Jim Carrey Gives us Truth as Children's TV Host in Kidding

Post-spiritual awakening Jim Carrey is Carrey at his best. It’s further than you ever thought he could get from Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, and yet Jeff Pickles, the central character of Kidding, still holds a similar sort of intrigue. Distant from anyone we know, yet relatable and painfully human.

Deeply troubled about the death of his eldest son and the break-up of his marriage, Mr Pickles, host of an iconic children’s puppet show, must continue to record his show or risk harsh judgement of his father and manager, Mr. Pickles senior.

Struggling to crush the anger and trauma he feels, Mr Pickles spirals, acting out against his producers’ wishes; performing songs about depression to a studio audience of 5-year-olds; shaving half his head and moving in next door to his ex-wife. Slowly losing his sanity as the people around him drift further from him, Mr Pickles continues to live the motto of his show “Be True to Yourself”. Even if this means showing his cracks.

Much in the style of Transparent, starring Jeffrey Tambor, Kidding is much more than its main character; it’s about the lives of the people in the blast area, and how their family lives and experiences have shaped each of them differently.

Pickles’ sister and puppet costume designer, Deirdre, played by Catherine Keener, is remarkable. She herself nearing divorce, largely due to finding out her husband gave the neighbour a handjob in the driveway, Deirdre echoes a different kind of pain, a pain of always being overlooked, of never being enough. When Mr. Pickles San – the Japanese version of Mr Pickles – comes to town in order to learn from the master, so begins a mute affair between Deirdre and him, communicating only through puppets.

Directed by Michael Gondry who worked with Carrey on Eternal Sunshine for the Spotless Mind, Kidding is an exploration of mental health and dealing with the grim realness of the everyday. At a time when many of us feel alienated from the world around us and are grasping wildly for any semblance of truth, Kidding gives us exactly that. It’s heartfelt, real and, despite everything, hopeful.

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