howard) in a cartoony-looking little house. She wants a baby, but he's not ready. On his way to the office Halloween party, Tim finds the magic mask from the first film and decides to wear it, unaware it will unleash his hidden desires and remove all his inhibitions. Tim impresses the party goers with his wild behavior -- everyone thinks he's testing out a new cartoon character. Back home, he's now willing to help his wife conceive. Nine months later the baby is born with some of the mask's powers, because Tim had the mask on when he was conceived. This comes to the attention of Loki (Alan Cummings), the Norse god of mischief and the mask's original owner. His father, Odin orders him to get it back, so Loki begins checking out every baby born on Tim's baby's birthday. Tim is also hunting for the mask – he's unaware of his baby's unusual abilities; he needs the mask back to finish up creating a new cartoon character. Tonya leaves town on a business trip, with Tim on full-time daddy duty, just as the baby's transformational powers really start to take over and Loki finds what he was looking for. The movie then gets turned over to the special effects department for some cartoon-ish fun.
Is it any good?
SON OF THE MASK is both watered down and jazzed up, like a kid who's had too much sugar. This semi-sequel (all new characters except for Ben Stein's cameo) is directed at a younger audience, and despite some questionable material, it is more mild than wild. There's not much by way of imagination and few of the effects qualify as "special." Jamie may be many notches down the star pole from Jim Carrey (star of the original film), but he is a likeable and funny guy. For some reason, though, this film fails to make the best use of the talents he does have, making him the straight man.
Kids will enjoy the silly humor, but parents may question the appropriateness of some of the material in the movie, especially for younger children, although there's nothing explicit. This movie is dumb and loud, which some children will confuse with entertaining but others will just find overwhelming. It is a shame not to make better use of Kennedy's talents; he is mostly limited to reaction shots. It's a bigger shame to waste this technology and the goodwill left over from the first film on a dull story with forgettable characters.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how parents decide when they are ready to have a baby. Why was it so important to Tim that he be someone his child would be proud of? Why did Tim say that the baby helped him grow up? What is "positive reinforcement" and why is it important? Why are there stories about a god of mischief? What other characters in stories and myths like to cause trouble?
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