cover image Memoirs and Misinformation

Memoirs and Misinformation

Jim Carrey and Dana Vachon. Knopf, $27.95 (272p) ISBN 978-0-525-65597-8

More Scooby Doo than Charlie Kaufman, Carrey’s frenetic debut is a cartoonish fever dream darkened by middle-aged loneliness and existential terror. The story—written in the third person with Vachon (Mergers and Acquisitions) about an actor named Jim Carrey who found fame and fortune in blockbusters such as Ace Ventura: Pet Detective and creative fulfillment in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind—begins in medias res with Jim holed up in his Brentwood, Calif., fortress, feeling low enough to accept a role in the loathsome animated feature Hungry Hungry Hippos in Digital 3-D. The authors then jump back in time to Jim’s short, disastrous marriage to a cable action star and an aborted Kaufman-penned Mao Zedong biopic amid flashes of Jim’s bleak memories of growing up in Toronto. In between, Jim spars with his friend Nicholas Cage (“we battle ancient mojo in my black sand shadow dojo”) and rants against capitalism and Hollywood. A surprisingly touching moment occurs on the set of Hippos, where Jim meets the digital essence of his idol, Rodney Dangerfield, who pays tribute to Jim’s dead father. But for the most part, the characters are underdeveloped, and the sketchy plot loses momentum amid interchangeable set pieces. Dip in for the laughs, but slip out before the closing credits. Agent: David Kuhn, Aevitas Creative Management. (July)