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The Cable Guy (1996)

PG-13 | | Comedy, Drama, Thriller | 14 June 1996 (USA)
2:35 | Trailer
A lonely and mentally disturbed cable guy raised on television just wants a new friend, but his target, a designer, rejects him, with bad consequences.


Ben Stiller


Lou Holtz Jr.
4,480 ( 181)
3 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Jim Carrey ... The Cable Guy
Matthew Broderick ... Steven M. Kovacs
Leslie Mann ... Robin Harris
Jack Black ... Rick
George Segal ... Steven's Father
Diane Baker ... Steven's Mother
Ben Stiller ... Sam Sweet / Stan Sweet
Eric Roberts ... Eric Roberts
Janeane Garofalo ... Medieval Times Waitress
Andy Dick ... Medieval Times Host
Harry O'Reilly Harry O'Reilly ... Steven's Boss
David Cross ... Sales Manager
Amy Stiller ... Steven's Secretary
Owen Wilson ... Robin's Date
Keith Gibbs Keith Gibbs ... Basketball Player


Steven Kovak has been kicked out of his apartment by his girlfriend. Steven has a new apartment, and decides to slip the cable guy (Chip) $50 for free cable. Steven then fakes an interest in Chip's line of work. However Chip takes this to heart trying to become Steven's best bud. When Steven no longer wants to be Chips friend the man who can do it all goes on an all out assault to ruin Steven's life. In the backdrop is the delicate sub-plot of the trial of a former kid star for murdering his brother. Written by Wayne Jamieson <jamtin@OntheNet.com.au>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


There's No Such Thing as Free Cable See more »


Comedy | Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for dark thematic elements and crude humor | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »


Official Sites:

Official Facebook




English | French

Release Date:

14 June 1996 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Cable Guy See more »

Filming Locations:

Buena Park, California, USA See more »


Box Office


$47,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$19,806,226, 16 June 1996

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

SDDS (8 channels)| Dolby Digital | DTS | Dolby | SDDS


Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


There are many clues that foreshadow that Chip Douglas the cable guy is not an actual Cable Guy, showing up four hours late to install Stevens cable and calling him a "Jerkoff", and touching his wall as if it was a woman while making moaning and orgasmic noises. Giving customers free cable and installation for friendship instead of cash, (an actual cable install man would have removed the cable hook-up and report the customer to the cable company if they didn't pay) even saying, "The common call goes to me I'm a perfectionist!", his clothes are even labeled 'Cable Co' without a specific branded name like Atlantic Broadband or Time Warner, he even gives Steven his personal beeper number stating, "Here is my beeper number, it's only for my preferred customer don't call the cable company, they'll put you on hold." See more »


At the karaoke party, Chip sings "Somebody to Love" by Jefferson Airplane, which he says was featured in Gimme Shelter, the documentary about The Rolling Stones concert at Altamont. Jefferson Airplane plays "The Other Side of This Life" in the movie, not "Somebody to Love." See more »


Steven Kovacs: [using Cable Guy's advice to Robin] I don't listen to you. I pretend to understand, but I'm really just saying the things that I think you want to hear. And I'm interested in learning about every detail of the complicated splendor that is you.
Robin Harris: Oh.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The Columbia logo at the beginning of the movie segues into static from Steven's cable TV. See more »

Alternate Versions

In order to qualify for a 12 certificate, all UK versions of this film were cut by 4 seconds to remove some imitable violence. The cut occurs towards the end, when Jim Carrey and Matthew Broderick are fighting on top of the TV satellite. A shot of Carrey headbutting Broderick has been removed as well as a brief ear-clap. The cuts were waived in July 2017, and the uncut version appears on the film's Blu-ray release. See more »


Spoofs Psycho (1960) See more »


End of the World Is Coming
Produced by Jim Mitchell
Written and Performed by David Hilder
Courtesy of Record Haven
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

"Somebody Has To Kill The Babysitter"
14 May 2019 | by PCT1970See all my reviews

This viewer was elated this film recently dropped on Hulu and I was able to enjoy revisiting it. This film first came out to mixed reviews. In this viewer's opinion it was partly due to fans of Jim Carrey seeing him portray a role somewhat outside his normal bonkers and looney characters. This is Stiller's second feature film and his best dramedy aside from, "Tropic Thunder" in my opinion. Stiller helms a considerable dramedy / thriller penned by Apatow and Holtz Jr. This film includes an all star comedic cast including Black, Wilson, Garofalo, Odenkirk, Cross, Mann and Segal. At the time of the film's release, many of these stars were at the beginning of their careers. It is Carrey and Broderick that command the screen. This film has exceptional direction, screenplay, cinematography, settings, soundtrack and acting. The plot revolves around a lonely certifiable cable guy, Chip and a naïve conventional man, Steven. Steven moves into his own apartment after a failed marriage proposal to his girlfriend Robin. There he meets Chip who he tries to bribe for free cable. Chip obliges and Steven becomes a "preferred customer". This is when their friendship begins however their definition of friendship varies drastically. Chip takes Steven down a trip on the information superhighway. On top of a giant satellite dish the two bond somewhat and Chip becomes Steven's relationship advisor. Chip successfully rekindles the relationship between Steven and Robin. While this is happening Steven has been distancing himself from Chip as he finds him to be a bit obnoxious and Machiavellian. Chip is constantly committing unbalanced and disturbing acts. Chip forces Steven to continue to their friendship by threatening to jeopardize Steven's and Robin's romance. After one final act that Steven considers vile he severs his friendship with Chip. Now Steven will learn the real power of free cable and Chip's slew of "preferred customers". Chip begins to deconstruct Steven's life by making Robin question Steven's intentions, causing havoc with his boss in the workplace, driving a wedge between his friend Rick, manipulating his family and ultimately landing him in jail. Upon Steven's release he uncovers the truth about Chip with the help of Rick. Chip was raised by a television set and is basically insane. Steven desperately tries to expose Chip for the lunatic that he is. This results in a showdown between Chip, Steven and Robin on top of the satellite. The plot is clever, insightful, vivacious, bombastic, crisp, outlandish, zany and has a cathartic ending. There are many hilarious scenes in this film. This viewer's favorite is when Chip suggest that Steven, Robin and his family play porno password. It is uproarious. There is also sidesplitting dialogue. During a pickup basketball game Chip says, "Let's see what you got white shadow". The main theme of the movie was sort of ahead of it's time. It's about society living vicariously through television, technology and social media. In the end Chip sums up the film as he's dangling above the satellite by saying to Steven, "Don't you understand Steven? Somebody has to kill the babysitter". Throughout the film we see a CourtTV case involving Hollywood twins that results in murder which is symbolic of the world's enthrallment with the Menendez brothers trial. In one of the last scenes we see all of the televisions connected to the satellite go fuzzy as the verdict is about to be read. All the viewer's have a bewildered look on their face however one man leans over and picks up a book. Imagine that? This film is a fun filled wonderful commentary on technology and is a splendid film in it's genre.

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