In 1994 there were some seismic shifts that altered the world of entertainment. Friends debuted in 1994, now regarded as one of the greatest sitcoms of all time. Disney told the story of The Lion King with the world singing along. But perhaps the biggest impact on the entertainment world and in Hollywood was the arrival of a seemingly crazed Canadian comedian.
Jim Carrey arrived in a big way in 1994 with not one but three comedy hits. “Ace Ventura: Pet Detective,” “The Mask,” and “Dumb and Dumber” all premiered in the same year. By encapsulating his broad range from the zany and unpredictable to silly, over-the-top humour, Carrey became more than just an actor – he was a force of nature, reshaping comedy’s landscape.
But would this be enough to take out the best comedy movie of 1994?
So Binge Score: 6.2
Featuring Arnold Schwarzenegger in an unusual action-comedy role, True Lies was a testament to director James Cameron’s genius in blending high-octane action sequences with comedy. Schwarzenegger played a secret agent leading a double life, balancing international espionage with the daily grind of domesticity. The comedy emerges from the disparity between these two worlds, as Schwarzenegger’s character navigates his complex life, often resulting in absurdly funny situations.
Dumb and Dumber
So Binge Score: 5.6
Dumb and Dumber was another standout comedy film of the year, built around the misadventures of two good-natured but extremely dim-witted friends, played to perfection by Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels. The film revels in its own silliness, drawing laughter from the characters’ absurd mishaps and their oblivious reactions to the chaos they cause.
So Binge Score: 5.2
Bringing our beloved prehistoric cartoon characters to life, The Flintstones was a joyous romp through the stone age. This live-action adaptation remained true to the spirit of the original animated series, with a humourous depiction of life in the prehistoric era.
The Santa Clause
So Binge Score: 4.9
Last but not least on the runner-up list is The Santa Clause, a now holiday comedy. The film’s unique premise of a regular man involuntarily taking over as Santa Claus, combined with Tim Allen’s fantastic performance, made The Santa Clause a cherished addition to the best Christmas movies.
Best Comedy Movie of 1994
Taking out the top marks for 1994 is The Mask, clinching the top spot as the best comedy movie of 1994.
The Mask introduced us to a world where cartoonish antics were integrated into a live-action setting — much like Roger Rabbit, but even better. The premise of a magical mask that brings out the wearer’s uninhibited alter ego paved the way for a series of outlandish and hilarious scenarios as Jim Carrey brought to life the timid character of Stanley with unparalleled zest and comic timing. The physicality of his performance, coupled with his facial expressions and comedic antics has cemented “The Mask” as a true classic of comedic cinema.
So Binge Score: 6.4
The Mask story centres on Stanley Ipkiss, a meek bank clerk whose mundane life in Edge City gets upended when he finds an ancient mask that transforms him into an unrestrained, zoot-suited trickster. The transformation scenes are comedy gold, blending fear, confusion, and a wave of manic energy with Stanley quickly embracing his bizarre, cartoony alter ego. This Jekyll and Hyde narrative with a hilarious twist sees Stanley swing between his shy persona and the flamboyant, sharp-witted Mask, setting the stage for an array of comical situations.
Unforgettable scenes include the spontaneous Coco Bongo Club dance number where the Mask turns a tense confrontation into a riotous conga line, the classic-cartoon-inspired interactions with Tina Carlyle, and an over-the-top performance of a death scene in front of the local police force. The film’s genius lies in its ability to turn any situation into a spectacle which is only made possible by Jim Carrey’s exaggerated physical comedy.
Jim Carrey, as Stanley Ipkiss, is an unmatched force of physical comedy, his performance intensified by the presence of Cameron Diaz, who dazzles in her breakout role as the club singer and love interest, Tina Carlyle. The synergy between the two actors only adds to the comedic appeal of the film.
While The Mask didn’t secure any Oscars or Golden Globes, it won a BAFTA for ‘Best Special Visual Effects,’ cementing its prowess in technical achievements. However, the film’s most significant triumph lies in its enduring ability to tickle our funny bones, and for this, it is rightly hailed as the best comedy movie of 1994.
How to watch The Mask
Need more 90’s? Check out the Best 100 Movies of the 90s.