Saturday, May 7, 2011

DVD Roundup: I love you Phillip Morris

I love you Phillip Morris is a movie I had heard so much more about it's lack of a release date than anything about the subject of the film.  And having seen it, I have trouble understanding what the fuss was about.  There are MANY more explicit sex films, and widely accepted movies about gay couples who have sex (to be fair, I can only think of 2 - Brokeback Mountain and The Kids are All Right but ILYPM wasn't breaking new ground on that front).  And, it's not overly flamboyant about being gay.  Like Brokeback and Kids, it's about the love story.  To be fair, these people aren't particularly likeable, gay or not.  But I still have trouble figuring out why anyone cared about making a fuss over its distribution.

Jim Carrey plays Steven Russell, a happy married cop who decides he's not going to pretend any more after he gets into a car accident.  So he heads to Miami, gets a boyfriend and starts living an extravagant life well beyond his means.  Eventually he gets caught for the credit card fraud, etc. and ends up in prison.  There he meets Phillip Morris (Ewan McGregor) a more soft-spoken younger gay man in jail for some other kind of fraud.  Russell is really manipulative in every aspect of life and that continues in prison - he manages to convince Morris to fall for him, but their love seems genuine.  Russell even gets them sharing a cell for a while.  When he gets out, he pretends to be a lawyer and gets Morris out.  Of course he's back to his manipulative tricks and gets a fake job and steals more money, ending back in prison, and losing Morris.  I won't explain what happens, but there was a huge con that frames the film that I totally didn't see coming, but really bookended the film well.  

Carrey isn't loveable.  He's kind of sleazy, greasy, and not particularly attractive.  Since he never seems like those things on the red-carpet promoting his movies, his acting was something new for him.  He doesn't take advantage of his ability for physical comedy, but keeps it more restrained in an aggressive way.  McGregor is much more flowery and passive than almost any of his roles.  He verges on cliche, but was still nice to watch. A good balance to Carrey's aggression.  The supporting cast is good too - Leslie Mann as his ex-wife is a funny bible beater who supports her criminal husband.  Rodrigo Santoro (the hot guy Laura Linney dates in Love, Actually) is Carrey's first boyfriend Jimmy.  Perfect casting.  While not a particularly controversial film in almost any way, it's a cute movie.  3.5 of 5 stars/lambs.

1 comment:

Tom Clift said...

I really dug this film, especially thanks to the work of McGregor and Carey (and Mann, who I thought was hilarious). You're right about the reaction to the subject matter being ridiculous - I just posted my review a few weeks ago (the film only just got a theatrical release in Australia, which is absurd) - and I got an anonymous commenter spouting on about how the movie was "sick" and "disgusting". It really is sad how so many people can be so opposed to two people being in love. Great review Jess