- Not to be confused with the 1961 film The Mask.
The Mask is a 1994 American fantasy superhero slapstick action comedy film based on a series of comic books published by Dark Horse Comics. This film was directed by Chuck Russell, and produced by Dark Horse Entertainment and New Line Cinema, and originally released to movie theatres on July 29, 1994. The film stars Jim Carrey as Stanley Ipkiss, a man who finds the Mask of Loki, which turns him into The Mask, a grinning, magically-powered trickster uninhibited by anything, including physical reality. The film's supporting cast includes Peter Greene, Amy Yasbeck, Peter Riegert, Richard Jeni, Ben Stein, Joely Fisher, and Cameron Diaz in her feature film debut as Stanley's love interest Tina Carlyle.
The movie was among the top ten moneymakers of its year, cemented Carrey's reputation as one of the dominant comedic actors of the era, and immediately established Diaz as a major star who would go on to have a long career as a leading lady. Carrey was nominated for a Golden Globe for his role, and the film was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects (Tom Bertino, Jon Farhat, Scott Squires and Steve 'Spaz' Williams), but lost to Forrest Gump.
Stanley Ipkiss is a shy and unlucky bank clerk working at the local Edge City bank. He is frequently ridiculed by everyone around him, except for his Jack Russell Terrier Milo, and his co-worker and best friend Charlie Schumaker. Meanwhile, gangster Dorian Tyrell, owner of the Coco Bongo nightclub, plots to overthrow his boss Niko. One day, Tyrell sends his singer girlfriend Tina Carlyle into Stanley's bank to record its layout, in preparation to rob the bank.
Stanley is attracted to Tina, and she seems to reciprocate. After being denied entrance to the Coco Bongo, he finds a wooden mask near the city's harbor. Placing it on his face transforms him into a zoot-suited, green-faced, bizarre trickster known as the Mask, who is able to cartoonishly alter himself and his surroundings at will. Stanley scares off a street gang that attempts to rob him by turning a balloon into a Tommy gun, and then he exacts revenge on his tormentors.
The next morning, Stanley encounters detective Lieutenant Kellaway and newspaper reporter Peggy Brandt investigating the Mask's activity of the previous night. To attend Tina's performance, he again becomes the Mask to raid the bank, inadvertently foiling Tyrell's plan in the process. At the Coco Bongo, Stanley dances exuberantly with Tina, whom he ends up kissing. Following a confrontation with Tyrell, Stanley flees leaving behind a scrap of cloth from his suit that transforms back into his pajamas, while Tyrell is arrested by the police as a suspect for the bank robbery.
Based on the shred of cloth, Kellaway suspects Stanley to be the bank robber. Stanley later consults an expert on masks named Arthur Neuman, who tells him that the object is a depiction of Loki, the Norse god of darkness and mischief. The same night, Stanley transforms into the Mask and meets Tina at the local Landfill Park, but the meeting is interrupted by Kellaway, who attempts to arrest him. Stanley tricks a large group of police officers into joining him in a mass-performance of the Desi Arnaz song "Cuban Pete", takes off the mask and flees with Peggy, but she betrays him to Tyrell for a $50,000 bounty. Tyrell tries on the mask and becomes a malevolent green-faced monster. Forced to reveal the location of the stolen money, Stanley is kept hostage in one of the mob's cars while Tyrell's henchmen reclaim the money, and is later given to Kellaway, along with a rubber green mask, to be detained.
When Tina visits Stanley in his cell, he urges her to flee the city. Tina thanks Stanley for treating her with respect and tells him that she knew that he was the Mask all along. She attempts to leave the city, but is captured by Tyrell's enforcer Orlando and taken to a charity ball at the Coco Bongo hosted by Niko and attended by the city's elite, including Mayor Mitchell Tilton. Upon arrival, the masked Tyrell kills Niko and prepares to destroy both the club and Tina. Milo helps Stanley escape from his cell, and Stanley brings Kellaway as a cover and hostage in a desperate attempt to stop Tyrell.
After securing Charlie's assistance, Stanley is spotted and captured. Tina tricks Tyrell into taking off the mask, which is recovered and donned by Milo, turning the dog into a cartoonish pitbull who defeats Tyrell's men, while Stanley fights Tyrell himself. After recovering the mask, Stanley uses its abilities to save Tina by swallowing Tyrell's bomb and flushing Tyrell down the drain of the club's ornamental fountain. The police arrive and arrest Tyrell's remaining henchmen, while Kellaway attempts to arrest Stanley once again. Tilton arrives and debunks Kellaway's statements, announcing to everyone that Tyrell was The Mask all throughout. He then goes on to thank Stanley for saving lives and having Stanley free to go, then Tilton then tells Kellaway that he needs to have a serious meeting with him in the morning and all charges against Stanley are dropped. As the sun rises the following day, Stanley, Tina, Milo, and Charlie take the mask back down to the harbor. Tina throws the mask into the water, and she and Stanley kiss. Charlie attempts to retrieve the mask for himself, only to find Milo swimming away with it.
- Jim Carrey as Stanley Ipkiss / The Mask. Carrey commented that he characterized Stanley after his own father: "a nice guy, just trying to get by". Carrey was paid $450,000 for starring in the film, which was a huge bargain for New Line Cinema at the time.
- Cameron Diaz as Tina Carlyle, Dorian Tyrell's girlfriend and lounge singer at the Coco Bongo who later becomes Stanley's love interest. This role marked the feature film debut for Cameron Diaz. Before Diaz was cast, the studio considered casting Anna Nicole Smith, Vanessa L. Williams and Kristy Swanson. After Diaz auditioned twelve times for the role, she was finally cast only a week before filming began.
- Peter Greene as Dorian Tyrell, a mobster who wants to take over the city's underworld. Greene was cast after the studio's top choice, Gary Kemp, turned it down.
- Richard Jeni as Charlie Schumaker, Stanley's best friend and colleague.
- Peter Riegert as Lt. Mitch Kellaway, a cynical police detective who hunts the Mask, as well as Tyrell and Niko. Before Riegert was cast, the studio considered Richard Gere for the role.
- Jim Doughan as Det. Doyle, Lt. Kellaway's dim-witted partner.
- Amy Yasbeck as Peggy Brandt, a reporter with a crush on Stanley. In a deleted scene, Peggy is killed by Tyrell shortly after he first puts the mask on.
- Orestes Matacena as Niko, a Greek mafia boss and Tyrell's arch nemesis.
- Eamonn Roche as Mr. Dickey, the son of the Bank President who is Stanley and Charlie's superior.
- Nancy Fish as Mrs. Peenman, Stanley's grumpy land-lady.
- Tim Bagley as Irv Ripley, a mechanic who rips off Stanley.
- Johnny Williams as Burt Ripley, a mechanic and Irv's brother.
- Reginald E. Cathey as Freeze (called The Doctor in the film), Dorian Tyrell's trusted lieutenant and friend whose death, inadvertently caused by The Mask, drives Tyrell into a personal vendetta against Ipkiss.
- Denis Forest as Sweet Eddy, one of Tyrell's henchmen. Before Forest was cast, the studio considered Chris Elliott for the role.
- Ivory Ocean as Mayor Mitchell Tilton, the mayor of Edge City.
- Joely Fisher as Maggie, another one of Stanley's colleagues.
- Ben Stein as Dr. Arthur Neuman, Stanley's psychologist. He is the only character to appear in both The Mask and its sequel Son of the Mask.
- Royal Crown Revue as themselves / The Coco Bongo Band
The Mask's visual effects were handled by Industrial Light and Magic and Digital Domain.
The film was released on VHS and Laserdisc on January 18th 1995 (and later on DVD) by New Line Home Video. The VHS version included an interview between Jim Carrey and Space Ghost, as a promotion for their corporate sibling Cartoon Network's Space Ghost Coast to Coast after the film. It also had a trailer for Jim Carrey's then-upcoming film, Dumb and Dumber, and ads for the soundtrack to the film, and for what was then branded as Betty Crocker Pop Secret. It was later released on Blu-ray Disc on December 9, 2008. It has an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and is encoded in 1080p/VC-1. Its audio is a 5.1 Dolby TrueHD encoded at a 16 bit / 48 kHz sample rate. Special features include additional scenes, production details and two commentary tracks, one by director Chuck Russell and the other by the rest of the production crew.
- Son of the Mask, a theatrical follow-up to The Mask, and a critical and financial failure.