New Release Spotlight: I Love You Phillip Morris

I Love You Phillip Morris
Starring: Jim Carrey, Ewan McGregor, Leslie Mann, Rodrigo Santoro, Antoni Corone
Directors: Glenn Ficarra, John Requa
Lionsgate / Relativity Media
Rated R for sexual content including strong dialogue, and language

I Love You Phillip Morris is a hilarious comedy drama, punctuated by the fact that it is based on a true story. In fact, if it wasn’t based on a true story, the events that occur would come off as pretty farfetched. Jim Carrey once again proves he is one of the great actors of our time, effortlessly weaving between comedy and drama. I Love You Phillip Morris is now available on VUDU to own and rent in SD, HD, and HDX! Please note that in a rare occurrence, the movie shows up twice on the VUDU service. It is available to own in SD, HD, and HDX from Lionsgate, and in a separate entry, it is available to rent in SD, HD, and HDX from Relativity Media. Please note that both entries play the exact same movie.

In I Love You Phillip Morris, Jim Carry is Steven Jay Russell, just your average, everyday, ordinary guy. He has a great life with both a lovely wife, Debbie (Leslie Mann), and two children. However, he also lives a secret second life as a homosexual who has affairs with other men. After a tragic accident, he decides he no longer wants to live a lie and embraces his gay lifestyle. After divorcing his wife, he moves to Florida to live the life he always wanted. But he soon realizes his lifestyle is more than he can afford, and he resorts to a life of crime and being a con artist to fulfill his lavish life. Eventually, the police catch up with him and he’s sent to prison. There, he meets Phillip Morris (Ewan McGregor), and both realize they are the loves of each other lives. Steven relies on his con artist ways to make a great life for the two, even going so far as getting each other out of prison. They move in together, and Steven restarts his con ways to give Phillip everything he wants. But the police catch up with him again, and the rest of Steven and Phillips lives together become a series of con jobs and prison escapes.

The fact that Jim Carrey was ignored during the previous awards season is a downright travesty. I Love You Phillip Morris is Jim Carrey like he’s never been seen before. He takes all the things that make him a titan of comedy and balances them perfectly with moments of dramatic brilliance. Yes, he does things that would be considered stereotypically gay, but he never makes it a caricature or is disrespectful. In fact, he really just plays his character as someone who’s deeply in love and would do anything for and to be with his true love—his true love just happens to be a man. Ewan McGregor equally shines in this movie. Like Carrey, he plays gay, but not in a mocking manner. On paper, it would seem odd to cast both Carrey and McGregor in these roles, but whoever did cast them should receive high praise for casting against type and believing these two great actors could pull it off.

I Love You Phillip Morris is based on a true story, making all the outlandish scenarios all the more fun. Con artists in film have always been fun to watch despite the truly abhorrent and repugnant results that would come from their actions in real life. But for some reason, on film, this is not only accepted, it is a thrill to watch. Watching people take advantage of a system or manipulate people is for some reason fun on-screen. The end of the movie contains notes as to what happened to these real life people, fully revealing the consequences of their actions. However, I Love You Phillip Morris is no doubt enjoyable and worthy of repeat viewings. It is a film that takes risks, something that Hollywood rarely does anymore in the age of sequels and remakes. Hollywood needs to take a page from independent cinema and learn that original and quality stories do exist—they just take effort to find them.

DID YOU KNOW?

I Love You Phillip Morris was completed in 2008 and began circling the festival circuit in 2009, starting with the Sundance Film Festival. It circulated internationally throughout 2009 and 2010 but was nowhere to be found in the United States. Though the film received generally positive reviews when it premiered, the film had troubles finding distribution due to its explicit homosexual content. Many distributors were afraid to take a chance on the film. After the film was re-edited to remove some content, the film finally found a distributor in Roadside Attractions. However, then the film entered into a long legal battle concerning financial issues, further prolonging its delay. Two years after its Sundance premiere, it finally received a United States release in December 2010.