Thursday 24 Jul
 
 

Escape from Tomorrow

With Escape from Tomorrow, one fears the story behind the movie would loom larger than the movie itself. Luckily, that is not the case. After all, it opens with a decapitation on Disney World’s Big Thunder Mountain Railroad roller coaster.
05/06/2014 | Comments 0

Sorcerer

William Friedkin spends a lot of time in his 2013 memoir discussing why Sorcerer didn't click with critics and audiences even though he believes it to be better than his previous film, The Exorcist. Now that Warner Home Video has reissued Sorcerer on Blu-ray, we can see what Friedkin's fuss is all about.
04/23/2014 | Comments 0

Broadchurch: The Complete First Season

Welcome to the coastal resort of Broadchurch, population … oh, who can keep track, what will all the corpses? Yes, Broadchurch is yet another British television procedural involving the search for a murderer in a quaint little town, just like the limited series The Fall and Top of the Lake.
04/23/2014 | Comments 0

Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones

Essentially part five in the ridiculously profitable horror franchise, Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones continues the found-footage conceit of the other films. The difference is instead of the scares taking place in rich white suburbia, they do so in a junky apartment complex on a largely Latino side of Oxnard, Calif.
04/23/2014 | Comments 0

Holy Ghost People

Holy Ghost People examines two sisters whose bond is torn — but by what? After her sibling has been missing for more than a year, Charlotte (Emma Greenwell, TV's Shameless) intends to find out.
04/15/2014 | Comments 0
Home · Articles · Movies · Drama · I Love You Phillip Morris
Drama
 

I Love You Phillip Morris


Those prone to admiring Jim Carrey may like ‘I Love You Phillip Morris,’ a crime story too good to be true ... yet it is.

Rod Lott January 26th, 2011

During one of his multitudinous incarcerations in Texas, slick con man Steven Russell (Jim Carrey, “A Christmas Carol”) meets a pointless little felon named Phillip Morris (Ewan McGregor, “The Ghost Writer”) who instantly becomes the love of his life.

Phillip was born on Friday the 13th, which Steven declares is his lucky day. It is. Over a five-year period, Russell escaped from Texas prisons four times, each one on that date. Sounds too unlikely to be true, right? Little do you know. This film is adapted by directors Glenn Ficarra and John Requa, co-authors of “Bad Santa,” from a biography of Russell by Steven McVickers.

Steven began his adult life with a cop’s badge on his chest and a determination to be the best man he could be. He abuses his investigative power as a police officer and tracks down his birth mother, only to be rejected by her. Something snaps and his life’s secret — he’s gay — becomes his defining characteristic. He leaves his “praise Jesus” wife (Leslie Mann, “Funny People”), runs off, hooks up with Jimmy (Rodrigo Santoro, “Post Grad”), and life becomes a bowl of Judy Garland CDs.

With one problem: In order to give Jimmy a life of leisure, Steven has to become a con artist. While good for his bank account, it’s lousy for his ability to stay out of jail. After Jimmy dies of AIDS, Steven lands in the House of Bars, where he meets the aforementioned Phillip Morris and falls head over heels.

The two lovers are separated when Steven gets out, but he then pretends to be a lawyer and pulls off an early release for Phillip. On the outside, Russell once again falls into a life of chicanery so he can provide his loved one with the gewgaws of good living. The scam artist is so good at what he does, so convincing at becoming other people, he talks his way into becoming the CFO of a large company and finding a way to skim some cream. And then it’s back to prison.

He’s good, slipping only occasionally into his mannerisms.

The film’s last prison break is mind-bogglingly complicated, the setup taking nearly a year to perfect, but it’s all true.

Whether or not you have any sympathy for Russell depends almost entirely on your degree of affection for Carrey as a performer. He’s good in the role, slipping only occasionally into the mannerisms his detractors dislike so much, but slip he does, and every time it happens, you’re reminded that you’re watching Jim Carrey and not Steven Russell.

McGregor, a much finer actor, gets lost in Phillip Morris. So good is he, I wished the role had been better written — not by the writers, but by fate. Phillip is a limp rag of a man, at the mercy of anyone more aggressive. He’s a delicate flower pressed between the pages of the book of life.

Be warned that the first section of the film is gay sex-heavy. This is not a movie for children, maiden aunts or, according to Ricky Gervais, sensitive Scientologists.

 
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