You might think a movie starring Jim Carrey and Ewan McGregor would be a big draw in theaters, but I LOVE YOU PHILLIP MORRIS has been sitting on a shelf for two years, and right now it's only showing in art houses. In Hawaii that means Kahala Mall.
Chances are you've never seen anything like I LOVE YOU PHILIP MORRIS," a wild and crazy romantic comedy. (One critic calls it a "hilarious tragedy.") The story is based on the real life of a flamboyant gay con artist and his sweet, gullible boyfriend.
Carrey pulls out all the stops playing this lying, love struck nutcase who will do anything to be with the man of his dreams. His amazing performance is the main reason to see the film.
Carrey plays Steven Russell who begins adult life as the husband of a very religious woman. But after nearly dying in a car accident, he comes out out of the closet.
His wife: "You're what?"
Steven: "I'm gay. Gay, gay, gay, gay, gay."
Soon Steven moves to Florida, hooks up with a handsome partner, and settles into a lavish lifestyle he can't afford.
"It didn't take me long to realize being gay is really expensive," he tells the audience in a voice over, "so I became a con man."
Sales Woman: "Cash or charge?"
"Credit card fraud," he confides in voice over. "I was selling bad tomatoes, anything to make a buck."
When his wheeler dealer crimes land him in prison Steven meets Ewan Mcgregor as Phillip Morris. He's instantly smitten.
Lying on a prison bunk together, they hear screaming.
Phillip: "That's the screecher next door. I don't get any sleep ever."
Next we see shots of a man getting punched to the ground.
Phillip: "Did you pay to have the screecher beat up?
Phillip: "That is the most romantic thing anyone ever did for me."
You can see the comedy is very broad and trucks in stereotypes that may offend gays and straights alike. Yet it's hard not to root for a character who's brash enough to pretend he's a lawyer with a court ordered release for his new love.
And it's fun to watch him con the fat cats of the world.
Employer: "I called all your references and they cannot speak more highly of you."
Cut to: Steven making the phone call to the employer: "I cannot speak more highly about Steven Russell."
The crazy story goes on a bit too long and the tone becomes almost maudlin at the end. But if you appreciate totally irreverent humor and the irrepressible Jim Carrey, you'll probably enjoy I LOVE YOU PHILLIP MORRIS.