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I Love You Phillip Morris

A 2009 romantic comedy-drama film directed by Glen Ficarra.

< read all 7 reviews

Sweet, funny, and well-acted film crafted by superb craftsman.

  • May 1, 2011
***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. There are moments of pure delight, sorrow, and enjoyment to be found in this little movie, if you find the material that these filmmakers are working with to be interesting. If you do not, and chances are you won't complain too much, then "I Love You Phillip Morris" is not for you.

Writer/directors Glenn Ficarra and John Requa adapted the script from a true story, which was literally the tale of a man who turned gay, and turned into a con-man to pay for his expensive life-style. Went to jail, fell in love; will do anything to stay with that man whom he fancies.

However, the story has its turning points. The con-man, Steven Russell, and his lover, Phillip Morris, are not quite on the same level of knowledge. Phillip does not know of Steven's "other life", as a con-man and an artist of theft, and Steven keeps these secrets hidden deep down for a while. The film advertises the story as being one that is "so incredible, it could only be true". Well, I'll be damned; this thing works.

These are talented writers and filmmakers working here. Ficarra and Requa directed and wrote this adaptation using their past writing knowledge, yet this is their first directorial outing. I do hope that it's not their last, because this film is full of filmmaking and screenwriting energy. It works on so many levels, that I find very little to complain about. Oh, and if you must know, Ficarra and Requa wrote "Bad Santa". They also wrote "Cats and Dogs". I guess they have multiple (writing) personalities.

I do enjoy Jim Carrey when he's not over-the-top goofy and looking for a big fat wad of cash to appear on his desk. He's not a "money-grabbing actor", so to speak, and he's had his share of goodness. Steven Russell is his best character role since Joel from "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind". Jim Carrey nails the role and wrestles its challenge to the very end. Then there is the always delightful Ewen McGregor, who delivers just the right amount of sentimentality and sweetness into his role. He does not simply add these ingredients; he injects them.

This film is a strong recommendation because it is funny, smart, and knows what it's doing and where it will be heading. Here is another film that proves a good amount of our suspicions, about Jim Carrey, to be wrong. I wouldn't be in the minority when I suspect that Jim Carrey would rudely satirize the gay male in such a role, although what he does here is make us laugh, and make us sympathize, without exploiting the character in a crass, rude, or crude way. It's quite admirable, and respectable, actually. These films should by all means be made, although few are quite like this one. I recommend it to just about anyone reading. It has good intentions, good spirit, and good humor scattered throughout its often deceptive frames. It's all done in the name of love.

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May 02, 2011
Great review, I was wondering about this flick, I like the actors but the trailer made it seem like it was going to be goofy.
May 01, 2011
Yup, great review! excellent observations on the characters, writing and the performances. Welcome back, Ryan!!
May 01, 2011
I went somewhere? Where did I go? WHERE AM I BACK FROM?
May 01, 2011
you were almost MIA last week...I say almost. glad you're better now and back to reviewing....sorry if you didn't like that comment, it was just a small effort trying to make everyone feel that they belong...
More I Love You Phillip Morris reviews
review by . May 06, 2011
One of the best rolls I've seen Jim Carey in by far!!!!
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 …
review by . January 17, 2011
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, …
review by . March 16, 2011
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 …
review by . December 08, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
“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 …
review by . April 23, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
I Don't Love You, Phillip Morris
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 …
Quick Tip by . May 31, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
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.
About the reviewer
Ryan J. Marshall ()
Ranked #11
It's very likely that the only kind of reviews I'll ever post here are movie reviews. I'm very passionate about film; and at this point, it pretty much controls my life. Film gives us a purpose; … 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.
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Movies, Drama Movies, Comedy Movies, Jim Carrey, Ewan Mcgregor, Jim Carrey Movies, I Love You Phillip Morris, Glen Ficarra


Director: Glen Ficarra
Genre: Drama
Release Date: Dec. 3, 2010
MPAA Rating: R
Screen Writer: John Requa
Studio: Freestyle Releasing
First to Review

"A Conman Finds His Soul Mate"
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