Edge City, Present Day: Hot, smoggy and packed. Cityscape of towering skyscrapers stands in the haze just beyond the crowded beach. We see an industrial barge marked "Department of Sanitation." A crane's cable line disappears underwater. Underwater, scuba welders repair a cracked, scum spewing pipe. One diver hits something hard with his dredger. He unearths an ancient iron box.
Rust and barnacles partially obscure the engraved images of Norse gods and demons. The diver wedges his scuba knife under the corroded lock. Suddenly the pipeline breaks free, crushing the diver and cracking open the box. Something (seen only in rippling shadow) explodes out of the box on a cloud of bubbles and shoots toward the surface. The Mask surfaces as lightning explodes across the distant cityscape.
Edge City Bank: Stanley Ipkiss (Jim Carrey), a bright-eyed amiable young account exec, shy, luckless romantic who is regularly bullied by nearly everyone around him. Maggie (Joely Fisher), a cute young redhead now strolls by. Stanley perks up at the sight of her.
He pulls out a pair of concert tickets, announcing to her with a smile he got the tickets she wanted. She is elated. When he asks what time he should pick her up, she goes into a long story about her out of town girlfriend who is visiting and wants Stanley to get an extra ticket, but the concert is sold out.
Stanley considers the situation for a moment, then offers to give up his ticket so Maggie and her girlfriend can go. After some token hesitation, she quickly accepts his offer and compliments how nice a guy he is. Maggie hurries off to her teller's window. Charlie Schumaker (Richard Jeni), thirties, approaches Stanley, razzing him about how his gesture was pathetic.
Charlie offers to take Stanley on the perfect night on the town, a love safari, deep into the darkest heart of the urban jungle, the Coco Bongo nightclub. The hottest new club in town that allows entrance only to the creme de la creme. Stanley wonders then how are they going to get in, but Charlie says just leave everything to him. Suddenly a resounding peal of thunder rings out like the crack of doom. Sheets of rain pour down on the bank's windows. Outside, pedestrians scramble for cover in the sudden downpour.
Bank Foyer: A young woman scurries into the bank holding a newspaper over her head. She's soaking wet and pauses in the foyer to straighten herself out.
Charlie immediately notices her. Stanley follows his gaze. We see a classic cheesecake tilt-up starting with the woman's million dollar legs as she squeezes some of the water out of her skirt... up past her body, which through her damp summer clothes is undeniable proof that there is a God... up... up... to her face as that newspaper is tossed aside.
She's a heart-stopping woman/child with a Cupid's bow mouth and ice blue eyes. In other words she's trouble. Big trouble, also known as Tina Carlyle (Cameron Diaz). Charlie may as well have just seen the Virgin of Guadalupe.
Tina now enters and walks towards Stanley and Charlie, announcing she's there to open a new account. Charlie flashes his best 100 watt smile. Charlie tries to steer Tina to his desk, but she's still preoccupied with her damp clothing.
She peels off her wet blazer, creating another awe-inspiring visual moment. Charlie clutches her jacket with white knuckles. But Tina turns and sits at Stanley's desk; Charlie is stunned at his near miss, but there's not a thing he can do about it. Stanley is smitten with Tina, and she seems to reciprocate.
After introductions, Tina notices a box of Kleenex on Stanley's desk. Tina takes a tissue and daintily blots the moisture from her skin. Tina comments how his tie is like one those ink blot tests, a Rorschach test. To her, it looks like a young woman riding bareback, like a Lady Godiva. She slowly runs a finger along Stanley's tie and asks what he sees.
Stanley, mesmerized, fumbles awkwardly. He starts to get uncomfortable under her gaze. As he fiddles with his tie, he rambles on about bold colors and it's a power tie. They're supposed to make you feel powerful.
Tina carefully adjusts her shoulder bag and we see a tiny camera lens neatly concealed within it.
Tina's pointing the bag at the open bank vault that stands a short distance from Stanley's desk.
Coco Bongo nightclub: A video monitor displays the shot of the vault that Tina is broadcasting. Dorian Tyrel (Peter Greene) - a slick nouveau-mobster complete with diamond ear stud and Matsuda jacket watches the video broadcast from his inner sanctum; an eclectic post-modern playroom with an array of electronic toys and minimalist gun racks.
Tina is his singer girlfriend and he had sent her to the bank in preparation to rob it. Dorian runs the exclusive Coco Bongo and is plotting to overthrow his boss Niko (Orestes Matacena). His two gunsels, Sweet Eddy and Chun Woo are busy at the back of the room playing air-hockey. Serious firepower is visible in their shoulder holsters.
Dorian barks at them to keep the noise down, they immediately quit playing. Dorian's safe cracking expert, a black hip-hop artist named Doctor Freeze (Reginald E. Cathey) scribbles notes as he watches the screen with a practiced eye. Dorian punches a button and the image freezes. Dorian asks him for his professional opinion, which Freeze assures him he can crack the vault.
Ripley Auto Finishing: Stanley enters the grease spattered, cluttered garage and scans the area for signs of life. We can hear the sound of some less than light-fingered automotive work in progress. Stanley dings a little service bell sitting on a counter. Burt, a lumbering unshaven behemoth of a man with permanently low-slung refrigerator repairman pants, makes his way past half rebuilt car carcasses towards Stanley. Irv, a thinner version of Burt with Coke bottle glasses and a mop of greasy hair, pops up from the engine well of a vehicle.
He holds up a part to Burt, wanting to know what it is. Burt boasts it's about seven hundred bucks. They both laugh evilly as Irv slaps Burt on the arm. Burt makes his way over to Stanley, who explains he's there to pick up his Civic. Irv chimes in that the brakes drums are shot and he needs a new transmission. Stanley is floored since all he wanted was an oil change.
Burt feeds him a line of bull that he's lucky they found it now before it caused him serious trouble. Stanley is desperate to have some sort of transportation in the meantime. Burt instructs Irv to go get the "loaner."
Coco Bongo nightclub, later: The joint is jumping with musclehead bouncers picking and choosing from the crowd of terminally trendy wannabe's gathered around the entrance. A parade of swanky cars pulls up one by one as car hops scurry to keep up with the flow. And finally a broken down Clunker in rust bucket red and spackle gray rumbles up to the front of the club with a disgruntled Stanley behind the wheel. Struggling with the rusty door, Stanley throws his shoulder into it and the door finally pops open with a screech of metal.
He smiles nervously at a high class crowd looking with disdain at the eyesore-mobile. "It's a classic," he declares to the crowd. The car hop jumps in and tries to throw the car into gear with a horrible grinding. It finally moves on with sounds of backfire. Stanley sees Charlie with two young ladies and approaches. Charlie makes introductions, boasting that Stanley is "humongo" in the banking business.
Charlie is truly in his element as he elbows his way through the crowd dragging his entourage with him. Dorian now steps out of the club and begins to check bouncer's list. Charlie makes through the crush of bodies at the entry way's velvet ropes and calls to one of the two hulking bouncers that guard the door. The bouncer, Bobby, completely ignores Charlie at first and then notices Charlie discreetly flashing a wad of cash. Bobby's uncanny tip radar suddenly lights up.
Bobby unsnaps the rope for Charlie and gets the cash handshake he longs for. Stanley is facing the waiting crowd behind them, gloating. He turns to enter just as the all-important rope is snapped closed. Stanley calls to them, but Charlie and the girls have already been whisked inside. Stanley unsnaps the rope himself and starts through.
Bobby immediately grabs Stanley and subdues him. Stanley pleads that he's with Charlie's group. Dorian orders the bouncers to lose him. The bouncers drag Stanley through the crowd and unceremoniously toss him out into the rain-slick street. Stanley slowly rises, smoothing out his disheveled clothing. A car rolls by, splattering him with a wave of muddy water.
Stanley wipes the muddy water from his eyes just in time to see Tina Carlyle escorted from the back of the limo by a chauffeur. She's shoe-horned into a heart-stopping black and white striped dress that's fighting a losing battle to restrain her decolletage. Their eyes meet. Tina pauses as she recognizes him. Stanley realizes he looks ridiculous but tries to act casual. She asks if he's okay. Stanley awkwardly mutters he's doing great, never better.
With a squeal of grinding gears and black smoke, the car hop pulls Stanley's battered loaner right up behind him. Stanley flashes a last nervous smile and at first denies it's his car, but the car hop insists he has the matching ticket claim. He finally concedes, takes his anger out on the car hop and climbs in the loaner. The car rattles, coughs then finally roars off in a cloud of noxious exhaust fumes and farewell backfire.