The outrageous Bobby and Peter Farrelly have followed up their box-office smash There's Something About Mary with another over-the-top romantic comedy. It deals with a quiet and polite fellow who suddenly finds that the stifled, angry, and aggressive wild man within him has come to the surface. Or as the best-selling author Robert Fulghum has put it, "There's quite a crowd in here with us. A child and its parents. A wise old person. A mechanic, demons, a fool, . . . a Romeo, censor, police officer, . . . I can fully relate to the occasional stories in the tabloid about multiple personalities." Yes, so can we all, and that is what makes this zany comedy so primal.

Charlie Bailygates (Jim Carrey) is a Rhode Island state trooper who has married his high school sweetheart. Much to his shock, she has an affair with a black midget limo driver (Tony Cox), who has a high IQ just like she does. Charlie watches them walk away leaving him with African American triplet sons to raise on his own. Of course, he is the laughing stock of the town. And everyone takes advantage of his kindness and generosity.

After years of accepting all this dissing, Charlie produces an alter ego — Hank. He is a vulgar fellow who picks fights, enjoys humiliating others, and has an insatiable libido. His boss, Colonel Partington (Robert Forster), has Charlie examined, and he is diagnosed with "advanced delusionary schizophrenia with involuntary narcissistic rage." He is ordered to take drugs to keep "Hank" under control.

However, the war within him really breaks out when Charlie is assigned to escort Irene (Renee Zellweger) to upstate New York where federal investigators want to learn more about her connection to her ex-boss, who was involved in fraud and embezzlement. When Charlie leaves behind his medication one day, Hank comes out with a vengeance. Ironically, the frightened Irene, who slowly draws closer to the mild-mannered Charlie, relies upon the combative Hank when her ex-boss and his associates close in. The message is clear: when the going gets tough, you need the tough guy. Too bad we have so few role models in the movies for the heroism of gentle and peace-loving individuals.

Me, Myself and Irene is a hoot from start to finish. And the funniest performances are put in by Anthony Anderson, Mongo Brownlee, and Jerod Mixon as Charlie's street-talking, genius, tech-savvy, Ivy League-bound sons who show their loyalty to him at the critical moment.