Who's In It: Jim Carrey, Ewan McGregor, Leslie Mann
The Basics: Jim Carrey plays Steven Russell, a happily married church organist, Texas police and closeted gay. When a car accident nearly claims his life, he emerges from it resolved to live his life as he pleased. So he divorces his wife, turns con man and dives headfirst into an extravagant, expensive, flamboyant, Versace-clad existence that also features embezzlement and other white collar crimes. Then he winds up in prison, falls in love with another inmate named Phillip Morris (Ewan McGregor) and spends the next several years breaking out of various penitentiaries, all in the name of crazy obsessive love. Weirdest part: it's all totally true.
What's The Deal: It was time someone took the tragedy, doom and empathy that bathed Brokeback Mountain in its golden Oscar light and karate-chopped it right in the groin. And after an extremely long wait for its release, this is the movie that accomplishes that task. It somehow takes a charmingly insane gay sociopath and convinces you that his logic is perfectly reasonable and that he should be able to roam freely, steal from everyone he thinks is too stupid to handle their own money and wear ridiculous gay outfits while holding on tightly to Ewan McGregor. A more daring, strange movie American movie about a happily anti-heroic career criminal hasn't come along all year. Think of it as what would happen if the guy from Bronson was also the guy from Liar Liar.
Where It Comes From:John Requa and Glenn Ficarra, the guys who wrote Bad Santa, (adapted from the book by Houston Chronicle reporter Steve McVickers) so that should give you an indication as to what sort of jagged-edge comedy this movie delivers. It dares to assert all love is ridiculous and borderline insane while championing that as the very reason it should exist. Russell himself will probably never get to see the film because he's currently serving multiple life sentences in solitary confinement. That's how tightly locked down they have to keep this fascinatingly disturbed guy, or he'll just vanish through the walls like a magician.
How To Be A Movie Star: You have to hand it to Jim Carrey. He could take the easy paycheck time after time in bland movie after bland movie, but he keeps on running down these weird roads and that's where he winds up doing his best work. So add this one to The Cable Guy, Man on the Moon and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, the oddities that prove he's more than Ace Ventura. Tom Cruise should be taking notes.
Who'll Hate It: Gay people who are uptight about being presented as anything besides good, decent citizens and straight people who are uptight about gay stuff. Both groups should just stay home and watch Wheel of Fortune or whatever it is you do with your boring lives.