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I Love You Phillip Morris (15)

The ViewBristol Review

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Review byMatthew Turner18/03/2010

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 97 mins

Enjoyable, offbeat and inventively directed comedy-drama with a superb script and a terrific performance from Jim Carrey.

What's it all about?
Written and directed by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa (Bad Santa), I Love You Phillip Morris is based on the true story of Steven Russell (Jim Carrey), a small-town cop happily married to Debbie (Leslie Mann) but leading a secret homosexual double life until a car crash leads him to an epiphany and he decides to come out and live life to the fullest. Unfortunately, Steven quickly discovers that his flamboyant lifestyle is expensive, so he pulls a series of insurance-based con tricks and quickly winds up in jail.

However, when Steven falls in love with soft-spoken fellow inmate Phillip Morris (Ewan McGregor), his life gains a new focus and when he gets out, he poses as a lawyer and devotes himself to securing Phillip's release so that they can be together.

The Good
Jim Carrey is excellent as Steven, a role that's perfectly suited to his brand of manic intensity. His onscreen relationship with Ewan McGregor is surprisingly sweet, though McGregor's part is underwritten by comparison, leaving him only with yet another bizarre accent and a series of wide-eyed facial expressions. The supporting cast don't get much of a look in either, but Leslie Mann makes the most of her brief appearance and Antoni Corone stands out as the boss of a company that Steven bluffs his way into.

The inventive direction is extremely enjoyable throughout (aided by a terrific soundtrack) and Ficarra and Requa orchestrate some fabulous scenes, playing around with the onscreen narration (the “Oh, I forgot to mention: I'm gay” scene is laugh-out-loud funny), flashbacks (a hilarious scene involving Morris cloud-gazing as a child) and some amusing montages.

The Bad
That said, the film becomes less interesting in the middle section and slows down considerably as a result, but it rallies for an emotionally engaging climax before delivering a gut-punch of a coda that is genuinely heartbreaking.

Worth seeing?
In short, I Love You Phillip Morris is an impressively directed, enjoyably offbeat comedy-drama with a terrific performance from Jim Carrey. Recommended.

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I Love You Phillip Morris (15)
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