You might not know the name Tom Shadyac by heart, but you certainly know his movies. Throughout the ‘90s and into the early ‘00s, his slate of films went from comedy blockbusters to intriguing/feel-good dramas. Now, he's on the verge of releasing his most serious film yet, the true life story BRIAN BANKS. We’d like to take a look at Shadyac’s career and how it’s evolved in almost three decades worth of films.
Shadyac broke onto the Hollywood scene with his directorial debut, the Jim Carrey-fronted comedy ACE VENTURA: PET DETECTIVE. Minting himself and his star as newfound hit makers, the two would collaborate twice more with LIAR LIAR and BRUCE ALMIGHTY, in 1997 and 2003, respectively. Add Eddie Murphy’s remake of THE NUTTY PROFESSOR to the mix in 1996, and you’ve got a pattern of films that killed at the box office and racked up the outtakes for the blooper reel.
But even as early as LIAR LIAR, and definitely with 1998’s PATCH ADAMS, one could sense that Tom Shadyac had started to change up his projects, in the respect that there was a warmer humanity behind the comedy. BRUCE ALMIGHTY would mark a turning point in that sort of humor, as its message of kindness would align with some lifestyle changes the director would make in the wake of traumatic head injuries that left him recovering while thinking about life itself.
A documentary in 2011 entitled I AM saw him pursuing some of the answers to life’s greatest philosophical questions, and ultimately, Shadyac would go from living in a mansion with loads of worldly possessions to selling pretty much everything he had, donating the money to charitable causes, and moving into a trailer park — all of it on his own volition.
You can see why Tom Shadyac would attach himself to a project like BRIAN BANKS, as the film’s story of a football player (Aldis Hodge) wrongfully convicted of sexual assault and his eventual exoneration is an uplifting tale that brings a more mindful purpose to light at the movies. While there’s certainly no shortage of biopics, the altruistic angle that Shadyac has taken with even some of his most successful blockbusters looks to shine in this story of redemption through the justice system.
BRIAN BANKS hits theatres on August 9, so be sure to catch it at your local AMC theatre.