Ask the star of New Line's sequel to its 1994 smash The Mask if he was intimidated following Jim Carrey, and he responds with a routine that suggests he's been bracing for this question. ''Drew Carey is a big talent,'' he says. ''He's been overlooked for years.'' Ba-dum-bum. ''Seriously,'' Jamie Kennedy continues, ''the first Mask was great. Eric Stoltz and Cher were so good…'' But Kennedy was assuaged by the promise of a very different film, one tailored for families instead of teenagers and one that gave the Malibu's Most Wanted star a chance to play an adult for a change.
Here, he's an ambitious animator who, while under the magical mask's frisky influence, conceives with his wife (Traylor Howard) a kid who can literally bounce off the walls. Meanwhile, the family dog, jealous of the baby, digs up the mask, ''and a full-on Chuck Jones cartoon war erupts,'' says director Lawrence Guterman (Cats & Dogs). The F/X-intensive, five-month shoot in Sydney was complicated, to say the least, but the star says wearing the mask itself wasn't difficult. Just freaky. ''Jay Leno's chin, Bob's Big Boy hair, Green Giant color, big horse teeth,'' says Kennedy. ''It's like the Hulk on weirdness.''