The Cable Guy
The Cable Guy poster
Directed by Ben Stiller
Produced by Judd Apatow
Andrew Licht
Jeffrey A. Mueller
Written by Lou Holtz Jr.

Jim Carrey
Matthew Broderick
Leslie Mann
George Segal

Cinematography Robert Brinkmann
Editing by Steven Weisberg
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
Release June 14, 1996
Running time 96 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $47 million
Gross revenue $102,825,796

The Cable Guy is a 1996 American dark comedy film, directed by Ben Stiller, and starring Jim Carrey and Matthew Broderick. It was released in North America on June 14, 1996 by Columbia Pictures.


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, and he takes Steven to the satellite dish responsible for sending out television signals. 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.

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 Chip implies he slept with Robin. 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 on hidden cameras in his apartment.

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 (with his current alias taken from My Three Sons). 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
  • Leslie Mann as Robin Harris
  • Jack Black as Rick 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'Reilly as Steven's Boss Hal
  • Amy Stiller as Steven's Secretary
  • Bob Odenkirk as Party guest

External links

Jim Carrey films

The Sex and Violence Family Hour (1983)  · Copper Mountain (1983)  · All in Good Taste (1983)  · Finders Keepers (1984)  · Once Bitten (1985)  · Peggy Sue Got Married (1986)  · The Dead Pool (1988)  · Earth Girls Are Easy (1989)  · Pink Cadillac (1989)  · High Strung (1991)  · Doing Time on Maple Drive (1992)  · Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (1994)  · The Mask (1994)  · Dumb and Dumber (1994)  · Batman Forever (1995)  · Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls (1995)  · The Cable Guy (1996)  · Liar Liar (1997)  · The Truman Show (1998)  · Simon Birch (1998)  · Man on the Moon (1999)  · Me, Myself & Irene (2000)  · Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)  · The Majestic (2001)  · Bruce Almighty (2003)  · Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)  · Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events (2004)  · Fun with Dick and Jane (2005)  · The Number 23 (2007)  · Horton Hears a Who! (2008)  · Yes Man (2008)  · I Love You Phillip Morris (2009)  · A Christmas Carol (2009)  · Under the Sea 3D (2009)  · Mr. Popper's Penguins (2011)  · The Incredible Burt Wonderstone (2013)  · Kick-Ass 2 (2013)  · Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues (2013)  · Dumb and Dumber To (2014)  ·