Introducing Janet (1983)
Jim Carrey was bitten by the making-people-laugh bug early, and his performances in Toronto comedy clubs were seeing him garner serious acclaim while still a teenager.
The aspiring comic had a couple of additional character credits on TV shows before starring in his first movie, Introducing… Janet (later renamed Rubberface to cash in on Carrey's growing fame). The Canadian flick saw him play a comedian who's success is outstripped by a fan.
Rubberface? Not as much as that new title would have you believe.
Once Bitten (1985)
Carrey followed Introducing… with small supporting roles in oddities such as Copper Mountain and All In Good Taste , as well as grafting away on more TV work.
This comedy saw Carrey play a luckless virgin who's seduced by a vampire Countess in need of his blood. The pitch is about as '80s as they come, and Carrey gets to show off his Jerry Lewis stylings when he starts experiencing vampiric side effects.
Rubberface? The tendency towards limber facial movements is definitely starting to emerge.
Peggy Sue Got Married (1986)
Never one to steer away from high-concept comedy, Carrey got his first brush with the A-list in Francis Ford Coppola's high- school reunion fantasy. He was in good company too, as Joan Allen and Helen Hunt also occupied the lower rungs of the cast.
Kathleen Turner stars as the unhappily married gal who attends her school's 25-year reunion, only to be transported back to her senior year, where she starts to rediscover what she loved about her hubby (the fact he's played by a young, quiffed Nic Cage being top of the list). Carrey is one of her '60s-era exes.
Rubberface? It's relatively restrained here.
The Dead Pool (1988) & Pink Cadillac (1989)
In a retroactively surprising move, Carrey next appeared in the fifth and final Dirty Harry instalment, opposite Clint Eastwood. He plays rock star Johnny Squares, whose name appears on the titular list of famous folk predicted to die soon.
Harry Callahan's name's also on the list, so along with his trusty Magnum, he sets about uncovering the mystery behind the eerily accurate predictions. Once again, Carrey seemed to have a nose for talent-magnet projects, with Patricia Clarkson and Liam Neeson also along for early roles. JC would star again with Eastwood in Pink Cadillac .
Rubberface? He gets to cut loose in rock star mode.
Earth Girls Are Easy (1988)
In 1988, Jeff Goldblum and Geena Davis starred in a ground-breaking, unforgettable, highly-disturbing sci-fi love story... That was The Fly . Marginally more disturbing was comedy Earth Girls Are Easy , in which three garishly-coloured aliens crash-land in an LA swimming pool, and have their hairy forms shaved into something more socially acceptable.
Goldblum plays the head alien who romances (his then real-life partner Davis), and Jim Carrey and Damon Wayans play his two sidekicks.
Rubberface? His extra-terrestrial character was all the excuse Carrey needed to gurn his cheeks out.
In Living Color (1990)
While working on Earth Girls Are Easy , Carrey struck up a friendship with Damon Wayans. He went on to work with Damon and brother Keenen on this comedy sketch series, which ran for four years.
Carrey played a number of characters including Fire Marshall Bill and 'female' bodybuilder Vera de Milo. Jamie Foxx and Jennifer Lopez were among the other rising talents whose careers were given a boost by the show.
Rubberface? OTT comedy antics are never more at home than in the sketch show format.
High Strung (1991)
Carrey kept chipping away with the film work alongside his regular TV gig, even though it meant taking support roles in often forgettable stuff. Here he turns up as Death, come to claim a maudlin children's writer.
Thane Furrows (Steve Oedekerk) has been scribbling away at his unique brand of pessimistic kid-lit, frequently wishing he was dead. It looks like he might just get what he asks for when Carrey arrives…
Rubberface? Death doesn't get a hooded costume or any make-up effects, so it's up to Carrey's flexible face to provide the otherworldly sensibilities.
Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (1994)
This oddball animal investigator comedy changed Carrey's fortunes, launching him to superstardom. Examining the barmy premise, it would've been difficult to predict that this $11m curio would pocket over $100m in box office change.
Carrey's profile rocketed after this romp, in which his insanely-quiffed Ace investigates the disappearance of the Miami Dolphins' cetacean mascot. Courtney Cox and Sean Young are along for the ride.
Rubberface? He proves his comedy value, with a face and voicebox that could make an entire FX team redundant.
The Mask (1994)
Carrey ascended directly to the A-list with Ace Ventura , pretty much skipping the middle ground. This comic-book adaptation proved he could handle the mainstream scene, and Carrey's buoyant physicality overshadows what were some pretty special effects at the time.
He gets to show off both sides of his schtick here, as loveable loser Stanley Ipkiss and his magical-mask enhanced alter ego. Less dark than its source material, The Mask spins its cartoon influences with flair, scoring Carrey another box office behemoth.
Rubberface? Literally, as he's slathered with snot-green prosthetics.
Dumb & Dumber (1994)
In the midst of a stellar run, Carrey certified himself as the comedian du jour in this Farrelly brothers comedy. As Lloyd Christmas, he's half of one of the lowest-IQ friendships in cinema history.
Jeff Daniels' shaggy Harry is his feckless buddy, and the two get caught up in a kidnapping scheme that takes in the Colorado mountains, a slew of nefarious gangsters, and some all-too-literal toilet humour.
Rubberface? His comedic creation owes a lot to that unforgivable bowlcut, and a chipped front tooth...
Batman Forever (1995)
Carrey's run of stonking hits continued, and he was given the star-affirming duty of playing a Bat villain. The Riddler, to be precise.
Again Carrey revels in the character's multiple aspects: the nerdish inventor metamorphoses into a slick Bruce Wayne rival and a supercharged criminal mastermind. The movie pales in comparison to Burton and Nolan's episodes, but it's a godsend compared to Batman & Robin …
Rubberface? A more rigid face would've failed to capture Riddler's manic energy. And his noggin does actually get melted at the end...
Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls (1995)
It didn't take long for an in-demand Carrey to reprise his role in an Ace Ventura sequel. The character also had a cartoon spin-off, one of at least three for Carrey-coms ( Dumb & Dumber and The Mask being the others).
Carrey's High Strung co-star Steve Oedekerk took over directing duties here, in an Africa-set plot that provides plenty of vigorous mugging, but little in terms of genuine laugh-out-loud moments (barring an inspired Cliffhanger spoof).
Rubberface? His quiff may be made of graphite, but that face is still pure putty. And, yes, he does repeat that talking butt-cheeks gag...
The Cable Guy (1996)
This was the movie that marked Carrey's admittance into the $20m club, which is hardly surprising considering the run he was on. What is surprising, is that he'd get the magic paycheck for the most uncommercial movie since his career began.
That's no bad thing, as it's intriguing to see Carrey unleash his pitch-black side as the unhinged cable installer who decides to become BFFs with Matthew Broderick's Steve. Ben Stiller directs with the same split personality (nice one minute, intensely nasty the next) that has defined some of his most memorable testy characters.
Rubberface? His contorted countenance was used to disturbing effect here.
Liar Liar (1997)
Following The Cable Guy 's lukewarm reception, Carrey was back on crowd-pleasing form in this dizzyingly high-concept comedy which saw him reteam with Ace Ventura director Tom Shadyac.
The set-up is simple: Carrey's unscrupulous lawyer faces the worst day in his career after his neglected son makes a wish for his father to be unable to lie. It's as good an excuse as any for a flurry of big gags and non-stop smiles.
Rubberface? Again, Carrey's face proves seriously good value as the movie's most notable special effect.
The Truman Show (1998)
For the next couple of years, Carrey committed a drastic gear shift and gave his funny side a sabbatical while he invested in serious roles. First up was The Truman Show , which remains fascinating, particularly in light of the reality TV phenomenon that exploded over the next decade.
Sure, it's another satellite-high concept (man's life is unwittingly the subject of a 24hr TV sensation), but JC reins it in, giving a touching performance.
Rubberface? He has his tics, but they take a backseat to the 'proper' acting.
Man On The Moon (1999)
Carrey's second consecutive 'serious' role saw him playing Andy Kaufman: meaning he may have been serious but he certainly wasn't strait-laced.
A passion project for Carrey, this was another distinctly uncommercial choice (Carrey dropped his salary again like he had done for The Truman Show ). It's a daunting watch for anyone unfamiliar with Kaufman, but Carrey's committed performance, and director Milos Forman's knack for off-centre characters, keep this compelling.
Rubberface? He does his best renditions of Kaufman's famous skits.
Me, Myself & Irene (2000)
Carrey leapt wholeheartedly back into horizon-broad comedy when he reunited with the Farrelly brothers for this split personality riot. Again, with the help of a very literal (and non-PC) device, he's essaying both the put upon sap and the charismatic wild card.
Renée Zellweger is on decent form as Irene, the trouble-magnet girl who catches the attention of Carrey's Charlie and Hank. Hardly a comedy for the ages, but a smirk-worthy way to pass a couple of hours.
Rubberface? The role showcases his elastic talents to the full.
How The Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)
Buried beneath layers of pea-green prosthetics again, Carrey proves to be a draw even when his face is hidden. Ron Howard's adaptation of Dr Seuss' festive favourite stretches the story a little thinly, and lacks the charm of the 1966 animation.
It does look marvellous though: Whoville is perfectly recreated on screen as a perpetually snowy, fairy-lighted winter wonderland, and Rick Baker's make-up is superb. It also features an early performance from a young Taylor Momsen.
Rubberface? He still pulls off his trademark facial gymnastics under tons of latex and yak-hair.
The Majestic (2001)
Carrey returned to non-comedic fare with this Capra-aping nostalgia-fest, which (on paper at least) sounded like it should have been a no-questions-asked hit. JC stars as an amnesiac screenwriter who ends up being welcomed by a small town as a long-lost hero.
Frank Darabont was hot off the back of The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile , but critics and audiences found the cloying sentimentality, and the running time, off-putting.
Rubberface? He's in restrained mode here.
Bruce Almighty (2003)
Under the directorship of Tom Shadyac again, Carrey bounced back from The Majestic with one of his patented high-concept howlers. He plays an anchorman disenchanted with his lot in life, who curses God for misfortune.
The big man (a perfectly-cast Morgan Freeman) hands his divine powers over to Bruce, who has fun boosting his career, driving sports cars and enhancing his girlfriend's boobs before realising that the job is a bit harder than it looks.
Rubberface? It's not his most OTT gurning, but this is classic Carrey.
Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind (2004)
Whenever Jim Carrey goes near serious material, you can generally rest assured that there'll be a pretty high concept in there somewhere. Not only is this one of his better 'actorly' roles, it's possible his finest ever movie.
For all its flashy intelligence (and there's plenty of that as Michel Gondry directs the brains out of Charlie Kaufman's script), it's the heart that you'll remember, as Carrey's dour sap regrets his decision to delete the memory of his ex, Clementine (a magnetic Kate Winslet).
Rubberface? He mostly looks glum, although he gets to play up a little while regressing through the subconscious.
Lemony Snicket's A Series Of Unfortunate Events (2004)
Carrey clearly loves gluing latex to his face, as he does it again in this adaptation of the acclaimed series of children's books. He is the nefarious Count Olaf, uncle and guardian to three orphaned kids (including future Sucker Punch / Sleeping Beauty star Emily Browning).
Director Brad Siberling brings a welcomely Burtonian feel to the proceedings (using Tim's cinematographer, production designer and costume-maker), getting the dark (but not too scary) tone just right.
Rubberface? Carrey has a ball in multiple guises, melding nicely with the material.
Fun With Dick And Jane (2005)
Fun levels were capped at moderate in this uninspiring caper. Carrey and Téa Leoni are the titular couple who find themselves resorting to crime after their well-paying jobs hit trouble.
There's nowhere near enough bite to the satire, and it's disappointing that this came from Galaxy Quest helmer Dean Parisot, and counts Judd Apatow as a writer.
Rubberface? The antics never go beyond the point of mild silliness.
The Number 23 (2007)
Carrey once again got to run with the yin and yang of his screen personas in Joel Schumacher's hokey thriller. He plays mild-mannered Walter Sparrow (could he have a more mild-mannered name than that) and 'Fingerling', a detective in a hardboiled novel that Sparrow becomes obsessed with.
It's vaguely intriguing to begin with, before it soon skids out of control. The movie failed to wow at the box office.
Rubberface? Not really, though he's off the leash as Fingerling in the book segments.
Horton Hears A Who! (2008)
Another Dr Seuss adaptation beckoned, although the use of CGI animation meant Carrey was spared another round of prosthetic enhancements. Again, the story is beefed up from the page (and the 1970 animation), but it feels less thinly spread than The Grinch .
Computer animation proves to be an ideal medium, bringing the characters to vividly coloured, cutely stylised life. Carrey sparks well vocally with Bruce Almighty co-star Steve Carell, and Blue Sky bring the same physical humour that made the Ice Age movies such hits with the family.
Rubberface? That elephant's got some mightily expressive features.
Yes Man (2008)
Hit-machine Carrey works the magic formula again. Although it's feeling a little tired by now (luckless dolt turns life around via high-concept device, scores unfeasibly hot lady in the process), it still raises a smile.
Loosely adapted from Danny Wallace's non-fiction book of the same name, Yes Man scores bonus points in the form of an adorable Zooey Deschanel (rocking a keytar) and a mirthsome Rhys Darby.
Rubberface? His visage isn't stretched as far as the premise.
I Love You Phillip Morris (2009)
To break up the run of a couple of commercial hits, Carrey starred in a comedy, albeit a pretty controversial one dabbling in some serious themes: its abundance of man-on-man action got the distributors nervous.
It's based on the true story of Steven Jay Russell, who's currently serving 100+ years in prison. Carrey has an effective chemistry with Ewan McGregor, but his OTT schtick drowns out what could have been an affecting movie.
Rubberface? A little too much here...
A Christmas Carol (2009)
Slipping into a mo-cap suit, Carrey proved he wasn't afraid of dabbling with new tech. The form, while still not perfected, does allow Carrey to inhabit a diverse range of characters.
His curmudgeonly grump Scrooge takes centre stage, but he also provided the moves and sounds for the three ghostly visitors. The locations are spectacularly detailed, though some of the big sequences jar with an otherwise traditional telling of an old-fashioned story.
Rubberface? Yeah, but translated into pixels.
The Office (2011)
Carrey showed up for a brief guest spot in the final episode of The Office's seventh season. 'Search Committee' was a star-packed finale: Kathy Bates, Will Arnett, Catherine Tate and Ricky Gervais (as his most famous creation, David Brent) all guested.
Carrey's brief appearance, as a potential candidate for the interim regional manager position, is a high point.
Rubberface? He's an oddball, with a strangely inflexible face.
Mr. Popper's Penguins (2011)
Carrey returns to cinemas this week in Mr. Popper's Penguins , an adaptation of the classic children's book by Richard and Florence Atwater.
He stars as Tom Popper, a cynical businessman who reluctantly comes into possession of six penguins. Will his guests help him reconnect with his kids and cause him to reassess what's really important in life? It's probably not too hard to guess the outcome, but it promises to be good-hearted family fare.
Rubberface? He has to do some mugging to ensure he's not totally outshone by his birdie co-stars.