Gay. Gay, gay, gay, gay, gay. That’s how Jim Carrey’s character Steven Russell describes himself in I Love You Phillip Morris, the long delayed romantic dramedy from Bad Santa writers Glenn Ficarra and John Requa. Based on the real life story of Steven Russell, a Georgia born conman and multiple prison escapee, the film tracks the unlikely romance between Russell and his cellmate Phillip Morris (Ewan McGregor), the man who Russell would eventually break out of prison no less than four times in attempts to be reunited with. A rare American film not afraid to offer a frank depiction of a homosexual relationship, the movie had a difficult post production that included significant re-editing and trouble finding wide distribution. The belief that the film, featuring two big Hollywood stars, might be “too gay” for mainstream audiences kept it from reaching Australian cinemas for almost two years, but now that the movie has finally arrived it proves itself well worth the wait. Both a sensational comedy and a surprisingly affecting love story, I Love You Phillip Morris is an unmissable film that will entertain and move viewers gay and straight alike.
With plenty of great laughs for those with dark or dirty senses of humour, the first act of the film whisks breezily over Stevens’ childhood, marriage, self-outing and early days as a conman and then a prison inmate. A devout Christian until a near fatal car accident causes him to re-assess his life, the film uses Steven to make fun of both middle-American conservatism and liberal gay culture, without ever being mean or judgmental towards either side. Most of the films more explicit gay content is played for comedy, but never in a way that is homophobic (a la the more successful I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, amongst many others). I Love You Phillip Morris also reminds us of the natural comedic talents of the much maligned Jim Carrey. His performance is by no means a revelation – people who hate his normal goofy-faced shtick won’t be won over by this film – but this is some of the best material Carrey has worked with in over a decade, and his work in the film reflects it. Lesley Mann is also hilarious in her small role as Russell’s ex-wife, supportive of her former husband’s new lifestyle in spite of her Christian beliefs.
» Read the rest of the entry..