movie trailer (apple.com - quicktime)
The movie begins as we see movie writer Peter Appleton (Jim Carrey) sitting in a writers meeting getting frustrated as the producers and director keep suggesting changes to his script. We next see Jim at a movie theater with his B-movie starlet girlfriend watching a movie that he wrote and she costarred in.
Life seems to be going pretty well for him until he is approached by the head of the studios telling him that he has been subpoenaed to testify at the House Un-American Activities Committee. Seems that back in college he attended a left-wing meeting, only to try to win the heart of a girl that brought him along. He is being blacklisted unless he gives names of others communists that he may know.
He doesn't want to, mostly because he doesn't know of any and besides, he was just trying to impress a girl. He goes to his local bar, has a bit to drink and heads up the coast highway to figure things out.
Along the way while crossing a bridge, an animal runs out in the road and he swerves to avoid it and almost crashes off the bridges. He sits there on the bridge trying to regain his senses as half of his car is over the edge of the bridge. As he tries to back up the car slides and ends up falling off the bridge into the water below. He makes it out of the car but the fast moving river smacks him into the base of the bridge knocking him out.
He wakes up the next morning on an ocean beach with amnesia and James Whitmore standing over him. Whitmore thinks he looks familiar and brings him into town to get some food and medical help. While getting food at the cafe the Doc comes in, looks at him and brings him to his clinic to treat his wounds.
Also in the cafe is Harry Trimble (Martin Landau). He sees Carrey and the Doc leaving and knows immediately that it is his son Luke who was MIA in W.W.II 10 years earlier. This Mayberry like town lost many of their young men to the war and even have an area in the cemetery devoted to these men.
One by one the whole town comes to see Luke. Carrey doesn't know what to think. Harry shows Carrey pictures of Luke and they are identical. He meets Luke's old girlfriend Adele (Laurie Holden) and they are attracted to one another again. She is studying for the state bar to become a lawyer. Harry is so happy he goes to the gravesite memorial and takes off Luke's medal of honor and gives it to Carrey.
They have a huge party for him at the beach and his old music teacher asks him to play a classical piece on the piano for everyone since years ago he was great. He stumbles through a few notes and is really embarrassing himself when suddenly he breaks out into a fantastic jazz piece and the whole town is dancing. Life is going great.
Harry Trimble is also the owner of the old Majestic Theater. He closed it down years ago when after losing so many townspeople to the war, no one really felt like going to movies anymore. Now that Luke is back, he plans to reopen it. He brings back his old staff, fixes the place up and finally Carrey is feeling comfortable with calling Harry "Dad." Carrey is the cashier, the movie business is thriving once again and Carrey and Adele are in love.
Back in Hollywood, everyone is wondering what happened to Carrey. The FBI is convinced he's a communist; because why else would he run and hide. They send out men to look for him.
One night while showing a movie, Carrey suddenly starts mouthing the dialog from the movie he's showing. It's the same one we saw in the beginning with his girlfriend. All his memory comes back and he realizes that he's not Luke after all, he's really Peter Appleton.
The movie breaks and when he goes up to the booth to investigate he finds his Harry on the floor having a massive heart attack. On his deathbed Carrey almost tells him the truth but instead lets Harry die thinking he has his son by his side.
The next day he breaks the news to Adele and she is pretty pissed. She never really thought he could be Luke but her heart kept telling her it was. Suddenly a dozen or so big black cars pull into town and arrest Carrey in front of the whole town. Along with the FBI agents is the studio lawyer who is also a friend of Carreys. The town has now turned their back on Carrey and are just plain disgusted in him. The lawyer convinces the FBI that Carrey will be on the morning train to LA for the hearings and they can leave him in his custody. He tells Carrey that all they want is for him say he is no longer involved in the communist party and to read a list of names that they have prepared for him of people who are.
The next morning Carrey goes to Luke's gravesite to give back the medal but Adele is there waiting for him. She tells him that he doesn't have to lie and the Constitution protects him of this. She gives him a small package for him to open on the train.
He opens it and sees that it is a small copy of the constitution.
He gets to court with the studio lawyers and hundreds of reporters are there also. He is really getting torn apart by the prosecutor and finally gets to read his statement. Just as he's about to read it, he pauses and looks at his lawyers who just want him to read it and get on with life.
He can't though. With Adele and the whole town watching on TV's in their barber shops, stores and bars, Carrey explains that he only went to the meeting to be with a girl he was trying to impress. The fact is, he is a very shallow man and would never have the convictions to stand up for a cause. He went on to say how this trial and this America is not what people went to war and died for. He only wished he could be the type of American that Luke Trimble was. He fought and died for the America that would protect him from what was happening there today. He went on and on about what a great person Luke culminating in holding up Luke's medal of honor. The prosecutor finally stopped the proceedings as everyone in attendance was cheering Carrey on. He left the courtroom a hero. To save face, the FBI decided that the fact he mentioned the girls name that he went to the meeting with years earlier would do for them and he was free.
On TV he was asked what he was going to do and he said that he just wanted to get back to the small town and ask Adele a question.
When he arrived he was a little nervous since he left the town in an uproar. As the train turned the corner to town he was shocked as he saw the entire town with banners and balloons and marching band welcoming him "home." Adele is there waiting for him and they embrace.
The next scene is a few years later and on the mantle where Luke's photos were, are now replaced by pictures of a now married Adele and Carrey with their kids. The final photo we see is Carrey and Harry happily standing in front of the Majestic.
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