Dave's Rating:

4.5

Weird, obsessive, deranged love. But still love.

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.

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Comments (8)

Daniel - 12-03-2010 8:47 PM
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I'm not an uptight gay or straight but I am a HUGE Jim Carrey fan who thought this movie was weak. You can't tell that it was done by the Bad Santa guys at all...it's not even a quarter as dark. I thought Carrey was great but as far as being dark, there were a few matter of fact gay sex moments and the whole aids thing, but that's it. McGregor was not good at all and the script wasn't all that and the story was not very interesting even though it should have been. I don't think I laughed at all, even inside, and I can't remember anyone funny in the supporting cast. Carrey can't always be depended on to carry a dumb movie, should have given him more imporov.

Stefan - 12-04-2010 4:07 AM
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Dave, there's no such thing as a "gay outfit." Last I checked "outfits" aren't even sexually active. Think before you post please, perhaps using the words flamboyant or feminine would have been more appropriate.

dee - 12-04-2010 3:35 PM
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cool. I may be having a black swan & I love you phillip morris marathon tonight

Me - 12-04-2010 5:36 PM
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Hey Stefan. Who gives a Sh@#? Maybe you should think before you post.

david_kazan - 12-05-2010 1:51 PM
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Dave, what I hate most about your work is that you are such a liberal ****sucker. But I'd be no better than a Nazi if I ignored you for that reason. Keep up the witty and insightful reviews. Now I want to see this movie.

Brahnamin - 12-06-2010 6:26 PM
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@ Stefan Your outfits will be as sexually active as you allow them to be. Dropping them on the floor might be an efficient way to achieve your sexual goals, but doing so every. single. time. implies a certain lack of imagination on your part.

Robbie - 12-29-2010 12:30 AM
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I'm gay and I really want to see this. People who take life that seriously need to take a deep breath. I think Stefan makes a good point but I don't think there was anything that Dave said was done in a offensive way but you guys don't need to be so mean to him. Personal attacking really? I think you need to open that heart a bit. Attack the folks in a way that's more entertaining. Lots of sarcasm!

Jimmy - 1-16-2011 2:33 AM
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Dave, I used to like you, I still read your reviews but probably b/c it is on movies.com. Your political bias is insane in your movies reviews. to give this a 4 1/2 and not a 3 1/2 or even 4 gives me the impression that you are way to into this type of comedy. or just like things that push against any thing that is not left. I am a liberal and that is why it reallly really really annoys me. Its a freaking movie. watch it for what it is and tell the truth with no bias. I really like your reviews and have for the last few years but please stop letting your political views affect your reviews. I love jim carry and im sure a lot of people do but stop it please! just stop being political in your reviews. and stop trying to act like you

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