I Love You Phillip Morris (2009)

I Love You Phillip Morris (2010) — Once more I say the same thing I say in every review of a “based on a true story” movie: historical accuracy needs to take a backseat to good storytelling.  Steven Jay Russell is, in all likelihood, a horrible human being.  He’s a con man.  Con men, by and large, are bad people (though as with all things, there are probably exceptions).  I Love You Phillip Morris features him as the likable protagonist who does everything he does for love.  And it works.  Despite using one of the least convincing Southern accents I have ever heard, Jim Carrey makes you root for this guy.  Russell’s main claim to fame is that he has broken out of prison SEVERAL TIMES (currently he’s serving a 144-year sentence).  In the movie he does it to be near the titular Phillip Morris (Ewan McGregor).  Ewan plays Phillip with an innocent sweetness.  If you were a 40-something homosexual convict, you’d probably fall in love with him too.  The movie plays with the theme of living a lie. After a near-death experience early in the film, Russell declares he’s done living a lie and comes out of the closet (which must suck for his wife [played by Leslie Mann], though their post-divorce relationship is depicted as amicable).  The irony is that he immediately starts conning the living shit out of everyone so he’s really living an even bigger lie.  The film plays this all for dark comedy (the film is directed by Glenn Ficarra & Jon Requa, the writers of Bad Santa).  The movie is hilarious, especially when Carrey is blatantly bullshitting his way through things.  If you have a sick sense of humor, this is a pretty good flick to check out.

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