Wednesday, December 15, 2010

I Love You Phillip Morris

There are usually two main reasons why a film gets stuck in post-production, pre-release hell: the studio doesn't know how to market it, and it is just flat out bad.

I Love You Phillip Morris meets both criteria. I first saw this at Sundance nearly two years ago, and the time away hasn't made it any better. 

Jim Carrey, somewhere between Ace Ventura and Truman Burbank, plays real life hustler Steven Russell, a con man who hides his homosexuality from his wife before meeting the love of his life (played aimlessly by Ewan McGregor) during one of his many prison stints.

Russell is all lies. He steals, cheats, wrecks cars, flees the feds, recklessly spends money; all in the name of love.

It's an amusing premise, executed to utter disaster by first time directors Glenn Ficarra and John Requa. I Love You Phillip Morris may indeed be a true story, but the film plays out like a gay bastard stepchild of Catch Me If You Can, which is to say it's toneless, meandering, and seemingly lost in its first 10 minutes.

Too bad. Carrey seems to be into it, going all bent-wrist flaunt, even though McGregor appears to be phoning his role in. Look, I like Jim Carrey, but the fact is, he stretched far to deliver his excellent work in Eternal Sunshine, and since then, he's tried his hand at a number of other genres, failing each time.

I have no love for this Phillip Morris (which I'll slap with a D). No matter, seeing how it leaves your head the minute you leave the theatre.

Now, on to something else, and forgive me for getting a little graphic for those squeamish. 

In college I wrote an argumentative essay examining the absurdity surrounding the fact that Brokeback Mountain was being picketed and banned and despised for showing one 17 second, fully clothed love scene between two men. So now, five years later, why do we hear no dust-up about other film and television shows that contain far more explicit scenes? (Male scenes, that is. No one ever bitches about seeing two women hook up.)

Take an early scene in I Love You Phillip Morris, in which a very sweaty, very naked Jim Carrey nails some random dude from behind while his partner screams repeatedly for Carrey to "come in his ass."

Doesn't this offend the homophobes more than Heath Ledger spitting into his hand? I just don't get it. Maybe because Brokeback Mountain is actually a good film? Does that make a difference? I suppose there is no rhyme to the reason of those judgmental, uneducated few. 


  1. Do you think this is funny? Watch this. A gay romainian singer. Over the top direction.

    1. What the hell was that? Was that a serious video?

    2. What are your favorite music videos?

    3. Man, I haven't seen a music video in years. I honestly can't even think of one that I love off the top of my head. Paul Thomas Anderson made some good ones with Fiona Apple. Feist's 1 2 3 4 is a lot of fun, because it's all in one shot.

  2. The real Phillip Morris said: "Ewan's portrayal of me is just magnificent. He has my mannerisms, my voice down. Just the fact that he came to Arkansas and spent time with me, studied me, I was just so impressed. I can't tell him enough how honored and flattered I am - his portrayal of me is right on."

    1. And that's all well and good. But the movie is still meh.