This week I put aside my misgivings about Jim Carrey ever being able to make me believe he is anyone other than Jim Carrey and went to see I Love You Phillip Morris. I’m not so sure that I left the cinema with my feelings for Carrey’s acting style altered at all, but the film did leave me with the warm feeling that love will win in the end. And that was odd, because in this story – which really, really did happen – it didn’t. Unless you can call a relationship with one partner confined behind bars for 23 hours a day for the rest of his life successful.
But I Love You Phillip Morris charmed because it gave natural born conman and deceiver Steven Russell the perfect goal for his talent – to protect and care for the love of his life (played by a slightly annoying Ewan McGregor). Russell’s schemes grow in deviousness and imagination, as a businessman and as a prisoner that it seems no cage can hold, and for much of the film it seems like noone will be hurt by them but himself.
One thing about Jim Carrey’s exaggerated and exhausting acting style is that it does make one accept the very physical bumps and wounds and knocks that we see Russell subject himself to. But in the latter part of the film, this behaviour does begin to have an effect on others – Phillip Morris finds himself back in a cell as a result. But then he and us, the audience, are completely duped. Or at least I was. I cannot believe now how much I was duped…
I don’t think this film falls neatly into any genre, which, to my mind, made it more successful. It made me expect the unexpected and be quite shocked by some surprises while very amused by others. The clothes (and the little dogs) were shocking – no doubt about that – right down to the prison yellows. But the Miami scenes in particular were bright treats. I also enjoyed the wife and the duped boss, who didn’t like to mention his failed space career despite his office collection of monster spacecraft.
I’m a Ewan McGregor fan and so I was surprised to like Jim Carrey more. Although maybe I like the idea of Ewan McGregor more and not all of his roles live up to my ideal. I can’t blame him for Star Wars, though, because I could think the same about everyone who appeared in the prequels. I had some serious Ewan worries today though when I heard the rumour that he may be connected with a new film account of Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson. This doesn’t sound too bad at all – it’s a great story, after all – until you learn that Madonna is directing it.
This kind of development has a habit of making the world stop spinning on its axis while you stand up and shout ‘Why???’ to the heavens as they spin into chaos. As if Angels and Demons wasn’t enough… But now it looks like this was all just that, a rumour, with Ewan’s reps quick to separate him from the W.E. project.Vera Farmiga is still rumoured to be attached, despite not having seen any of Madonna’s directorial work, and despite the film being called W.E.
Ewan is currently to be seen (or not seen) in Nanny McPhee and the Big Bang which opens in the UK today. He plays the absent husband.