Tuesday, 9 March 2010

I love you Phillip Morris: Jim and Ewan's Big Gay Adventure

I'm expecting a lot of walk-outs from this movie. Not because it's a bad film, but simply because I think a lot of the local gumbies will bumble their way into the theatre with little-to-no idea of the content of the film other than "it had Jim Carrey falling over in the trailer, you like when he does that, don't you?".

This is a gay-romantic-black-comedy-crime-caper, and I think when the "gayness" is revealed - in a deliberately in-your-face moment (not literally) in the first reel - some people's delicate sensibilities may be offended. The pop-corn jockeys on the front desk may have to start saying "This film contains bumming" before they tear the tickets.

We meet Carrey as a seemingly happily-married man, living a fairly ordinary existence with Judd Apatow's Missus; but, after a car crash, he decides he has lived a lie for too long, comes out of the closet and leaves his family for a new life with The God-King Xerxes in Miami or somewhere.

The high cost of living his extravagant new lifestyle leads him to take up insurance fraud to pay the bills, which leads to prison and a meet-cute with Ewan McGregor as the titular object of his affections.

As a long-term Carrey fan, I was interested to see him juggle the old-school pratfalling tomfoolery with genuine human emotion and drama; and this film mostly delivers on both fronts. Carrey's cons are carried out with physical dexterity and amusing vocalisations, whilst his star-crossed romance with McGregor is generally as genuinely sweet and optimistic as McGregor's performance, even when tempered with the film's knowing black-comedy.

This is the story of a man who doesn't know who he is and never seems to learn from his mistakes, presented in a refreshingly caustic manner. When an over-dose suicide attempt is pretty much played for laughs, you are in dark territory indeed; but the generally playful and wry tone makes the harder edges a little smoother and more palatable.

Zippily paced, but lacking a lot of momentum or actual narrative direction, Phillip Morris is an amusing, but slight diversion featuring likable turns from both leads and a refreshingly un-sensationalised and non-judgemental outlook on homosexuality. The film isn't about being gay, it's about a man who thrives on deceit; becoming more and more unhinged whilst trying to provide a "dream life" for his obliviously trusting partner.

Some people's enjoyment of this film may, however, ultimately come down to whether or not they can stomach the sight of Carrey reprising the "Would you like for me to take your pants off instead?" scene from "Ace Ventura", but instead of a buxom wench; it's Obi Wan Kenobi ducking out of the frame.

But come on, fellas; how many of us could honestly say that, after being locked in a cell with Ewan McGregor for an extended period of time, we wouldn't be at least a little "curious"? It's the ginger-jock Jedi Mind-Trick. Don't try to fight it.


  1. Great review! I can't wait to see this film! That line about Obi Wan going down on Carrey is classic, I laughed my ass off. And yes, I can more than stomach it, I eagerly anticipate it.

  2. I'm so looking forward to this! Love both Ewan and Jim! Really great review!

  3. Stephanie: Cheers! Sounds like you'll appreciate this film.

    Tina: Thanks! Hope you get to see it soon.

    Cheers for comments!