The Cable Guy
|The Cable Guy|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Ben Stiller|
|Produced by||Judd Apatow
Jeffrey A. Mueller
|Written by||Lou Holtz Jr.|
|Music by||John Ottman|
|Editing by||Steven Weisberg|
|Distributed by||Columbia Pictures|
|Release date(s)||June 14, 1996|
|Running time||96 minutes|
After a failed marriage proposal to his girlfriend Robin Harris (Leslie Mann), Steven M. Kovacs (Matthew Broderick) moves into his own apartment after they agree to spend some time apart. Enthusiastic cable guy Ernie "Chip" Douglas (Jim Carrey), an eccentric man with a lisp, installs his cable. Taking advice from his friend Rick (Jack Black), Steven bribes Chip to give him free movie channels, to which Chip agrees. Before he leaves, Chip gets Steven to hang out with him the next day and makes him one of his "preferred customers".
As promised, Chip arrives the next day, where he takes Steven to the satellite dish responsible for sending out television. Steven tells his problems with Robin to Chip, who tells him to admit his faults to Robin and invite her over to watch Sleepless in Seattle, which is running on HBO the next night. Steven takes Chip's advice, and Robin agrees to watch the movie with him. The next day, Chip begins acting more suspicious, "running into" Steven and his friends at the gym and leaving 10 messages on Steven's answering machine. When Robin arrives to watch the movie, the cable is out, thanks to Chip, who intentionally sabotaged Steven's cable when he didn't call Chip back. Chip fixes the cable under the condition that they hang out again. Steven agrees.
The next evening, Chip takes Steven to Medieval Times, where Chip arranges for them to battle in the arena, referencing the Star Trek episode "Amok Time". Chip behaves aggressively, nearly killing Steven, who eventually bests him in combat. Afterwards, Chip congratulates Steven, who decides the experience was fun. When they arrive at Steven's home, Chip reveals that he's installed an expensive home theater system in his living room. Chip and Steven later host a party, complete with a karaoke sing-off. With Chip's help, Steven sleeps with a woman named Heather, while Chip serenades the party by singing Jefferson Airplane's "Somebody to Love". The next morning Chip reveals that Heather is a prostitute. Furious, Steven throws Chip out. Chip tells Steven he will make things better.
Chip tracks down Robin, who is on a date with another man (Owen Wilson). When the man goes to the bathroom, Chip beats him up and tells him to stay away from Robin. He later upgrades Robin's cable, saying that it's on Steven. Robin decides to get back together with Steven as a result. Steven tells Chip that they cannot be friends, which hurts Chip. Chip then begins a series of vengeful acts. He gets Steven arrested for possession of stolen property (the home theater system), although Steven is released on bail. Steven is later fired from his job when Chip sends out a video of Steven insulting his boss to the entire office that was recorded by hidden cameras in his apartment.
During a dinner with his family and Robin, Steven is horrified to see Chip is in attendance as well. Steven tells him to leave, but Chip tells him to play along or he will show everyone the picture of him with the prostitute. The evening goes from bad to worse as Chip gets on well with Steven's family and leads everyone in a game of "porno password". Steven finally punches Chip when he implies he slept with Robin.
Rick later tells Steven that Chip has been fired from the cable company for stalking customers, and uses the names of television characters as aliases. Chip calls Steven that night, telling him he's paying Robin a visit. Steven tracks them down to the satellite dish, where Chip holds Robin hostage. After a physical altercation and a chase, Steven gets the upper hand and is able to save Robin. As the police arrive, Chip goes into a long speech on how he was raised by television ("I learned the facts of life by watching The Facts of Life!") and apologizes to Steven for being a bad friend. He then dives into the satellite dish, which knocks out the cable across the entire town, just as the verdict in a highly publicized case involving a famous child star is about to be revealed. The following scene shows a man (Kyle Gass) turning off his television and picking up a book, noticeably intrigued.
Chip survives the fall, but injures his back. As Steven and Robin reunite, Steven forgives Chip and asks for his real name. Chip jokingly replies "Ricky Ricardo". Chip is later taken to the hospital in a helicopter. When one of the paramedics addresses him as "buddy", Chip asks the paramedic if he is truly his buddy, to which the paramedic replies, "Sure," causing Chip to smile deviously just before the credits roll.
- Jim Carrey as Ernie "Chip" Douglas / Larry Tate / Ricky Ricardo (Credited as "Cable Guy")
- Matthew Broderick as Steven M. Kovacs (original script shows the last name as Bartowsky)
- Leslie Mann as Robin Harris
- Jack Black as Rick (no last name given, though the original script lists it as Legatos)
- George Segal as Mr. Kovacs
- Diane Baker as Mrs. Kovacs
- Ben Stiller as Sam Sweet/Stan Sweet
- Eric Roberts as Himself
- Owen Wilson as Robin's date
- Charles Napier as Police Officer
- Janeane Garofalo as Medieval Times Waitress
- David Cross as Sales Manager
- Andy Dick as Medieval Times Host
- Harry O'Reily as Steven's Boss Hal
- Amy Stiller as Steven's Secretary
- Bob Odenkirk as Party guest
Critical response 
The Cable Guy is regarded as having a darker tone than most of Carrey's previous work. Audiences had mixed reactions to this change of tone for Carrey and film critics gave mixed reviews. Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a score of 54% based on 56 reviews.
The film was on J. Hoberman's Top 10 best of the year. Roger Ebert included The Cable Guy in his worst of the year list for 1996, though colleague Gene Siskel disagreed.
Box office 
The film grossed $19,806,226 on its opening weekend. It grossed a total $60,240,295 in the North American domestic market, and $42,585,501 outside the U.S, making a total of $102,825,796 worldwide gross. Despite the critic perception that the movie was a flop, it made a profit in excess of its $47 million production budget. It has gained cult-like status among movie-goers.
Awards and nominations 
1997 MTV Movie Awards
- Best Comic Performance - Jim Carrey (Won)
- Best Villain - Jim Carrey (Won)
- Best Fight - Jim Carrey vs. Matthew Broderick (Nominated)
1997 Kid's Choice Awards
- Favorite Movie Actor - Jim Carrey (Won)
Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
|Soundtrack album by Various Artists|
|Released||May 21, 1996|
The Cable Guy: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack is the official soundtrack. It consists of previously unreleased songs, largely of alternative rock and heavy metal bands, and includes the first solo recording by Jerry Cantrell of Alice in Chains fame. The soundtrack includes Jim Carrey's version of Jefferson Airplane's "Somebody to Love" which was performed by him in the film. It also includes a song from $10,000 Gold Chain, a side project of Pearl Jam lead guitarist Mike McCready. However, it does not include White Zombie's "More Human than Human", which is featured in a dramatic scene of the film.
Cantrell's "Leave Me Alone" served as the soundtrack's promotional vehicle and had a music video. This featured various footage from Cable Guy in a dark manner typical of Cantrell's style. It also had Jim Carrey's haunting face reaching out of a television screen at the observing Cantrell. While the album as a whole was not well received, Stephen Thomas Erlewine of Allmusic noted that "Leave Me Alone" positively "rocks as hard as any Alice in Chains track."
The track "Standing Outside a Broken Phone Booth with Money in My Hand" gained popularity for its appearance in the film and reached #1 on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks in 1996.
Track listing 
- "I'll Juice You Up" – Jim Carrey
- "Leave Me Alone" – Jerry Cantrell
- "Standing Outside a Broken Phone Booth with Money in My Hand" – Primitive Radio Gods
- "Blind" – Silverchair
- "Oh! Sweet Nuthin'" (The Velvet Underground cover) – $10,000 Gold Chain
- "End of the World is Coming" – David Hilder
- "Satellite of Love" – Porno for Pyros
- "Get Outta My Head" – Cracker
- "Somebody to Love" – Jim Carrey
- "The Last Assassin" – Cypress Hill
- "This Is" – Ruby
- "Hey Man, Nice Shot" (Promo-Only Remix) – Filter
- "Unattractive" – Toadies
- "Download" – Expanding Man
- "This Concludes Our Broadcast Day" – John Ottman
Chart positions 
|1996||"Leave Me Alone"||Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks||14|
Popular culture 
On an episode of The Simpsons ("Guess Who's Coming to Criticize Dinner?"), Bart notices The Cable Guy script on the wall at Planet Hollywood, and dialogue is as follows: Bart, "There's that awful script from The Cable Guy." Homer, "Let me see that. (tears up the script) Stupid script! Nearly wrecked Jim Carrey's career!"
In addition, a line in the 1999 Blessid Union of Souls song "Hey Leonardo (She Likes Me for Me)" references the film and critiques Carrey's performance in the line "I make her laugh just like Jim Carrey, unlike The Cable Guy".
The fight sequence at Medieval Times between Chip (Jim Carrey) and Steven (Matthew Broderick) is a homage to the Star Trek (original series) episode Amok Time - including the use of Vulcan weapons (Lirpa), the dialogue, and the background music. Director Ben Stiller is an admitted Star Trek fan.
A scene of The Ren & Stimpy Show appears when Chip is cooking breakfast. A Marvel heroes comic, Spider-Man, was also mentioned by Jim Carrey. When Steven jumped through the ladder, the cable guy said, "Nice jump, Spider-Man!!!"
Chip (Jim Carrey) mentions that the satellite dish scene near the end of the movie is reminiscent of the James Bond movie GoldenEye. "It's like that movie GoldenEye."
- "The Cable Guy (1996)". Box office mojo. IMDB. 1996-08-30. Retrieved 2012-03-12.
- "The Cable Guy". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved 2012-03-12.
- "The Cable Guy - Original Soundtrack". Allmusic.
- The Cable Guy: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack Amazon.com. Retrieved March 24, 2008.
- "''Entertainment Weekly'' interview with Ben Stiller". Ew.com. Retrieved 2012-03-12.
- "Hey, Leonardo (She Likes Me For Me)". songfacts. Retrieved 2011-07-05.
- "''Cable Guy'' trivia". Whosdatedwho.com. Retrieved 2012-03-12.
- Star Trek 30th Anniversary Special, October 6, 1996
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: The Cable Guy|
- The Cable Guy at the Internet Movie Database
- The Cable Guy at AllRovi
- The Cable Guy at Box Office Mojo
- The Cable Guy at Rotten Tomatoes