I Love You Phillip Morris (Blu-ray)
Let me start by saying Jim Carrey and Ewan McGregor’s I LOVE YOU PHILLIP MORRIS is not for everybody, including me. I think it will take a special viewer to appreciate this shockingly true dark comedy based on the book “I Love You Phillip Morris: A True Story of Life, Love and Prison Breaks”. Despite this movie not being my cup of tea, directors Glenn Ficarra and John Requa (BAD SANTA) did an excellent job putting together a story that follows Steven Russell (Jim Carrey), the now infamous con man, throughout most of his adult life.
We first meet Steven through a voiceover sequence where he informs us that this story really happened. It really did. We see young Steven learn he is adopted then transition to adult Steven who married, has a daughter, became a police officer and active member in his church…oh yeah, he’s also secretly gay. After a life changing car wreck, he decides to leave his wife and daughter, head to Miami and establish his lifestyle as a flamboyant gay man all while pulling cons and stealing money to afford his new way of life. Eventually his cons catch up to him and he ends up in prison where he meets gullible blonde haired, blue eyed Phillip Morris (Ewan McGregor).
From the moment the viewer meets Phillip, the majority of the film feels like an ode to Phillip and Steven’s relentless passion for the man he loves. From pulling cons to getting out of prison, to helping Phillip get released early we see tender and sweet moments as well as shamefully funny scenes making it hard to fathom that this is a true story and not the work of Hollywood.
Jim Carrey’s performance in this film is impressive to say the least. He has perfected his over the top acting to be utilized for appropriate sequences while really developing his emotional range for the times that call for something more subdued. Ewan McGregor is the perfect counterpart to Carrey. There is a sweetness and vulnerability to him that makes you want to protect and care for him just as Russell wanted to care for Morris. With each time McGregor’s character realizes he’s been conned you see so much pain and sadness in his expression. Top notch acting in my book. Leslie Mann as Debbie, Steven Russell’s wife, is a wonderful casting choice. She comes across as sweet, innocent, naïve, and forever optimistic about her ex-husband and the life choices he makes. I love the moment when Steven has located his birth mother and shares the information with Debbie and her reaction is to bake cookies. Debbie sure knows how to celebrate.
It is hard not to get behind a film that has great acting performances, wonderful direction and creativity where the audience is conned almost as much as the people in Steven’s life but the story just wasn’t for me. I wonder if this was not a real story but the work of Hollywood if I would feel differently? Knowing this man really did these things just did not sit well with me.
Video: (1.78:1) Sharp and clear picture – perfect for all the jail breaks.
Audio: (5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio) Great sound for all the crazy dialogue.
Commentary with Writers/Directors John Requa and Glenn Ficarra, Producers Andrew Lazar and Far Shariat, Chief Lighting Technician Max Pomerleau, and Director of Photography Xavier Perez Grobet: A typical commentary that is more entertaining than usual with so many people chiming in with various stories and facts about assorted scenes.
Making of I Love You Phillip Morris (11:52): Interviews with Rodrigo Santoro, Jim Carrey, Leslie Mann, and Ewan McGregor all discussing the crazy true story of Steven Russell.
Deleted Scenes (16:47): Seven deleted scenes. Good choice by directors to cut all from the film. Not really worth watching.
Red Band Internet Trailer
Green Band Theatrical Trailer
Red Band Theatrical Trailers