"You said you loved me"
Steven Russell (Carrey) was the perfect Christian, a loving husband, a doting father and a pillar of the community but after surviving a near fatal car accident, he realises that he is living for everyone else and its time to change. Leaving his wife and daughter, resigning from the police force and moving to Miami, Steven announces to the world that he is a homosexual and starts a relationship with Jimmy (Santoro). He soon realises that the gay lifestyle in Florida is an expensive one and the only way he can keep up his standard of living is to become a conman. One con after another soon sees him in jail but this could have been fate because inside he meets the love of his life, Phillip Morris (McGregor).
When it comes to talking about the career of Jim Carrey, you have two very different sides to his acting but ‘I Love You Phillip Morris’ allows him to combine the two.
Jim Carrey’s career has shown two distinct sides to his acting prowess. First we have the manic, rubber faced comedic persona, which he used to hilarious effect in hits like ‘Dumb & Dumber’, ‘Ace Ventura: Pet Detective’, ‘Liar, Liar’, ‘Bruce Almighty’, ‘Me, Myself and Irene’, ‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas’ and ‘Yes Man’. Secondly we have the serious persona, the one that allows him to show how good an actor he can be or how he can miss the mark completely. When engaging in this persona we get marvelous film and performances in hits like ‘The Trueman Show’ and ‘Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind’ but we also have to endure ‘The Number 23’ and ‘The Majestic’. It is when he combines these two acting personas however, when we see the true potential of Jim Carrey as an actor. While his performance in ‘The Cable Guy’ allowed him to show a darker side, it is the biopic covering the life of the late, great Andy Kaufman ‘Man on the Moon’, that really shows what Jim Carrey can do and ‘I Love You Phillip Morris’ gives him that chance again.
Based on a the life of a convicted con-artist named Steven Jay Russell and the book by Steven McVicker, the movie follows Steven’s journey from a happily married Christian police officer to a gay man, who loved the Miami gay lifestyle so much he had to steal and con money from people and companies to keep himself in the manner he had become quickly accustomed to. Of course, this was bound to lead to his arrest and incarceration but that was the best thing that every happened to Steven, as it was there that he would meet the love of his life, Phillip Morris. The problem was that Phillip was coming to the end of his sentence and Steven could let him go, so he set about planning on how to escape.
The role of Steven Jay Russell gives Jim Carrey the chance to showcase what he can bring to a film as a performer. This is a man who is extravagant, over the top, convincing but also emotional, sincere and loving when he was with his beloved Phillip. This is a man driven by love and the will to be with the man he loves, whatever the cost. Because of the nature of the character and the homosexual subject matter, this was always going to be a controversial role for the actor but it is one that Carrey throws himself into and shows how good an actor he can be. As the object of Steven’s affections, Ewan McGregor is no stranger to taking on riskier roles and homosexual characters. As ever, McGregor portrays the role with great gusto but he struggles again with an American accent, making you wonder where in the US Phillip Morris actually comes from. There is also good support from Leslie Mann as Steven’s long-suffering wife Debbie and Rodrigo Santoro as Steven’s first love Jimmy Kemple.
‘I Love You Phillip Morris’ is a showcase for Jim Carrey’s comedic and dramatic acting skills. Based on the life of an intriguing individual, this is a story of how far someone would go to be with the person they loves, even if it means breaking the law, a lot. Funny, touching and well acted, this might be seen as a gay, high concept, romantic comedy but it is also a very good film.
The making of
Cast and crew interviews
Usher Home | Hush, Hush... | The
Big Story | The Usher Speaks
@ Home | Coming Soon | Links | Contact the Usher