I Love You Phillip Morris is a one-of-a-kind film that really lets loose on just about everything. Whether it is about relationships, cons, frauds, homosexuality, or love, this movie does not shy away from any of it. And the fact that this stuff really happened makes it that much wilder. No matter how unbelievable Phillip Morris gets, it is a love story unlike any other, and it is able to laugh at it all.
Jim Carrey plays Steven Russell, a married man who is a part of the police force, but after being in a car wreck, his life is shaken up and he starts to live as the man he has been this entire time. He becomes open about being gay and starts living an extravagant lifestyle and soon it becomes too expensive. So Russell becomes a con-man and ends up in prison. And in there, he meets Phillip Morris (Ewan McGregor), a soft-spoken, terrified gay man.
From that moment on, Steven tries everything he can to free Morris from prison so they can finally live happily ever after. They want to build the perfect life together, but every successful con or fraud puts both of them in danger and the risk of being sent back to prison and never getting out again. Steven is doing it out of love, but the more he tries to do, the more he gets in to trouble and begins to lose Phillip’s trust and love.
Never did I think I would see Jim Carrey and Ewan McGregor play homosexual men who meet in prison and fall in love. Both actors play their roles to the fullest, knowing full well it is one big joke all the way through. The movie has some emotional parts, but for most of the running time, it knows better than to take itself too seriously. That is part of the fun while you watch it.
McGregor plays Phillip Morris as a gentle, sensitive guy who has trouble finding love and holding on to it. But when he meets Steven Russel, he feels safe and protected. But as the lies come out, Morris is not so sure about the life he lives and the guy he lives it with. McGregor is having fun in this role and he takes a risk by really putting everything out there on the table. But with all that said, no one took more of a risk and put more heart in to a character than Carrey.
Never have you seen Jim Carrey like this. He goes from one end of the spectrum to the other. There are times when his character is in a dark, tragic place. But just like that, we see glimpses of the old Carrey we all know and love. He is able to find that perfect balance between the two and his talent and dedication shines through.
And finding that balance in I Love You Phillip Morris and being able to control it is the precise thing that makes this movie entertaining and unforgettable. Directors Glenn Ficarra and John Requa never let the movie go in one straight direction. There are a lot of twists and turns along the way. It is not confined in to just one genre. It can be funny and odd while being heartfelt and emotional.
A movie like this with characters such as Russell and Morris are rare. Then the fact that it’s a true story is the cherry on top. And witnessing one of the best performances by Jim Carrey by far is a good way to kick off the 2011 movie year.
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