Sunday, December 05, 2010

I Love You Phillip Morris. Along with the pleasure of seeing Jim Carrey have sex with men, this is best seen as a big gay parody of Catch Me If You Can. The gag, at least initially, is that Carrey -- who has an authenticity fetish that manifests in compulsive fraud -- gives everyone what they want and expect, and they go for it, and for a while it's every bit as compelling as Spielberg's version while being totally, self-evidently bogus. The reduction of prison brutality to cheap yuks, and of Carrey's courtship of Ewan McGregor to something like Carry On Prison Queers, made me hope they'd go all the way with this subversive strategy into uncharted territory.

Alas, no: Big-movie sentimentality comes in hard. Once he's got a good, relatively straight gig and life with McGregor, Carrey gets offended by how "boring" his colleagues are (that one of them restates his joke as one about "a nigger and a jew" is the cheesy underliner that's meant to help us buy it) and goes balls-out with his shenanigans, leading to new incarceration. This gives him a new reason to want to get out -- love for his partner -- and for un-good measure the filmmakers give us an even cheesier underliner in a flashback involving Carrey's AIDS-afflicted ex-partner.

Then we get the strings and star-affliction and it all goes to shit. The final scam is supposed to be impressive, and gives Carrey some Oscar-worthy acting hacks. I feel sorry for the real person Carrey plays, Steven Russell (to whose fate we are alerted in supers), and it would be nice if this movie gave some attention to his sad case. But either the ending is a failure of nerve, or the movie should have been much, much sadder.

No comments:

Post a Comment