Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Awful Movies Jim Carrey Was In (And Which Are Still Worth Watching)

Known for his unbridled enthusiasm, infectious energy, outlandish physical performances, and some truly dynamic range, Jim Carrey has been a favorite of audiences for decades. From his early days as a stand-up comedian to his years fronting big comedy blockbusters, Carrey has cemented his status as one of the most beloved actors of his era.

Throughout his career, Carrey has starred in countless films that became all-time comedy classics, but he's been much more than just an outrageous funny man. Since becoming one of Hollywood's brightest comic stars, Carrey has also broadened his career by tackling more dramatic roles. But whether it's a silly or a serious role, not all of Jim Carrey's movies have been hits, and even some big-ticket money-makers have been roundly roasted by critics and audiences. In fact, Carrey may just have more bad movies than good, with plenty of stinkers mixed in with fan favorites. 

Despite appearing in some career clunkers, not all of Carrey's films are necessarily deserving of the harsh critiques they received. Here to help you find the diamonds in the rough, we take a look at some undeniably awful films starring Jim Carrey and root out the ones that are still worth your time.

Bruce Almighty

Jim Carrey was still at the height of his fame in the early 2000s when he took the title role in "Bruce Almighty." Carrey plays Bruce Nolan, a perpetually suffering TV anchorman who loses his job after his nemesis at the station gets the promotion he'd been gunning for. Angrily lashing out at God and challenging him to do a better job of answering prayers, the Lord himself (Morgan Freeman) strikes a deal with Bruce: He can be God for a week and see how he likes it.

At first, Bruce decides to use his newfound powers to improve his life and land the job he'd been overlooked for. But when he's faced with having to answer everyone's prayers too, things quickly spiral out of control. It's a typical "be careful what you wish for" lesson — a story about a man who learns the hard way that he shouldn't be so selfish. It's a story that has been done many times before, and that's part of the problem. It isn't dissimilar to movies like "Groundhog Day," which managed to be more endearing, and far funnier than "Bruce Almighty." Still, the movie proved to be a hit and even spawned a sequel, "Evan Almighty," that elevated co-star Steve Carell to the leading role. The sequel is irrefutably worse than the original, but still, it isn't Jim Carrey's finest hour.

Me, Myself & Irene

"Me, Myself & Irene" definitely feels like a film written after someone came up with the clever punny title first. It stars Jim Carrey as mild-mannered Charlie Baileygates, a naive doormat whose wife abandons him for another man, leaving him to take care of her three kids. The town joke, Baileygates finally cracks, developing an evil split personality named Hank Evans (also played by Carrey), who can do all the things that Charlie can't.

A Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde situation unfolds, as Hank is a hard-drinking, womanizing, foul-mouthed malcontent, and begins getting Charlie into all sorts of trouble. Eventually, Charlie and Hank get roped into helping a young woman named Irene (Renée Zellweger) who lives in fear of her dangerous ex-boyfriend, and hilarity ensues ... or at least it is supposed to. 

Written and directed by the Farrelly Brothers — who'd partnered with Carrey on the much more successful "Dumb and Dumber" six years earlier — "Me, Myself & Irene" isn't nearly as good. The movie is mean-spirited and often needlessly offensive, and while Carrey does everything he can to bring the funny and make it very close to watchable, it never quite gets there.

Simon Birch

In 1998, funnyman Jim Carrey tried his hand at heartfelt drama, but the results were mixed. His first that year was "The Truman Show," which received rave reviews and remains one of his best films. But not long after came the comedy-drama "Simon Birch," and it landed in theaters with a thud. Carrey doesn't get much screen time in this one — mostly serving as narrator with a couple of bookend scenes — but as the voice of the main character, it's his commentary that often carries the film.

Inspired by the life of Owen Meany, the movie chronicles the childhood of Simon Birch (Ian Michael Smith), a young boy with dwarfism who believes he has a greater purpose to fulfill. Carrey voices the adult version of Joe, Simon's awkward best friend, who is there for most of the ups and downs of Simon's adventures. 

For many critics, the movie tried a little too hard to tug at the heartstrings, but it's hardly the stinker that some have made it out to be. Full of endearing characters and some genuinely affecting performances, "Simon Birch" manages to mix some dark humor and heartfelt drama together in a way that's typically hard to pull off. If you're in the mood for a sweet, funny story about two childhood best friends, and don't mind a bittersweet ending, you could do a lot worse.

Kick-Ass 2

Over the course of his long career, Jim Carrey has done several sequels but they're almost always follow-ups to his own hits. It's rare that he decides to hitch himself to someone else's franchise, but he made an exception for 2013's "Kick-Ass 2." After Nicolas Cage successfully rejuvenated his lagging career in the first film, perhaps Carrey was hoping to do the same, and he joined the cast as the morally questionable hero, Colonel Stars & Stripes.

The film follows the teenage superhero Kick-Ass (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) as he joins an existing team of heroes led by the Colonel — a once-vicious gangster who has turned over a new leaf. It's not the biggest role, but it's a juicy one, and Carrey gives a delightfully wicked performance in his return to comic book movies, 18 years after "Batman Forever." Unfortunately — while a bit better than the aforementioned stinker — "Kick-Ass 2" is still not very good and is unable to match the cleverness of the previous movie.

As for Carrey, the actor has publicly lamented his role in the film, but not because it was bad. Filmed not long before the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, the anti-gun Carrey denounced the violence portrayed in the movie and even refused to promote it after it was released a year later.

If you have been impacted by incidents of mass violence, or are experiencing emotional distress related to incidents of mass violence, you can call or text Disaster Distress Helpline at 1-800-985-5990 for support.

Mr. Popper's Penguins

There are movies so bad they become famous for it, and then there are movies that are hard to sit through because they are just terribly mediocre. Firmly in the latter category is "Mr. Popper's Penguins," which would otherwise be a forgettable kid's animal movie if it weren't fronted by a major comedy star — in this case, Jim Carrey. He plays the eponymous Mr. Popper, a wealthy and successful real estate developer who inherits a group of penguins after the death of his father. This causes endless problems for him, as you can probably imagine, and the madcap animal antics threaten to disrupt his major business deal to sell a fancy restaurant in Central Park.

It's a decent enough set-up for a Saturday afternoon movie for the little ones, but "Mr. Popper's Penguins" is far from memorable. Despite it's interesting premise, it is a paint-by-numbers story with jokes that fail to land. While certainly not the worst movie you'll see, there's really no reason to watch it — and that includes Jim Carrey. The actor is given little to work with, and his performance is surprisingly tame — far from the over-the-top wackiness he's usually so good at. Somehow, despite how boring it is, "Mr. Popper's Penguins" still managed to be a big box office hit and struck a chord with its young target audience.

Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls

One of the best years in Jim Carrey's long career was 1994 when he released three all-time comedy classics: "The Mask," "Dumb and Dumber," and "Ace Ventura: Pet Detective."  The latter introduced Ace Ventura as a heroic pet investigator who helps track down the kidnapped mascot of the Miami Dolphins, and it would be the first one to get a sequel. The film was famous for its vulgarity and crude humor — which was very en vogue in the mid-'90s — and proved the perfect fit for Carrey's zany, in-your-face brand of comedy.

Admittedly, critics didn't love the first movie, but they were absolutely reviled by the sequel — many of whom felt its excessive crudeness went too far. Upping the gross-out gags, "Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls," sees the detective searching for a kidnapped bat in Africa. This time, though, he's up against the clock, and if he doesn't find it then two local tribes will go to war.

Nobody is ever going to call "Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls" high art, but if lowbrow laughs are what you're looking for, it will satisfy and then some. Also, if '90s Jim Carrey is your favorite era, he's at his wacky best here, delivering all the insane antics and raucous hijinks you could ever ask for.

The Number 23

In 2007, Jim Carrey took a heel turn and starred in "The Number 23," a dark, violent, conspiracy thriller directed by Joel Schumacher. Reunited with his "Batman Forever" director — but this time on something much more serious — "The Number 23" is about as far away as you can get from the colorful comic book antics. While the film was a modest success at the box office, it still failed to excite critics and audiences.

The movie begins when Walter Sparrow (Carrey) receives a book for his birthday and finds that the story's main character shares a number of eerie similarities with himself. The book is about a detective named Fingerling who has become obsessed with a global conspiracy centered on the number 23. Like the book's investigator, Sparrow quickly becomes consumed by the number too, ultimately losing himself in a complex web. 

What starts out as a fairly intriguing mystery devolves into ridiculousness, and Carrey is completely ill-suited for the role of paranoid husband and conspiracy hunter. Overly cryptic — seemingly for the sake of it — the movie's attempts to confuse the audience succeed a little too well and the purpose of it gets lost in the process.

Yes Man

Following his disastrous turn as Walter Sparrow in "The Number 23," Jim Carrey went straight back to his bread and butter, starring in the goofball comedy "Yes Man." With Peyton Reed directing, and co-stars Zooey Deschanel and Bradley Cooper, it had all the ingredients to make a first-class hit, yet it received a poor response from critics who found it trite and predictable. Audiences seemed to disagree, however, overlooking its derivative elements and giving it better reviews.

In the film, Carrey plays recently-divorced Carl Allen, a lonely banker who's become cynical and negative and is looking for a way out of his rut. Attending a motivational seminar, Carl encounters a self-help guru who teaches him that the way to self-improvement is to say yes to everything. With that, Carl sets out to do just that, never refusing anything asked of him — no matter how ludicrous — and he soon realizes that it might not be the solution to his problems.

Never too heavy with its sentimental message, and funny at all the right moments, "Yes Man" is something of a favorite of Carrey fans, and it's easy to understand why. Striking just the right balance of humor and heart, it's a quintessential Jim Carrey movie that somehow gets a bad rap.

The Cable Guy

The 1996 film "The Cable Guy" did at least one clever thing: pairing the out-of-control, wildly eccentric Jim Carrey with a more down-to-earth "straight man" in actor Matthew Broderick. The latter starred as Steven Kovacs, a man who moves into a new apartment and forms an unpleasant, parasocial relationship with his local cable TV installer, Chip Douglas (Carrey) after paying him under the table to hook him up with a bunch of premium channels. 

At first, Steven humors Chip by hanging out with him when he tries to strike up a friendship, but the cable guy's odd behavior puts him off, and he tries to distance himself. That doesn't deter Chip, who makes Steven his new obsession, and when Steven tries to expose the loony technician as dangerous, nobody will believe him.

As black a comedy as you're likely to find in Carrey's filmography, "The Cable Guy" has its moments, but often devolves into insipid, silly schlock just when you think it might have something more interesting to say. It does manage a few genuine laugh-out-loud moments but is far more likely to leave you wishing you were watching "The Mask" instead.

Fun with Dick and Jane

From slapstick comedies to rom-coms, Jim Carrey has made all kinds of laughers, and in 2005 he tried his hand at a crime caper comedy, "Fun with Dick and Jane." But this was not a slick, sardonic, quick-witted Elmore Leonard classic, but instead a remake of a screwball comedy from 1977 that had starred George Segal and Jane Fonda. 

With Carrey and Téa Leoni in their place, this new version of "Fun with Dick and Jane" tells the story of — you guessed it — Dick and Jane, a wealthy couple who suddenly find themselves penniless after Dick's company goes under. To save themselves from poverty, Dick and Jane turn to a life of crime, becoming amateur bank robbers — only to discover they're not the only ones playing this game.

A stinging critique of class inequality and the death of the American dream, "Fun with Dick and Jane" feels like it has something really important to say about society. While that may have worked for the 1977 original, the Carrey vehicle is an underwhelming attempt at a social allegory that fails to make its points with any clarity.

The Majestic

After "The Truman Show," audiences saw just how good Jim Carrey could be in a more serious role, and his next opportunity came three years later in 2001's "The Majestic" — a fictionalized story set amidst a real-life Tinseltown scandal. It takes place in the 1950s when McCarthyism is in full swing and Hollywood is blacklisting anyone with the wrong associations. One such man is screenwriter Peter Appleton (Carrey), whose past anti-war sentiments have him facing accusations of being a communist, and overnight his career collapses. After suffering amnesia in a car accident, Peter comes into the care of Harry Trimble (Martin Landau), who believes him to be his long-lost son.

Despite its focus on Hollywood history — a subject that critics tend to love — "The Majestic" wasn't fondly received on its release, with many feeling it was overly ambitious, and its two-and-a-half hour runtime overstayed its welcome. Roger Ebert broke with the consensus, though, lauding its important political message while comparing the filmmaking of Frank Darabont to that of three-time Academy Award-winner Frank Capra. It might not beat the Bryan Cranston-led biopic "Trumbo" – which covers similar ground — but "The Majestic" has plenty of redeeming qualities as a tender tale about the triumph of the human spirit.

The Incredible Burt Wonderstone

It can be really disappointing when you go into a movie with an all-star cast and have to witness an abysmal failure. Such is the case with "The Incredible Burt Wonderstone," a 2013 satire headlined by Jim Carrey, Steve Carell, Olivia Wilde, Steve Buscemi, and James Gandolfini. What should have been a sure-fire draw failed to capture audiences and the movie flamed out before it even made back its $32 million dollar budget – likely because it was downright awful.

A parody of the glitzy, glamorous, eccentric Las Vegas magic scene, Carell and Buscemi play Burt Wonderstone and Anton Marvelton, a gaudy double act who despise each other in real life. But when the edgy street magician and rising star Steve Gray (Carrey) bursts into the limelight, it threatens their careers, and they realize the only way to recover is to work together and repair their friendship. 

On the surface, one might think this would be bad because of just how goofy the concept is, but the truth is it's quite the opposite. With actors like Jim Carrey, Steve Carell, and Steve Buscemi, something truly magical could have been made, but the movie just plays it too safe and winds up wasting its talented cast.

Batman Forever

With original director Tim Burton bailing on a second "Batman" sequel, Joel Schumacher stepped in to helm "Batman Forever," and his choice to play the Dark Knight's quizzical villain, The Riddler, was Jim Carrey. Whether you love or hate the film, there's no arguing that Carrey did his job as the comically clownish Edward Nygma, in a performance that invokes elements of Frank Gorshin's 1966 original. Alongside Val Kilmer as Bruce Wayne, the film also featured Tommy Lee Jones as Two-Face, Chris O'Donnell as Robin, and Nicole Kidman as Dr. Chase Meridian.

Alongside an all-new cast came Joel Schumacher's decidedly more colorful, playful tone. The film sees Batman forced to contend with a vengeful former Wayne Enterprises employee (Carrey) who teams up with the twisted former District Attorney-turned-villain Harvey Dent (Jones). Together they plot to turn a dangerous weapon against the people of Gotham City.

Though a steep decline from the previous two films, "Batman Forever" isn't wholly without merit, and Jim Carrey is one reason why. Unfortunately, there's also enough that pushes it over into purely awful territory — including its childish plot, insipid dialogue, and horrifying "bat-nipples" — that not even Carrey's spirited performance can save it. 

How the Grinch Stole Christmas

Following the original Dr. Seuss classic fairly faithfully, "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" takes place in the idyllic town of Whoville, where the people are obsessed with the magic of Christmas. Not far away, however, is the curmudgeonly Grinch — played by Jim Carrey — a stink-eyed old creature who hates the people of Whoville and wants to ruin their Christmas so that they're all just as miserable as he is.

In light of its negative critical reception, it is hard not to categorize this film as awful, but it really doesn't deserve it — and part of that is owed to Carrey's performance. With a subtle charm, Carrey is able to turn a devious, hateful, and downright despicable ne'er-do-well into a somewhat sympathetic figure in need of redemption. As a result, the film's message of love, joy, forgiveness, and understanding is all the more powerful. It's far from a masterpiece, but "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" is definitely worth tuning into during the holiday season.

The Bad Batch

Released in 2016, "The Bad Batch" is a movie by writer and director Ana Lily Amirpour. If you don't remember this one, we're not surprised, as it only had a very limited release and gained almost no attention when it hit Netflix, despite its star-studded cast that includes Jim Carrey, Suki Waterhouse, Keanu Reeves, and Jason Momoa. 

"The Bad Batch" takes place in a dreary dystopian near-future where cast-offs from society live as wanderers and drifters in lawless zones outside of the United States. There we meet Arlen (Waterhouse), a young woman on the run from cannibals who becomes the protector of a little girl named Honey (Jayda Fink). When Honey's father — the ruthless cannibal leader Miami Man (Momoa) — comes looking for his kin, it puts Arlen at risk of becoming his next meal. Carrey plays a mute hermit, a peripheral character in the film who occasionally assists Arlen in her efforts to survive.

An obvious homage to grindhouse movies of the '70s, "The Bad Batch" mixes elements of horror, slasher, sci-fi, and a heavy helping of "Mad Max." It's a nice-looking film, but feels a little light on story, and probably would have been better as an episode of "The Twilight Zone" than a two-hour film. As it stands, you'll often be asking what the point is and where it's all going — only to find out it's nowhere at all — and Carrey fails to leave a lasting impact.

Dark Crimes

"Dark Crimes" saw Jim Carrey expand his repertoire once more, swapping his nice guy smile for a hard stare and a bushy beard to play a seasoned detective in a gritty murder mystery. A true crime thriller, the film is based on a real murder investigation. It sees Carrey in the role of Polish cop Tadek, who — after being relegated to grunt work following a recent failure — decides to dig into an unsolved killing that involved a client of a high-class S&M club.

Right away, Tadek has a suspect in mind, a writer named Kozlov (Marton Csokas) whose crime fiction novel seems to mirror the murder. With little evidence to go on other than the striking similarities he finds between the crime and what he reads in Kozlov's book, it doesn't seem like there's much he can do.

"Dark Crimes" feels like lurid Oscar-bait, full of salacious imagery, luscious cinematography, and understated performances. But the casting of Carrey seems wildly off — he is ill-suited for the somber detective, and his Polish accent isn't convincing at all. In his review for Variety, critic Owen Gleiberman berated the film for how predictable it was in its twists and turns, saying, "We spend most of 'Dark Crimes' waiting for the other shoe to drop."

Peggy Sue Got Married

Francis Ford Coppola had come out swinging in the '70s with classics like "The Godfather" and "Apocalypse Now," but the latter half of the '80s saw him slip with flops like "Tucker: The Man and His Dream," "Gardens of Stone," and the 1986 dud "Peggy Sue Got Married." Starring Nicolas Cage and Kathleen Turner, the movie is often compared to "Back to the Future" — which came out a year prior — with a story that uses time travel to provide a loving look at days gone by.

The movie centers on world-weary middle-aged Peggy Sue Bodell (Turner), whose marriage to her high school sweetheart Charlie (Cage) has just ended after he's caught cheating. As she attends her 25-year high school reunion, she suddenly finds herself back in 1960 and able to relive her final year of high school. With a chance to set right what once went wrong, she decides to do things differently, which includes ending her relationship with Charlie. Jim Carrey plays classmate and friend of Charlie, Walter, and while it is only a supporting role, he does have a few good moments.

Overshadowed by the much more successful Michael J. Fox film, "Peggy Sue Got Married" never gets enough love from audiences. But critics have long lauded the film for its brisk, light-hearted tone and earnest story, with much praise heaped on the performances of its star lead, Kathleen Turner.

Once Bitten

Decades before "Renfield" saw Nic Cage making vampires funny, Jim Carrey did the same in "Once Bitten" — an oft-overlooked '80s teen sex comedy with a horror hook. Instead of the more innocent, sobering look at growing up that audiences were getting in John Hughes comedies, "Once Bitten" is more tongue-in-cheek, with Lauren Hutton as an immortal vampire countess who requires three bites on a virgin boy to stay alive every year. With her time limit almost up — and teens having sex earlier and earlier in the permissive 1980s — she's finding it exceedingly difficult.

Enter high schooler and virgin Mark Kendall (Jim Carrey), who she manages to lure to her mansion and turn into a vampire. This complicates his budding relationship with Robin (Karen Kopins), who notices Mark acting stranger by the day. From his sudden appetite for raw meat to his aversion to sunlight, Mark continues his descent into vampirism, while the countess still needs one more bite.

The film has all the requisite sex comedy gags — some of which may even warrant a chuckle — and Carrey himself isn't bad. Nevertheless, "Once Bitten" never rises above groan-worthy, and may be one of the worst mainstream movies that Carrey ever had a starring role in. Unless you really need to see his entire filmography, or vampire spoofs are your thing, it's an easy skip.

Earth Girls are Easy

A staple of Sunday afternoon TV matinees in the '80s, "Earth Girls Are Easy" might be the most underrated movie on this list. A product of its time, it stars Geena Davis as flighty and fashionable So-Cal babe Valerie Gail (a not-so-subtle play on the term "Valley Girl") who gets the shock of her life when three aliens from outer space crash land in her swimming pool. Strange, furry goofballs played by Jim Carrey, Jeff Goldblum, and Damon Wayans, the visitors from outer space quickly become obsessed with Earth culture. 

Trying to help them fit in, Valerie shaves off their fur to reveal a trio of good-looking party dudes and proceeds to show them the sights and sounds of '80s California. This of course leads to Valerie falling head over heels for Goldblum's hunky alien Mac but doesn't want to be too eager lest he think that Earth girls are easy. 

A perfect "so bad it's good" kind of movie, there's no arguing that the film is weird and even sloppy at times. But there's a cheery innocence that just makes it so much fun and it's hard to hate — even if plenty of critics did. The Washington Post, however, recognized just how good it could be, calling it "the movie equivalent of cheap champagne — even though it's lousy, it still gives you tickles up the nose."

Dumb and Dumber To

The 1994 Farrelly Brothers' film "Dumb and Dumber" was no critical darling, but it remains one of the most memorable goofball comedies of the '90s and is still one of Jim Carrey's most beloved movies. A prequel followed that replaced both Carrey and co-star Jeff Daniels, but in 2014, both actors returned for the sequel, "Dumb and Dumber To." In this film, dim-witted pals Lloyd Christmas (Carrey) and Harry Dunne (Daniels) get unwittingly involved in a kidnapping scheme after coming across a briefcase full of cash.

The movie isn't really all that different from the first movie — filled with silly, juvenile jokes — but that's exactly what's wrong with it. In 1994, the Farrelly Brothers' brand of off-the-wall antics was something fresh, but after decades of stale copycats and a culture that had moved on, this transparently cash-grabby sequel just seems outdated and tired. If you remember the original and want more of the same then it might be worth watching — just be ready for plenty of recycled laughs.