Jim Carrey’s Movies Ranked

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Jim Carrey has been a staple of the American comedy scene for thirty years. Getting his big break as a cast member on the popular sketch comedy series In Living Color, his star ascended to the stratosphere in 1994. He headlined three of the biggest films of his career: Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, The Mask, and Dumb and Dumber. From there, his career has seen interesting peaks and valleys as the comedic actor has tried his hand at everything from dour independent dramas to lurid thrillers, hagiographic biopics, and everything in between. 

However, having such a diverse career trajectory can lend itself to something other than consistent quality. This list is by no means definitive, as we’ll only be covering the films where he’s the star. This means that films like Peggy Sue Got Married, Kick-Ass 2, and Anchorman 2 would be disqualified. With that in mind, let’s look at the highs and lows of Jim Carrey’s career, starting with the worst and moving towards the best!

1. Dumb and Dumber (1994)

Photo Credit: New Line Cinema.

This iconic comedy, starring Carrey and Jeff Daniels in a rare comedic performance, follows two bumbling roommates who travel across the country in search of love. Hilarious and touching in equal measure, this film has Carrey at the top of his game, harkening his comedic prowess as well as the dramatic ethos he’d adopt a decade later. This film more than earns its reputation as a classic of the genre and Jim Carrey’s best film!

2. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)

Photo Credit: Focus Features.

Michel Gondry and Charlie Kaufman’s psychological drama follows couple Carrey and Kate Winslet as they decide to get a procedure to erase their memories after the dissolution of their relationship. Carrey’s touching and empathetic performance shows him doing arguably the best work of his career. It is an incredibly tender film about the nature of relationships in the modern age.

3. Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (1994)

Photo Credit: Morgan Creek Entertainment.

Jim Carrey’s breakout role is a performance for the ages. However, some of the comedy hasn’t aged well. The ending of the film hinges on some serious transphobia. Carrey’s electric performance and some location shooting in mid-90s Miami make this box-office smash worth seeking out!

4. The Mask (1994)

Photo Credit: New Line Cinema.

Jim Carrey stars in Chuck Russell’s adaptation of the Dark Horse comic book about a loser who’s granted the power of Greek Gods when he finds an ancient mask. Goofy cartoon hijinks abound, and Carrey’s comedic sensibilities really shine here. It’s a blast from start to finish!

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5. Me, Myself, and Irene (2000)

Photo Credit: Twentieth Century Fox.

The Farrelly Brothers’ gross-out comedy stars Jim Carrey as a Rhode Island highway patrolman who develops a split personality as a response to being treated like dirt by the town’s residents. As extreme as mainstream comedy gets, Carrey shines in a role that’s as mean as this one. It’s a raunchy good time for those who can handle this style of humor.

6. Man on the Moon (1999)

Photo Credit: Universal Pictures.

Milos Forman’s biopic on comedian Andy Kaufman features a revelatory performance from Carrey, who gives the comedian an interior life in a way that no other actor could have done. It is a beautiful film about one of the most enigmatic comedians to ever live.


7. The Cable Guy (1996)

Photo Credit: Columbia Pictures.

A darkly comedic turn for Carrey, the film follows a cable repairman’s obsession with one of his customers. Though many saw it as alienating and bizarre at the time, the film has aged shockingly well. Carrey’s performance as a disaffected loner feels especially prescient in the age of social media.

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8. Fun with Dick and Jane (2005)

Photo Credit: Columbia Pictures.

Judd Apatow co-wrote this mid-aughts comedy, which marks Carrey’s official return to the genre as a fun if a bit toothless, satire about suburban America at the turn of the new century. Carry and his co-star Tea Leoni have great chemistry, but the movie ultimately fizzles out. It’s a fun, if inessential, watch.

9. Bruce Almighty (2003)

Photo Credit: Touchstone Pictures.

Tom Shadyac’s blockbuster comedy sees Carrey as a man who’s given the powers of a god, only to be corrupted by the power it brings to him. Though the film has some fun with its high-concept premise, the schmaltz that makes up the film’s conclusion ultimately sours any goodwill the film has earned up to that point. Though it doesn’t stick the landing, it’s a fun watch regardless.

10. The Majestic (2001)

Photo Credit: Castle Rock Entertainment.

Released in the midst of Carrey’s run as a dramatic actor, this Frank Darabont film – his sole directorial credit not adapting the work of Stephen King – the film follows a blacklisted screenwriter’s journey to reopen his hometown movie theater after getting amnesia during a car accident. What seems like a homerun is a sentimental affair, full of sappy dialogue and emotionally hollow performances. At over 150 minutes, this is one drama you should try to forget.

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11. A Christmas Carol (2009)

Photo Credit: Walt Disney Pictures.

Disney’s 3D motion-capture adaptation of Charles Dickens’ eternal novel is an interesting experiment, allowing Carrey to play Ebenezer Scrooge and the ghosts that haunt him. However, these digital filmmaking experiments are not enough to keep the film on its feet. The entire film carries an uncanny ugliness. On top of that, Carrey doesn’t offer enough diversity in his performances to make any of them stand out. This is one Christmas present you can leave on the wrapping paper.

12. and 13. Sonic the Hedgehog/Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (2020/2022)

Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures.

Though this may be a satisfying adaptation for game fans or children under ten, this COVID-era blockbuster is an ultimately grating experience from start to finish. Carrey is wasted in his performance as Dr. Ivo “Eggman” Robotnik by being relegated to a bland villain-of-the-week style baddie instead of the looming threat he’s made out to be. Aside from being merely unfunny, the film is a complete eyesore, making it a chore to stomach visually and sonically.


14. Yes Man (2008)

Photo Credit: Warner Bros.

This comedy from future Ant-Man director Peyton Reed follows Carl Allen, a bank teller who agrees to say ‘yes’ to every offer that comes his way for the next six months. Though the film is not without its moments, much of the runtime remains an unfunny slog. One of the worst films to sit through is a bad comedy, which is not an easy watch.

15. Mr. Popper’s Penguins (2011)

Photo Credit: Twentieth Century Fox.

This is an immediately forgettable children’s film that doesn’t do justice to the classic Richard and Florence Atwater book of the same name. It was originally going to be directed by Noah Baumbach, who would have made it, at the very least, more interesting than the movie we got here.

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16. How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)

Photo Credit: Universal Studios.

It’s a fool’s errand for filmmakers to think that they can improve upon a book by Dr. Seuss. It’s a fool’s errand for filmmakers to think they can recreate the energy of a golden-era Chuck Jones cartoon into a live-action. This movie has the unfortunate distinction of trying – and failing – to do both. Airlessly directed by the coward Ron Howard, Carrey gets lost in the make-up, leaving the movie without a central performance to hang off. It’s annoying. It’s ugly. It’s mind-bogglingly long at nearly two hours. But, hey – it’s got some striking production design, and that’s not nothing!

17. Dark Crimes (2016)

Photo Credit: Saban Films.

This film sees Carrey taking a big risk in departing from the comedy genre. In this Polish thriller, Carrey plays a detective investigating a cold case. The film has striking similarities to a best-selling mystery novel. Unfortunately, it’s a risk that never pays off. The film is a dreary mess, never coming together into anything but a bland, unexciting mess.

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Image Credit: Paramount Pictures.

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