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16 Best Jim Carrey Movies Ranked

Once upon a time, Jim Carrey was arguably the most famous person on the planet. These days, he's an independently wealthy painter and sardonic weirdo who also happens to be an intentionally-renowned movie star. Is he a bit eccentric? Oh yeah. But what else could you expect from Jim Carrey?

Maybe Jim Carrey is your all-time favorite celebrity. Maybe the '90s left you suffering Carrey fatigue. Regardless, nobody, not even Jim Carrey himself, can deny his status as an utterly one-of-kind figure in popular culture. He carved out a unique niche for himself as an actor: No one did Jim Carrey's job before Jim Carrey came along, and — sorry, Ryan Reynolds — nobody's ever going to take over for him.

Carrey's films run the gamut, in terms of quality. What can't be denied, however, is their wide-ranging nature: Carrey has been in dramas, superhero flicks, science fiction epics, and, of course, comedies. In an effort to appreciate his successes, we turned to Rotten Tomatoes with a simple question: What are the 16 best Jim Carrey films? Here they are, ranked from worst to best.

16. Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (1994)

Surprise hit "Ace Ventura: Pet Detective" transformed Jim Carrey from a bit player to a titan of cinematic comedy. However, it wasn't exactly cherished by critics upon its release. Moreover, some of us who found our slides thoroughly split by Ace's antics at the time have revisited the film since and discovered we no longer consider a guy talking with his butt to be the funniest thing that has ever happened.

After "Ace" rocketed Carrey to international fame, he made a handful of films like "Man on the Moon," which prove he has more in him than gross-out slapstick. That was a smart move: "Ace Ventura" might have cracked audiences up and rocketed him to international fame, but he probably wouldn't enjoy the level of prominence he's attained had he only ever been the "Ace Ventura" guy. Still, Carrey returned to the character once more in 1995's "Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls," and might be on the cusp of making a third "Ace" film.

16. How The Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)

"Grinch" and "Ace Ventura" are tied as Jim Carrey's 16th best movie.  According to some critics, this live-action remake of the animated holiday institution "How The Grinch Stole Christmas!" (1966) is an example of Hollywood's malignant risk aversion and habit of repackaging entrenched IPs at the expense of cultivating new ideas. But moviegoing audiences in 2000 disagreed: This "Grinch" raked in $345 million worldwide. Turns out, Carrey and director Ron Howard's belief that the world needed a new version of "How The Grinch Stole Christmas" wasn't as crazy as it sounded to many naysayers. 

Carrey's "Grinch" co-stars include Anthony Hopkins, Christine Baranski, and present-day lead singer of The Pretty Reckless Taylor Momsen as Cindy Lou Who. Who could've guessed that this doe-eyed elfin toddler would grow up to be a bona-fide, fire-breathing, blood-drinkin' rock 'n roll demon? Truly, this is a movie chock-full of surprises.

15. The Cable Guy (1996)

To this very day, folks argue constantly and passionately about whether "The Cable Guy" is any good. As a former television technician inexplicably obsessed with a bland protagonist played by Matthew Broderick, Carrey was certainly not a contender at the '96 Oscars. But his performance as Chip Douglas made audiences just uncomfortable enough to convince them of Carrey's potential beyond slapstick. Ultimately, "The Cable Guy" became most significant as evidence of this claim. Meanwhile, the rest of the cast and crew is a virtual who's-who of the last quarter century of comedy, including producer Judd Apatow, roughly 10 years before his name basically became its own genre.

"The Cable Guy" is either a cutting exploration of pop culture oversaturation, stunted social development, and emotional violence, or it's a kind-of-bad '90s comedy that's only important because of who's involved. Where it lands is ultimately up to you.

14. The Dead Pool (1988)

In this final entry of Clint Eastwood's "Dirty Harry" series, Jim Carrey plays Johnny Squares, who lip-syncs "Welcome To The Jungle" and is promptly murdered. Guns 'n Roses show up at his funeral. Bet that's a cluster of words you never thought you'd see squished together, eh?

"The Dead Pool" has the dubious distinction of being the least profitable "Dirty Harry" movie. Its middling reviews offer an explanation as to why this is the case. But if we are to consider the film's positives, we can certainly speculate that it served as a confidence booster for late-'80s Jim Carrey.  A few years earlier, his first starring television role on a 1984 sitcom called "The Duck Factory" only survived a single season. Critics then savaged his first major film project, the vampire sex comedy "Once Bitten" (1985). That kind of repeat failure, however beyond his control it might've been, could've messed with Carrey's head. If he ever considered giving up on Hollywood during this period, a small but featured part in a Clint Eastwood movie might've supplied some sorely-needed validation. 

13. A Christmas Carol (2009)

In this Robert Zemeckis-helmed iteration of "A Christmas Carol," Jim Carrey plays Ebenezer Scrooge, the Ghost of Christmas Past, the Ghost of Christmas Present, and the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come. But that's not the most remarkable aspect of this movie. The really freaky thing is how it managed to rake in more than $300 million, yet still be considered a profound financial disappointment, due to its swollen production and marketing budget. Multiple once-powerful studio executives actually lost their jobs in the wake of the film's lackluster profit.

"A Christmas Carol" scored middling reviews. But while the critics were preoccupied with the film's off-putting animation, they weren't necessarily hostile to this spin on the immortal Charles Dickens parable and Carrey's multifaceted performance within it. Carrey obviously made a ton of money regardless, but from a purely creative standpoint, It must be a drag to know you did a good job and still have the world bemoan your film as a failure.

12. Sonic The Hedgehog (2020)

The fact that Jim Carrey hasn't played more villains in kids movies is baffling. Sure, there's a Riddler here and a Count Olaf there in his filmography, but really, you'd think the guy with the rubber face would have done nothing but play kid-friendly baddies for at least a decade or so. At least we have "Sonic the Hedgehog," which allows Carrey to embrace his most pompous, annoying, and off-putting attributes in the role of Dr. Robotnik.

"Sonic The Hedgehog" scored decent reviews. Arguably, they might be the result of low expectations. Even setting aside the debacle surrounding early responses to the titular character's design, video game movies have an abysmal track record. "Sonic" is no more and no less than a competent, uncomplicated watch. Compared to, let's say, 1994's "Street Fighter" or 2016's "Warcraft," "Sonic" looks like "Citizen Kane." Still, it's a perfectly fun watch that uses Carrey's talents well.

11. Man On The Moon (1999)

"Man On The Moon" seems like it should've been a bigger deal. After all, it had R.E.M. providing one of their better late-career singles in "The Great Beyond" for the soundtrack, director Milos Forman of "Amadeus" (1984) and "One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest" (1975) fame at the wheel, Jim Carrey's self-erasing devotion to the gig, and the legacy of mythic outsider comic Andy Kaufman in its proverbial bag of tricks. There are certainly plenty of possible reasons why it got lost in the shuffle. It came out during one of the greatest years for movies in the history of cinema, for one thing. And hey, maybe Universal overestimated the mainstream audience's interest in Kaufman. Perhaps Carrey's appeal was already suffering from overexposure by the end of the '90s. 

Nevertheless, this is one of the relatively few post-stardom Carrey projects that actually lost money. Despite Carrey's picture-perfect portrayal of Kaufman, which the critics uniformly lauded (if not the movie as a whole), "Man On The Moon" signifies the end of the era in which everything Jim Carrey touched turned into money.

10. Dumb and Dumber (1994)

It's probably fair to say that Jim Carrey was tremendously fortunate to run into the Farrelly brothers in the wake of "Ace Ventura: Pet Detective" and "The Mask." In fact, the timing for both parties was mutually beneficial to a tremendous degree. To follow up a pair of gargantuan surprise hits and prove his recent boom wasn't a fluke, Carrey needed a solid third effort that wouldn't alienate his new audience or come off like a shameless"Ace Ventura" clone. The Farrellys needed a big name to catapult them into their eventual position as the decade's definitive comedy filmmaking duo. In a partnership, they all got what they needed.

"Dumb and Dumber" pulled in more than $127 million on a $17 million budget, earned solid reviews, and provided a whole new roster of catchphrases to delight the legions of Carrey fanatics. "Dumb and Dumber" prolonged what some might call his Imperial Phase for two more years, until it hit a wall called "The Cable Guy."

9. Earth Girls Are Easy (1988)

"Earth Girls Are Easy" positively screams "This movie takes place in the 1980s!" at the top of its lungs. But, since it aired on Comedy Central basically constantly throughout the first half of the 1990s, a large fraction of the movie-consuming hoards closely associate it with '90s cable TV. So, does that mean "Earth Girls Are Easy" is retroactively a '90s movie? Nah, but it nevertheless became a beloved cult item after sinking like a bag of hammers in the ocean during its 1988 journey through cineplexes. 

Handsome space aliens played by Carrey, Jeff Goldblum, and Damon Wayans visit Geena Davis' romantically and sexually frustrated protagonist. Her frustrations subside soon thereafter. It's kinda like "Weird Science," except with the gender roles reversed and all characters involved comfortably above the age of consent. It earned decent reviews, and enjoyed much renewed public interest after Carrey's star status went galactic. However, even without his involvement, it would still be remembered as the film Goldblum and Davis made together right before they got divorced.

8. I Love You Phillip Morris (2009)

Evidently, this project ran into some issues finding distribution due to the sexuality of its two primary characters, Steven Russell (Jim Carrey) and Phillip Morris (Ewan McGregor). That's a shame. In a more enlightened world, more of us would've been able to go see "I Love You Phillip Morris" in theaters. Critics described it as a better-than-average rom-com, with Steven's semi-sympathetic con artist marking one of Carrey's more interesting and better-executed roles. 

At least in terms of its long-term impact, "I Love You Phillip Morris" can proudly claim to be a success. First-time directors John Requa and Glenn Ficarra went on to make "Crazy, Stupid, Love" (2011) and contribute substantially to the beloved NBC drama "This Is Us." "I Love You Phillip Morris" isn't one of Carrey's most successful movies by conventional standards, but it gets by just fine as a quirky, low-stakes, feel-good watch.

7. A Series of Unfortunate Events (2004)

As is the case with "A Christmas Carol," Jim Carrey plays multiple parts in the aggressively whimsical "Lemony Snicket's A Series Of Unfortunate Events." Most notably, he portrays the nefarious Count Olaf, a grumpy old man who doesn't lend himself to the elastic physicality often associated with Carrey's oeuvre. "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" also hit theaters in 2004, which means Carrey released two films in the same year showcasing his versatility. 

As far as critical reception goes, "A Series of Unfortunate Events" fared well: It struck critics as an attempt to imitate Tim Burton that ended up being better than many actual Tim Burton projects. The film's absolutely star-studded cast is a major part of this success: Jude Law, Meryl Streep, Timothy Spall, and Jennifer Coolidge appear in this film alongside Carrey. "A Series of Unfortunate Events" also introduced Australian actor Emily Browning to American audiences, who now likely know her better as Laura Moon on "American Gods."

6. The Mask (1994)

It might be difficult for younger readers to fully appreciate what a massive deal "The Mask" was, back in 1994. It made back its not-insubstantial budget 10 times over. It garnered strong reviews from the critical community. It had grade school kids screaming "Sssssmokin'!" directly into each other's faces nonstop during recess periods across the nation. It introduced the world to a promising young talent named Cameron Diaz. It sold an insane amount of "Mask"-related t-shirts, action figures, posters, and other assorted memorabilia. 

And yet, hardly anybody talks about "The Mask" anymore. It came, it set the world ablaze, and then it vanished. In an instance of unprecedented handling of a lucrative fantasy franchise, New Line didn't even attempt a sequel until the mid-'00s, when the window of opportunity had obviously closed. If people don't talk much about "The Mask" any longer, they absolutely never talk about "Son of the Mask."

Some news sources allege that Carrey turned down a "Mask" sequel. But in the Barbara Walters interview those sources cite, he actually sounds quite a bit like he's expecting a major payday from a second "Mask" film in his foreseeable future. What's the truth? Perhaps we'll never know.

5. Liar Liar (1997)

Y'know what people love? Movies about dads who are excessively focused on their careers and don't pay enough attention to their children. In each of these movies, some magical force injects itself into the equation, putting the negligent dad in a highly improbable situation that forces him to reconsider his productivity-centered worldview. At the end of the movie, the dad promises to spend more time with his kids. "Liar Liar" is one of these movies, and much like its brethren ("Click," "Elf," "The Family Man"), it has brought harmless escapist enjoyment to a whole lot of nice folks.  

Perhaps most pertinently, "Liar Liar" marks Jim Carrey's second collaboration with director Tom Shadyac, who had previously guided the production of "Ace Ventura: Pet Detective." Carrey and Shadyac would join forces once again on 2003's "Bruce Almighty," a film that does not score highly enough on Rotten Tomatoes to warrant inclusion in this list.

4. Peggy Sue Got Married (1986)

This oddball creation from Francis Ford Coppola's "Captain EO" phase scans like "Back To The Future" minus the incest. It probably lands closer to being a Kathleen Turner movie or a Nicolas Cage movie than a Jim Carrey movie: In '86, Carrey had yet to introduce the world to Fire Marshall Bill or Ace Ventura. He was Jim Carrey, but he wasn't Jim Carrey yet, if you follow us.

It's far from the most beloved project associated with any of the big names we just mentioned, but critics regarded it fondly. Most importantly (for our purposes, anyway), "Peggy Sue Got Married" includes a scene in which Jim Carrey and Nicolas Cage sing in an acapella quartet together. We sure wish Cage and Carrey would team up on more projects. Unfortunately, the laws of physics indicate that the more time Jim Carrey and Nicolas Cage spend in a room together, the more likely it is that reality will collapse at any moment. Seriously, the internet could not handle the sheer volume of memes that would be generated.

3. Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond (2017)

"Jim & Andy" falls somewhere between being a behind-the-scenes doc about the making of "Man On The Moon" and an "Adaptation" (2002) style meta-narrative in which fictionalized protagonist Jim Carrey, played by non-fictional actor Jim Carrey, detaches from reason and basic self-preservation instincts in his effort to go totally method on an Andy Kaufman biopic. Carrey does an incredible Kaufman impersonation in the theatrical film released in 1999, and "Jim & Andy" demonstrates the sometimes dangerous, occasionally heart warming, and always baffling lengths Carrey went to, in order to make good and certain he nailed the part. 

"Universal didn't want the footage we took behind the scenes to surface, so that people wouldn't think I was an a**hole," Carrey explains in the trailer. Indeed, "Jim & Andy" depicts him as unhinged and ruthlessly abusive towards his co-stars and crew. But is it really Jim Carrey playing Andy Kaufman going out of his way to ruin "Man On The Moon"? Or is that Andy Kaufman playing Jim Carrey playing Andy Kaufman going out of his way to ruin "Man On The Moon"?  Yeah, that's the kind of movie this is — and the critics adored it.

2. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)

Wanna know how ironic the universe can get? In arguably his career zenith, Jim Carrey plays the straight man while someone else tells the jokes. 

Shy, aw-shucks-y, and passive-aggressive, Joel Barish is about as far from Carrey's flailing '90s persona as you can get. But moviegoers had basically signed up to have their memories of Ace Ventura erased by 2004. At that time, the fact that "Eternal Sunshine" marked screenwriter Charlie Kaufman's follow-up to "Being John Malkovich" (1999) and "Adaptation" was a much bigger selling point than Carrey's involvement. 

Kate Winslet co-stars as Clementine Kruczynski, Joel's ex-girlfriend who undergoes an experimental procedure to yank their relationship out of her memories. Joel signs up for the same process, and soon second-guesses this decision. Equal parts tender, heart-wrenching, and surreal — with an occasional slide into nightmare territory — "Eternal Sunshine" makes you wonder why more rom-coms don't tell us to appreciate our exes. Just because they don't want to sleep with the main character anymore shouldn't make them automatic villains, y'know? This multi-dimensional approach proved to be a massive success: Critics hailed "Eternal Sunshine" as a triumph, a status it still enjoys today.

1. The Truman Show (1998)

"The Truman Show" basically predicts the lifestyle of every social media celebrity about a decade before "social media" and "celebrity" were phrases that routinely appeared next to each other. A relatively modest financial success relative to Carrey's other '90s hits, "The Truman Show" remains highly relevant as possibly the most immediately prescient Hollywood movie of the last handful of decades. 

Truman Burbank is the main character of a television show he has no idea exists, having lived his entire life on a soundstage disguised as a small town, inhabited by actors pretending to be his friends and family. Due to the massive sums of advertising bucks he obliviously rakes in, Truman can't know the truth, and he's certainly not allowed to leave. "The Truman Show" became an instant classic, still applauded for its darkly comic heart and clear-eyed take on celebrity culture.

Having amassed colossal celebrity status and personal wealth by playing a series of insane idiots, Carrey plays the only normal person in "The Truman Show"  it's the world he inhabits that's grown tasteless and irrational. One might argue the film sums up the big punchline of his whole movie career: Jim Carrey does his best work when he isn't doing the "Jim Carrey" shtick.