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Jim Carrey Best Movies: The Eccentric Funnyman’s Top 12 Performances, Ranked

From blockbuster comedies to arthouse dramas — this funnyman has range!


There are few actors out there as weird and wonderful as Jim Carrey. The expressive-faced, loose-limbed star rose to fame in the early ’90s as a breakout cast member of the edgy sketch comedy series In Living Color. In 1994, the year the show ended, he became a major box office draw with three blockbuster comedy movies in a row — Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, The Mask and Dumb and Dumber.

Carrey has long possessed a singular goofy charisma, with an uncanny knack for physical comedy. While he’s best-known for his comic prowess, as the ’90s progressed he took on more serious roles in films like The Truman Show and Man on the Moon, and showed a surprising level of emotional nuance.

Carrey has also had his fair share of roles in forgettable family movies, but his combination of hilarious mainstream comedies and moodier arthouse films makes him one of the most compelling stars around. Read on for our ranked list of the 12 best Jim Carrey movies.

Jim Carrey best movies, ranked

12. How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)

Jim Carrey in 'How The Grinch Stole Christmas', 2000
Jim Carrey in How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)Universal/Getty

This live-action adaptation of the classic Dr. Seuss story has become a holiday movie classic. While Carrey does give a typically entertaining performance, and it’s hard to imagine anyone else playing the Grinch so well, we have to rank this one at the bottom, as Carrey spends the whole time covered up in furry green Grinch-wear which is — let’s face it — kinda creepy!

11. Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (1994) Jim Carrey best movies

Jim Carrey in 'Ace Ventura: Pet Detective' 1994
Jim Carrey in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (1994)Aaron Rapoport/Corbis/Getty

Just out of In Loving Color in 1994, Carrey was ready to bring his comic talents to the big screen, and Ace Ventura: Pet Detective was the first of his three hits that year. Carrey came out swinging, and it’s fun to see him yuk it up as the quirky, colorfully dressed detective, but unfortunately much of the film’s crude humor hasn’t aged particularly well.

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10. Bruce Almighty (2003)

Jim Carrey in 'Bruce Almighty' 2003
Jim Carrey in Bruce Almighty (2003)@cineboxia/Instagram

In Bruce Almighty, Carrey plays a down-on-his-luck TV news reporter who meets God (played by none other than Morgan Freeman). The film offers up a crowd-pleasing mix of humor and heart.

As Carrey described the movie in an interview, “It was comedic in a way and it allowed me to go incredibly crazy. It allowed me to go off the deep end. But at the same time there were real solid ideas and the question that all of us get to at a certain point, where we’re screaming at God in our own way and saying, ‘Why? Why? Why are you doing this to me?'”

9. Yes Man (2008)

Jim Carrey in 'Yes Man' 2008
Jim Carrey in Yes Man (2008)@jimcarrey__/Instagram

What if you said yes to every opportunity that came your way? Such is the premise of Yes Man, a sweet rom-com in which Carrey stars alongside the always delightful Zooey Deschanel and learns how to embrace the many opportunities life has to offer (while also being silly, of course!).

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8. Me, Myself & Irene (2000)

Jim Carrey in 'Me, Myself & Irene' 2000
Jim Carrey in Me, Myself & Irene (2000)@1streviews/Instagram

In this dark comedy, Carrey plays a mild-mannered state trooper who reveals a sinister split personality. Carrey convincingly embodies two very different characters battling it out in one body.

In an Entertainment Weekly interview, he revealed the role was surprisingly personal, saying, “My movies are like therapy sessions — they never fail to be in the pocket of where I am and what I need. With Irene, I was going through a lot of ‘Is it okay to be who I am?’ I can smile my way through life if I want to, but I don’t want to. And will I be accepted if I show the dark side a little?”

7. The Mask (1994)

Jim Carrey in 'The Mask' 1994
Jim Carrey in The Mask (1994)New Line Cinema/Getty

The Mask was the second of Carrey’s three 1994 mega-hits, and it provided a wildly creative showcase for his gonzo physical comedy. As an ordinary guy who undergoes a transformation when he puts on a mysterious mask, Carrey is a real-life cartoon character. While he spends much of the film covered in creepy green prosthetics, his go-for-broke commitment to silliness is instantly recognizable, and special effects make him even more over-the-top.

6. Liar Liar (1997) Jim Carrey best movies

Jim Carrey in 'Liar Liar' 1997
Jim Carrey in Liar Liar (1997)Hulton Archive/Getty

Liar Liar stars Carrey as a sleazy lawyer who finds himself in a pickle when he suddenly becomes incapable of lying. Seeing Carrey fight off his impulses to lie leads to big laughs, but he surprisingly was not the first choice for the movie. Initially, British charmer Hugh Grant was attached to the project, which would’ve made for a very different film.

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5. Dumb and Dumber (1994)

'Dumb and Dumber' 1994
Jim Carrey in Dumb and Dumber (1994)New Line Cinema/Getty

The last (but certainly not the least) of Carrey’s 1994 hits, Dumb and Dumber is joyously absurd. Carrey and Jeff Daniels play a pair of dopey friends who set out on a cross-country journey fueled by their own foolish delusions, and while the comedy is crude, there’s a definite sweetness to the relationship between the BFFs. Carrey’s extreme commitment to playing dumb and getting laughs led The New York Times to dub him “the new Jerry Lewis.”

4. The Cable Guy (1996)

'The Cable Guy' 1996
Jim Carrey in The Cable Guy (1996)Columbia Pictures/Getty

If you like your comedies pitch black, The Cable Guy is essential viewing. Carrey plays the troubled title character, who insinuates himself into the life of a recently-dumped man (Matthew Broderick) in increasingly bizarre ways. While the movie initially received mixed reviews, it’s since developed a cult following thanks to its distinctive mix of creepiness and comedy.

3. The Truman Show (1998)

'The Truman Show' 1998
Jim Carrey in The Truman Show (1998)Paramount/Getty

What if you were living in a reality show but didn’t know it? Such is the haunting plot of The Truman Show, Carrey’s first foray into more serious work. The film provides an excellent showcase for his range while raising a number of existential questions (hey, what does “real life” really mean?) and remains eternally relevant.

In an interview, Carrey called the film the one he said yes to the fastest, saying, “I read it and knew probably within 10 pages that I had to do the movie. It was not a question.”

2. Man on the Moon (1999) Jim Carrey best movies

 'Man on the Moon' 1999
Jim Carrey in Man on the Moon (1999)Hulton Archive/Getty

Man on the Moon was one of Carrey’s rare box office misses, but it features one of his finest performances. Carrey plays Andy Kaufman, the eccentric, highly influential comedian who rose to fame in the ’70s with his absurdist persona and died tragically young. It’s a role Carrey was born to play: He idolized Kaufman and took a method actor approach to embodying him, as detailed in the 2017 documentary Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond.

1. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)

With Kate Winslet 'Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind' 2004
Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)@filmfilemedia/Instagram

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is a gorgeous drama starring Carrey as a man who discovers his ex-girlfriend (Kate Winslet) has undergone a procedure to erase her memories of him and decides to go through with the same thing, with inevitable consequences.

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Carrey makes a shockingly convincing everyman and brings much poignancy to his role. Like The Truman Show, the film raises some serious existential questions, and presents them with visual flair. While this may not be his funniest movie, it’s undoubtedly the one that sticks with you the longest, thanks in large part to his affecting performance.

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