5. Liar Liar (1997): Type of asshole: a lawyer who bends the truth and is always making promises he can’t keep just to shut people up. Intervention: due to a wish by his son, he is forced to only tell the truth, causing him to become a better, more responsible dad and nicer lawyer and boss.
4. Mr. Popper’s Penguins (2011): Type of asshole: works too hard, ignores kids, estranged from kids’ mom. Intervention: he is sent a CGI penguin. Result: spends all his time playing with his kids and blows off work.
3. A Christmas Carol (2009): Type of asshole: a mean old miser who won’t celebrate Christmas. Intervention: Is sent three ghosts who show him why he became the way he is, how people are suffering in the present, and the horrible future that awaits him unless he changes. Result: Becomes a nice guy, becomes generous with his money, and celebrates Christmas elaborately, every year.
2. How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000): Type of asshole: heart several sizes too small; hates Christmas and every Who in Whoville. Intervention: heart grows several sizes bigger after he sees the people of Whoville are just as happy without Christmas presents and decorations. Result: Best Christmas in Whoville ever!
1. Bruce Almighty (2003): Type of asshole: he’s never happy despite his many blessings. Intervention: he is given the powers of God after he complains to God that He’s doing a bad job of managing things and he (Bruce) could do it better. Then, in a switch from Carrey’s usual pattern, these powers make him much more of an asshole. He cheats on his girlfriend, humiliates his rival, causes natural disasters for his own benefit, and ignores everyone’s prayers. Result: Once he sees how little he appreciated the good things in his life before his apotheosis, he becomes humbled and happy.
The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004): Type of asshole: can’t be in a functional relationship with his girlfriend, but it hurts too much to be without her. Intervention: all of his memories of his girlfriend are erased so he will no longer suffer. His girlfriend had her memories erased, too. Result: he and his girlfriend cling to residual memories of where they first met, and they both atavistically go there, meet, inevitably falling in love again, then break up, in a seemingly never ending cycle in which he cannot ever remember his valuable lessons due to the nature of the intervention.
The Mask (1994): Type of asshole: in a departure from form, he plays someone who is not so much an asshole as a nebbish who won’t stand up for himself or risk confrontation. Intervention: he finds a mystical mask that gives him god-like powers, causing much hilarity and involving him in a criminal plot. Result: He wins the heart of Cameron Diaz and learns to stop being a pushover.