What would you do for love? In I Love You Phillip Morris, Jim Carrey shows what he'd do, even if one could argue his actions are more out of obsession than love. Also starring Ewan McGregor as the title character (yes, it is about the gays), the comedy-drama unfortunately never completely gels.
Jim Carrey stars as Steven Russell, a happily married, churchgoing man who, after a car accident, realizes that he has to stop living a lie and tell his wife that he is of the gays. To fund his now expensive lifestyle (being flaming is expensive, apparently), he becomes a conman, which eventually puts him in prison.
There, he meets young and innocent Phillip Morris (McGregor) and quickly falls deeply and madly in love with him. Or obsessed, if you want my psychoanalytical opinion [note: author is not a psychiatrist, psychologist or psychoanalyst, if that is such a thing. He has met with several such people throughout his lifetime, however].
Despite its flaws, I Love You, Phillip Morris is the perfect vehicle for Jim Carrey. It takes advantage of his crazy persona while still remaining a drama/romance at its heart. The movie is zany at times, but it's a zany movie.
Unfortunately, writing/directing team John Requa and Glenn Ficarra haven't made a perfect movie. Far from it, actually.
The biggest problem is that it isn't clear what the movie is supposed to be. If it's intended to be a heartfelt romance, it isn't. If it's supposed to be a drama, it's too goofy and colorful to be taken seriously. And though it has some hilarious moments, it isn't funny enough to be a straight-out comedy.
The result is a mildly entertaining movie that holds your attention, if only a little. Carrey's actions become tiring after a while because the directors never establish the chemistry between Steven and Phillip. Steven's devotion to Phillip seems more like he wants to hold onto a prize he can use than a person he loves, which makes it hard to relate to his actions.
I Love You Phillip Morris has its moments and by and large should be commended for its boldness, but the movie lacks cohesiveness. Some will love it, others won't, but most will find it simply tolerable.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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