January 09, 2011 1:26pm PT by Tim Appelo
VIDEO: Jim Carrey's 'SNL' 'Black Swan': 'Would You Have Sex With Her?'
If Tina Fey's Sarah Palin impression could help scuttle her election, can Jim Carrey's Mila Kunis impression on SNL help Black Swan win some Oscar votes?
As the upstart tattooed banshee ballerina who steals the Bad Black Swan role from Natalie Portman's heroine in Black Swan, host Carrey's sketch on Saturday's SNL does its sweaty best to out-nasty Mila Kunis. "I had to go #3 and 4...I'm all swampy in my pants!" Carrey overshares. Then he twirls his tutu, flexes, grins, and when Bill Hader, playing "the world's only straight French choreographer," asks, "Would you have sex with her?" fists his own face, filling his overelastic mouth with knuckles.
Carrey does his athletic best, baring nipples and thrusting his gum in Hader's ear, but it's not half as hilarious as Fey's Palin. Carrey is a past master of mimicry, but he's not trying to do Kunis, maybe because she's not a familiar or distinct enough persona to craft an impression from. Seth Meyers, working closely from Palin's actual comments, wrote an infinitely more skilled, funny script for Fey's Palin bit than whoever wrote SNL's Black Swan sendup. The movie is tutu much; the SNL sketch is almost but not quite enough. Though everyone else in the universe apparently finds it more uproarious than I -- in fact, it nabbed SNL its highest ratings since the show's Betty White episode in May.
Even so, SNL's vast reach and Carrey's boy-intensive fan base should give the movie, which needs to reach out to even more male viewers, a modest boost as Black Swan prepares to expand from 1584 theatres to 2000 on Jan. 14. I doubt Carrey will influence Academy voters at all, except maybe to notice his own mostly overlooked new movie I Love You, Phillip Morris. Black Swan doesn't necessarily need the help. It's doing fantastic box office, $61.5 million so far, like twice what I would've guessed at the admittedly rapturous Telluride Film Festival premiere on Labor Day. Who knew a psycho ballet thriller would hypnotize the nation? Carrey's Phillip Morris, a comedy about jailbird lovebirds that earned a WGA nom, as did Black Swan, only grossed $1.4 million so far, partly because of Black Swan's competition. A Roadside exec told Nikki Finke, "Considering the behemoth that is Black Swan, who took away a nice chunk of our hipster, gay, and specialty audience, we think we came through with flying colors." So if you can't beat 'em, strap on your tutu and join 'em on SNL. Jim Carrey needs Black Swan more than Black Swan needs Jim Carrey. It's got filmgoers feeling all swampy in their pants.
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