Satirizing the mix of terror, adoration, and resentment that accompanies new parenthood in a kids’ movie is a little like inviting your mom along for a therapy session, but that’s precisely what Son of the Mask, a grating cartoon-live action follow-up to the 1994 Jim Carrey vehicle, does. The ever charmless Jamie Kennedy plays Tim Avery (named for legendary animator Tex Avery, whose style is relentlessly aped here), a burgeoning cartoonist whose infant son Alvey has supernatural powers, thanks to Tim’s brief but strategic dalliance with Norse god Loki’s mask. The deity (Alan Cumming) comes knocking, and exhausting computer-generated antics ensue. The movie is built around these ostensibly kid-friendly fracases, but at its heart is a deep, unresolved ambivalence about child rearing. After nearly 90 minutes of hair-raising baby-in-peril set pieces, the film lets itself off the hook by declaring, “There’s nothing more important in the universe than taking care of your family!” A highly debatable thesis, and one that watching Son of the Mask in reverse chronological order would vehemently dispute.

This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on February 8, 2005

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