I Love You Phillip Morris (15)



Comedy (2009)
97mins Fr/US

Starring: Ewan McGregor, Rodrigo Santoro, Jim Carrey, Leslie Mann
Director: Glenn Ficarra, John Requa
Writer(s): Glenn Ficarra, John Requa
Listings: London | Rest of UK and Ireland

Police officer Stephen Russell comes out as gay to his wife and moves to Florida with boyfriend Jimmy. The cost of living fabulously is too high for Stephen and he breaks the law to finance his lavish tastes. The authorities eventually catch up with the swindler and sentence him to time in prison where he meets Phillip Morris. The attraction is instant and Stephen schemes to become his lover's cellmate.

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LondonNet Film Review
I Love You Phillip Morris

Jim Carrey delivers his best dramatic performance since Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind in this improbable and utterly incredible true story...

I Love You Phillip Morris. E1 EntertainmentBased on a novel by investigative reporter Steve McVicker, I Love You Phillip Morris charts the romance of two prison inmates and their subsequent journey of self-discovery on both sides of the bars. Writer-directors Glenn Ficarra and John Requa (Bad Santa) strike a pleasing balance between laughter and soul-searching in this oddball comedy. Crucially, Carrey generates smouldering screen chemistry with co-star Ewan McGregor, convincing us that undying love and a daredevil spirit can overcome anything. Truth is far, far stranger than Ficarra and Requa's entertaining fiction, which takes dramatic licence with dialogue and abbreviates the exploits of their white collar criminal during the 1980s and 1990s, who escaped incarceration four times and has paid a terrible price for humiliating the US prison service. The real Stephen Russell was handed a 144-year sentence and must spend 23 hours every day confined to his cell without visitors. That's no laughing matter.

When we first meet Stephen (Carrey), he is a happily married police officer with a beautiful wife, Debbie (Leslie Mann), and young daughter. However, the family man has a secret: He is gay. When he can no longer keep the secret, Stephen comes out to his wife and moves to Florida with boyfriend Jimmy (Rodrigo Santoro). The cost of living fabulously is perilously high, and Stephen breaks the law to finance his lavish tastes. The authorities eventually catch up with the swindler and sentence him to time in prison where he meets softly spoken Phillip Morris (McGregor). The attraction is instant, and Stephen schemes to become his lover's cellmate. When he finally gains parole, Stephen poses as a lawyer to get Phillip out of prison early, but once they are united on the outside, the former con man struggles to mend his ways. Phillip lands a high-profile position as chief financial officer at a large corporation, where the temptation to embezzle is irresistible. When the police invariably come knocking for their man, Phillip is distraught: "I don't care about the money," he pleads, "All I want is you. I just want us to be together."

I Love You Phillip Morris. E1 EntertainmentI Love You Phillip Morris is sweet, sexy and at times hilarious, posing the obvious dilemma: Can a gay con man go straight? Carrey keeps his usual nervous tics and funny voices in check and the rapport with McGregor, sporting a Southern accent and cropped blond hair, anchors the picture. Ficarra and Requa treat characters with affection and don't shy away from the physicality of Stephen and Phillip's relationship, creating a wonderfully odd couple. We believe in the characters and root for them, even though we know that everything Phillip says and does is for his own financial and emotional gain.

- Jo Planter


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