I LOVE YOU PHILILP MORRIS Written and Directed by John Requa and Glenn Ficarra Starring Jim Carrey, Ewan McGregor and Leslie Mann
Phillip Morris: Enough romance. Let’s fuck.
I suppose it is fitting that a movie about a man who never quite grasps who he truly is should suffer from the same issues. I LOVE YOU PHILLIP MORRIS is a rather ridiculous account of the life of Steven Jay Russell, an American con man with an uncanny ability to break out of prisons. On one of his fateful visits to the big house, he met the love of his life, Phillip Morris, and proceeded to break them both out of prison so that they could live happily ever after. His story has it all, from dangerous escapes to fraudulent scams to even gay prison sex but yet somehow, in the hands of writing/directing team, John Requa and Glenn Ficarra (CATS & DOGS), his life amounts to nothing more than a big old boring mess.
Russell was adopted as a baby. He grew up to become a police officer in a small town. He married and had children. He felt abandoned but aside from that gaping hole in his heart, he was content. He was at least until one day, when he got into an automobile accident and decided he had enough of living a lie. It was time for Russell to live as an out and proud homosexual. He divorced, moved to Miami and got himself a cute, younger boyfriend and, if you are to believe the incredibly tacky clichéd picture the directors paint, he also got too matching miniature dogs to parade up and down the street with said younger, cuter boyfriend. There was just one tiny problem; being gay is expensive and Russell had no skills that could afford him the lavish lifestyle he and his boy toy had grown accustomed to.
This is when Russell turned to insurance fraud. It is also the point where the film starts to get thoroughly lost. Russell is played by Jim Carrey, who is the first person who comes to my mind when I picture believable gay men strutting down Miami Beach in white cargos and a T-shirt that is two sizes too small. I guess the costume people wanted to make sure there was no confusion over his sexuality, just in case it wasn’t coming through in the performance. I personally think Carrey doesn’t get the credit he deserves for some of his dramatic turns but the trouble here is he can’t seem to decide whether this particular turn is meant to be dramatic or comedic. I’m sure he had no assistance from his directors mind you. There are some genuine attempts at touching moments in the film and Carrey handles them as well as he can but then the next scene will rely solely on Carrey’s humorous side, only without the actual humour.
And what of Phillip Morris? I mean, he is in the title and all. Phillip Morris is another minor offender doing time, played by Ewan McGregor, who is as swishy as he can be with his pretty blue eyes and horrifically dyed strawberry blond hair. The twosome meet in a library one day and it is love at first sight. Well, they stare longingly into each other’s eyes for no reason other than the fact that they are gay and standing next to each other so naturally I assume this is the great love it is meant to be. Once together, I LOVE YOU PHILLIP MORRIS doesn’t seem to know what to do with them or itself. Is it a comedy or a serious romance? Is this really the treatment of someone’s life story? Because if it is, it plays as though it were completely made up or implausible. More importantly, is the intended audience meant to be gay or straight? It shouldn’t matter but there are moments when it isn’t clear whether the filmmakers are laughing with or at their heroes. To that extent though, I guess it doesn’t matter who the audience is meant to be as I don’t see there being much of an audience for this film at all.
Thanks for reading. LUNCH rating is out of 10.
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I loved this movie mainly because I love to watch movies based on real people and facts. I’m a nerd, so I always watch the special features and I like to read up on the real people to see how much the movie differs from the real facts and surprisingly, they didn’t change much. This movie stars Jim Carey as Steven Russell, a cop living in Georgia, who after a life-changing event realizes he’s gay and begins to live his life that way. He is a married man with a child, so instead … more
***1/2 out of **** What makes "I Love You Phillip Morris" a special 2010 release is not its nigh consistent sense of humor, not only the taut performances, and not only the smart script; but also the heart that this film has, and it's bigger than that of most movies I've seen recently. Few movies have hearts at all, which doesn't surprise me, because money-grabbing cinema cannot have a heart, much less should it be called "cinema". Anyways, I must get back to this review. … more
Some have suggested that Jim Carrey is poorly cast in the role of Steven Russell, the con artist whose story is told in I LOVE YOU, PHILLIP MORRIS. It's been said that his performances are too glossy, too on-the-surface for us to believe him as lovestruck and will to do everything and anything for that love. I believe he is IDEALLY cast because of that. It's true that Carrey is not a classically trained actor...he is just very good at faking emotion (lots of actors do that, … more
I was interested in this seeing as I love Jim Carrey and I like Ewan MacGregor. Plus, its based on a true story and it is a love story about gay men, which isn't done really in Hollywood seeing as homosexuality is a rather touchy subject. Anyway, I saw it and I absolutely adored it. It's funny as expected, but not in a gut-busting laugh out loud sort of way. It's also surprisingly emotionally powerful and a true love story, one that isn't explored much in Hollywood. I mean think … more
“I Love You Philip Morris” tells the real life story of Steven Jay Russell, who in 1998 received an unprecedented 144-year prison sentence for fraud, conning, impersonating, and multiple escapes from Houston’s Harris County Jail. The film shows us sequences that seem utterly impossible, but in fact actually happened, which only goes to show that truth really is stranger than fiction. No, I will not describe them to you. Enjoying the film depends on the audience’s reaction … more
What a trippy movie. I love that it's filmed as Steven Russell's state of mind, where everything is tranquil, rationalized and all rainbows despite all the trouble and harm that he caused, and the severity of his crimes. I can't think of a better actor for this role than Jim Carey. Totally convincing.
Hello Lunchers. I am a thirty-something guy making his way in Toronto. I am a banker by day and a film critic the rest of the time. Sensitive, sharp and sarcastic are just a few words that start with … more
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The story begins with Russell, played by Jim Carrey, on his deathbed recalling the events of his life that led him there. He begins with his life in Texas as a happily married police officer who plays the organ at church, prays every night with his wife (Leslie Mann) and spends his off hours searching for the biological mother who gave him up as a child. That, and hes gay. But after finding and being handily rejected by the mother who gave him up as a baby, Steven leaves his life and family behind to go out into the world and be his true, flamboyantly gay self. He moves to Miami, finds a boyfriend (Rodrigo Santoro) and begins living the high life. He realizes quickly though, that a life of luxury is expensive, leading this resourceful former cop to turn to a life as a conman. But when his con work finally catches up with him, Steven is sent to prison where he meets, and almost instantly falls in love with Phillip Morris, played by Ewan McGregor. From there the story becomes a Don Quixote-esque story of a forlorn lover who cannot bear to be separated from his soul-mate. He will go to any lengths to be with Phillip, including but not limited to breaking out of jail on multiple occasions, impersonating Phillips lawyer and fraudulently becoming the CFO of a major corporation.