Top 20 Greatest Jim Carrey Characters



Top 20 Greatest Jim Carrey Characters

VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Mark Sammut
This comedian has crafted his fair share of memorable characters over the years. For this list, we'll be looking at Jim Carrey's greatest roles in film and television. Our countdown includes "Bruce Almighty", "Ace Ventura: Pet Detective", "The Mask", "Liar Liar", “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”, and more!

Top 20 Jim Carrey Characters

Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 20 Jim Carrey Characters.

For this list, we’ll be looking at Jim Carrey’s greatest roles in film and television.

Which Jim Carrey movie is the most rewatchable? Let us know in the comments!

#20: Colonel Stars and Stripes

“Kick-Ass 2” (2013)
Stepping in to fill the Nicolas Cage-shaped hole left by the first movie, Jim Carrey's experience and charisma are welcome additions to the bloody, but often funny, "Kick-Ass 2." A mafia goon-turned-superhero, Colonel Stars and Stripes brings an infectious energy and some gravitas to the story. As this is a movie called "Kick-Ass 2" that is about Hit-Girl, Colonel Stars and Stripes is very much a secondary character, but Carrey makes the most of his limited screen time. Colonel Stars and Stripes showcases the actor's ability to be both funny and dramatic.

#19: Jeff Piccirillo/Mr. Pickles

“Kidding” (2018-20)
In what was a surprising return to the small screen, Carrey plays a children's TV host who has been portraying the same innocent character for thirty years. While Mr. Pickles is an eternally innocent and wholesome role model for children and adults alike, Jeff Piccirillo is a man in his ‘50s struggling with death, guilt, and the lack of an outlet for his grief. "Kidding" makes for an interesting, melancholy, and occasionally humorous character study, and the series improves by quite a bit in its second season. Carrey is fantastic throughout and shows off his impressive range.

#18: Dick Harper

“Fun with Dick and Jane” (2005)
A lesser-appreciated entry in Carrey's filmography, "Fun with Dick and Jane" traces the story of a vice president of a major media company who faces a major life reversal as the corporation goes belly up. For the most part, Dick and Jane are left to engage in slapstick shenanigans as they turn to a life of crime. A remake of a 1977 film, "Fun with Dick and Jane" is hardly going to win awards for originality, but Carrey delivers a dynamic and sympathetic performance as a well-meaning guy who is desperate to provide for his family.

#17: Steven Jay Russell

“I Love You Phillip Morris” (2009)
Based on a true story, "I Love You Phillip Morris" is a fascinating and engaging tale. Carrey portrays Steven Jay Russell, an oft-imprisoned con man who appears to be forever playing a part, be it a police officer, a church organ player, or a CFO of a large company. The one thing that seems genuine about Steven is his love for his ex-cellmate, Phillip Morris, who he goes to great lengths to be with. A complex character with endless charisma, but a tragic disposition, Steven is the type of person that Jim Carrey was born to portray.

#16: Charlie & Hank

“Me, Myself & Irene” (2000)
In another team-up with the Farrelly brothers, Carrey takes on the dual role of the timid state trooper Charlie and his split-personality alter ego, the fierce Hank. Through a series of twists, Charlie ends up accused of murder, and is forced to go on the run, with mob hitmen and the FBI chasing him, and the similarly falsely accused Irene, across the country. "Me, Myself & Irene" permits Carrey to deliver the type of over-the-top and physical performance that helped make him a star, and there is no shortage of brilliant facial expressions. "Me, Myself & Irene" is quintessential Jim Carrey, even if it's not quite his best.

#15: Andy Kaufman

“Man on the Moon” (1999)
A surreal and metafictional biopic about Andy Kaufman, "Man on the Moon" dramatizes the legendary comedian's life through a stellar central performance by Jim Carrey. The actor notoriously stayed in character throughout the production, which helped Carrey disappear into the role as he sought to embody Kaufman in his entirety. Funny as it can be at times, "Man on the Moon" does not shy away from showing Kaufman's low points, and Carrey handles both tones convincingly. At any given point in the story, the film and its lead character is hilarious, awkward, inspirational, or depressing.

#14: Carl Allen

“Yes Man” (2008)
What if you had to say yes to everything? That is the basic premise of 2008's "Yes Man," a comedy loosely based on Danny Wallace's memoir of the same name. Carrey portrays Carl, a man who has become stuck in a rut due to his negative outlook on life. After a motivational speaker advises Carl to say “yes” to everything, the protagonist begins to do just that, leading him on a journey of self-discovery and love. While great as a comedy, "Yes Man" is even better considered as a dramedy about a closed-minded person seeking a way to change his life.

#13: Count Olaf

“Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events” (2004)
A fast-paced adaptation of Daniel Handler's first "A Series of Unfortunate Events" novels, this 2004 film is very much the Jim Carrey show. As the villainous Count Olaf, Carrey is cartoonish and expressive, juxtapositioning the film's pretty grim plot with plenty of improvisational humor. Count Olaf walks the line between an intimidating monster and an incompetent buffoon. This character is believable as someone who, on any given day, might leave three children to be run over a train... or pretend to be a dinosaur. Olaf is eccentric in all the right ways.

#12: The Grinch

“How the Grinch Stole Christmas” (2000)
Ron Howard's adaptation of the Dr. Seuss classic gives the Grinch a tragic backstory and makes the Whos of Whoville slightly terrifying. Saddled with tons of makeup and a restrictive suit, Jim Carrey somehow manages to preserve his expressiveness, and delivers a truly manic turn as the Grinch. The titular character carries the weight of the movie on his green shoulders, as the Grinch supplies the laughs, and also most of the story's emotional beats. The Grinch is an irresistible force who demands attention in every scene, regardless of whether he is stealing Christmas, or trying to decide what to wear.

#11: Dr. Robotnik

“Sonic the Hedgehog” (2020)
In somewhat of a return to classic form, Carrey's Doctor Robotnik chews the scenery with all of the enthusiasm of a saturday morning cartoon villain. A scientist with a penchant for madness, Robotnik is egotistical, violent, and demeaning, all traits that lend themselves well to a scene-stealer. Whether tearing down a major or meeting a talking blue hedgehog for the first time, Robotnik is delightfully unhinged, a genius who would love nothing more than to replace all of humanity with robots. With a sequel on the horizon, the age of Robotnik has only just begun.

#10: Edward Nygma/The Riddler

“Batman Forever” (1995)
Released at the height of Carreymania, "Batman Forever" lets the comedian go full ham as Edward Nygma. Once Nygma completes his transition into the Riddler, the villain eliminates any sense of self-restraint and embraces chaos with a vigor that would make the Joker proud. As a throwback to the Adam West era of Batman, the Riddler and his schemes are unapologetically outlandish and cartoonish, which bounce off well against Bruce Wayne's quiet intensity. If nothing else, "Batman Forever" does make the most of Jim Carrey while it has him.

#9: Joel Barish

“Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” (2004)
Carrey has proven his dramatic chops time and time again throughout his career. In perhaps the actor's most against-type role ever, Carrey portrays the hesitant and introverted Joel opposite Kate Winslet's impulsive Clementine. After learning that Clementine, his ex-girlfriend, has erased him from her mind, Joel decides to undergo the same procedure, a decision he comes to regret. At no point during "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" does it seem like Carrey is on the verge of cracking a joke, as the actor convincingly and wholeheartedly becomes the reserved and hurting Joel.

#8: Fletcher Reede

“Liar Liar” (1997)
Sometimes, the only thing a movie needs to do is to let Jim Carrey do his thing. "Liar Liar's" simple premise of a lawyer who cannot lie for a day might sound thin, but it provides more than enough fuel for one of the greatest physical comedians ever. As the hijinks commence, Fletcher proves that the truth can hurt, beats himself up for nothing, and produces some of the most entertaining court sessions of all time. While "Liar Liar" injects its frenzied comedy with heart and a good message, it’s moments like Fletcher losing an intense staredown with a pen that tend to be most fondly remembered.

#7: Ernie “Chip” Douglas

“The Cable Guy” (1996)
There is one major thing that separates Chip from Carrey's other mid-'90s roles: The cable guy is purposefully unlikable. A lonely person who is intrusive and incapable of taking a hint, Chip is uncomfortable, aggressive, and way too intense. Even if the film takes things to extremes, Chip still comes across as someone you could genuinely meet on the street or at a Medieval-themed dinner. Carrey would eventually take on darker and more dramatic roles, but "The Cable Guy" represents the comedian's first significant attempt to subvert expectations. It also doesn't hurt that the film is pretty hilarious at times.

#6: Fire Marshal Bill

“In Living Color” (1990-94)
Before movies came calling, Jim Carrey got his big break in the sketch comedy series, "In Living Color." Carrey had multiple recurring characters, but none proved to be quite as explosive as Fire Marshall Bill. Emphasizing physical comedy, and making splendid use of Carrey's elastic facial expressions, Fire Marshall Bill shows up to teach kids and viewers that hell is only one fish tank or waffle iron away. Fire Marshall Bill basically condenses the style of comedy that would define Carrey's early movies into bite-sized sketches, and the routine never gets old.

#5: Bruce Nolan

“Bruce Almighty” (2003)
After having a meltdown on air and getting fired, TV reporter Bruce Nolan gets a temporary job as a stand-in for God. In the span of a week, Bruce performs some amazing miracles, proves to his girlfriend that he will never give her up, and turns Buffalo on its head. Carrey instills Bruce with a hilarious but charming intensity that helps sell many of "Bruce Almighty's" sillier moments, while aptly demonstrating the selfish character's journey towards maturity. Bruce might make for a pretty terrible God, but Carrey is glorious as a human trying to be the almighty.

#4: Lloyd Christmas

“Dumb and Dumber” Franchise (1994-2014)
In the wrong hands, unbelievably stupid characters can be infuriatingly annoying; thankfully, "Dumb and Dumber" gets its casting spot on. Lloyd is a limousine driver who falls in love with a passenger and goes on a road trip to Aspen, with his best friend, to return a briefcase. In some ways, Lloyd is a hopeless romantic, albeit one stripped of any charisma, intelligence, sophistication, or restraint. The road trip boils down to a series of hilarious lowbrow gags, each one underpinned by the usually comforting, but not always positive friendship between Lloyd and Harry.

#3: Truman Burbank

“The Truman Show” (1998)
By the late-'90s, Jim Carrey was one of the most famous comic actors on the planet, but it remained to be seen whether he could transition to pure drama. "The Truman Show" would change that. The movie follows Truman, a guy who has unknowingly lived his entire life as the subject of a television show. While the premise lends itself to a comedy, "The Truman Show" dives into this concept's psychological, philosophical, and dramatic implications. Truman is incredibly relatable as an average joe who comes to realize that his entire world is a lie, and while Carrey is often funny, it’s never at the expense of the film's emotional core.

#2: Stanley Ipkiss/The Mask

“The Mask” (1994)
If a film wants to pass for a live-action cartoon, Jim Carrey is the person to call. "The Mask" was one of a trifecta of 1994 flicks that propelled Carrey into the stratosphere, and it's certainly not difficult to see why. The comedian portrays the down-on-his-luck and bullied Stanley Ipkiss, who finds a mask that transforms him into a comic book character. While the unassertive Ipkiss is surprisingly likable, this movie is all about the Mask's infectious energy, sight gags, and penchant for anarchy. Endlessly quotable and rewatchable, "The Mask" is the '90s at its zaniest.

#1: Ace Ventura

“Ace Ventura” Franchise (1994-2009)
Armed with a million impressions, and all of the catchphrases, Ace Ventura is one of those roles that is simply synonymous with Jim Carrey. As the comedian's first big movie, "Ace Ventura" introduced Carrey's brand of extreme acting to the big screen, and everything about the Pet Detective is iconic. The first movie throws everything at the wall in the hopes of getting a laugh, and it succeeds more than it misses. Even the sequel that was released a year la