The villainous Count Olaf just might be Jim Carrey's finest screen role. A bitter, would-be master thespian who delights in donning ridiculous disguises and adopting funny accents, he doesn't seem far removed from what Carrey might be like had he not hit cinematic paydirt and become a homicidal has-been instead. The rest of the movie, however, isn't quite up to Carrey's level -- which is a shame, because most of the ingredients are there: strong cast, good production design, a clever screenwriter. There are two obvious weak links: As the voice of author Lemony Snicket, Jude Law is far too kind-sounding; and director Brad Silberling is totally wrong for the material. Silberling's girlfriend was murdered in 1989, and he's spent his entire feature directorial career channeling that experience into his art. He wants to reassure us that everything's all right, that life can go on after losing a loved one, but what's required here is the sort of demented S.O.B. who can laugh at people falling to their deaths.
Director: Brad Silberling
Writer: Robert Gordon and Daniel Handler
Producer: Albie Hecht, Laurie MacDonald, Walter F. Parkes and Julia Pistor
Cast: Jim Carrey, Meryl Streep, Jude Law, Liam Aiken, Emily Browning, Timothy Spall, Billy Connolly, Jennifer Coolidge, Luis Guzman and Craig Ferguson
Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events