Robert Glatzer (2003, p. 2), in a review of Bruce Almighty stated that Jim Carrey "is a man who would like to be Charlie Chaplin -- who also built everything about himself -- but he fatally lacks Chaplin's genius." In this report, Glatzer's (2003) comparison of Carrey and Chaplin will be examined. It will be argued that though harsh, Glatzer's statement is an accurate assessment of the relative talents of these two cinematic superstars.
Some background on the critical response to the work of Charlie Chaplin is necessary. David Weddle (2003) examined several of Chaplin's feature films and argued that Charlie Chaplin was always willing to take enormous risks. He continued to make silent films such as City Lights after sound had been introduced into the movie industry. He also, in The Great Dictator, satirized Adolf Hitler at a time when the world was beginning to recognize Hitler's evil. Released in 1940, The Great Dictator grossed more than any of Chaplin's previous pictures and its success encouraged him to develop Monsieur Verdoux, in which he played a con artist who seduced old widows, married them, and then killed them.
Chaplin, as an actor, writer, and director/producer, created in the character of the Little Tramp, an icon of the silver screen that remains powerful today. He was a prolific worker, making 35 comedies in his first year of filmmaking under the direction of Mac Sennett of Keystone Films. It has been said that "Chaplin had impeccable comedic timing and put forth energetic and vigorous performances (Peterson, 2002, p. 1)." Chaplin was innovative both as an actor and as a filmmaker, using sound effects in novel ways to offset a lack of dialogue in films such as Modern Times.
Jim Carrey was described by Glatzer (2003) as a master mugger who uses an exceptionally mobile set of facial features and a limber body to good effect in many of his films. Carrey became the first actor to earn $20 millio...