The first words that appear on screen in this movie state that this movie is a true story. Really, it’s a true story. Don’t forget those little words as you watch this preposterous film because the things you’re going to see on screen will truly make you believe this is a work of fiction, and not non-fiction. It’s all over the place, overtly gay, and will take you on a truly wild ride that will make you laugh, cringe, and drop your jaw to the floor.
Directors Glenn Ficarra and John Requa set out to tell the true story of a man named Steven Russell (Jim Carrey). The opening scene of this movie sets the tone for the type of comedy and I found myself laughing hard. Brought up by an adoptive family, we soon find Steven married with children in a very religious, sexually charged marriage to his wife Debbie (Leslie Mann). When I say sexually charged, I mean it. But, during one act of wild passion we surprisingly find out that Steven is gay, very gay as he puts it. This is going to set the tone for this movie.
He sets out to find his birth mother and on the way back gets into a real bad car accident. From this point on he vows never to live a lie again. He finds himself a boyfriend and moves away to Florida where his lifestyle far outweighs his means. So, what’s a man to do… Give it up? No. How about begin a life of a con man who steals money for fun and well, because he can.
Soon enough he is discovered, caught and arrested. He finds himself in prison where he soon meets Phillip Morris (Ewan McGregor). Right away there’s true passion and a connection between the two of them. They fall madly in love and the story continues.
Now here’s where giving anymore explanation of the plot would be a disservice to the reader. Since this is a true story and anyone can Wikipedia the story (remember, it is true) I will say that he begins to consecutively break out of jail and find himself conning additional people and even major corporations.
It’s really crazy the way he breaks out of each of the prisons. The real life man must be a genius of observation and reasoning. He’s just inherently flawed in that he’s never satisfied…even when he’s with the love of his life, Phillip. He just can’t get enough.
The acting in this film is really good. Carrey plays a character different from any I’ve ever seen him play before. I know there will be some gay individuals out there that think I’m harping on his sexuality, but this film harps on it more than I can even write about it. In fact, the film itself has been on the shelf for nearly two years because of concerns of just how the homosexual community would feel about it.
McGregor plays Phillip as a slightly naïve-like child. He only wants to see the good in Steven and would do anything for him. The scenes are shot well and the tone of the movie is consistent throughout.
I’ll end this review by saying that the final true method of escape is a phenomenal feat of genius. A true embarrassment to Texas and then Governor George W. Bush for sure. This movie is funny, well thought out and the way the directors handle the genius ways of escape is very well done. I don’t know about everyone but I really did love Phillip Morris.
FINAL GRADE: A–
TRR Movie Review by Bill Ayres