Monday, 29 March 2010

I Love You Phillip Morris - Cineworld - 29/3/10

When "Brokeback Mountain" was released a few years ago the world nearly came to an end. A film about two men who fall in love and who struggle to deal with that fact in a world that is hateful and hostile. It was a beautiful, delicate and tender love story given life by a director, Ang Lee, who knows how to create beauty on the screen. That wasn't how the American audience saw it, or at least a vocal portion of it, they hailed it as proof positive that we were in the last days and that the world was coming to an end. It was wicked, evil and destructive. Oh dear.

Fast forward and we see "I Love You Phillip Morris" enter the public domain without any broo-ha-ha at all. It treads similar ground to "Brokeback Mountain" with a tale of two men falling in love and battling to stay together. It features constant references to homosexuality, sex acts and HIV/AIDS. Why then was there no controversy here?

Well, the difference, as I see it, is that this film is a comedy (although I didn't laugh a lot) and the only thing sure to make the fundamentalist Christian community throw down their pitchforks and torches is to make the "gays" funny. As long as we can laugh at them and their "disgusting" and "unnatural" behavior then that's OK.

Curiouser and curiouser.

The story here is, apparently, a true one and plays like a gay "Catch Me If You Can". Jim Carey plays Steven Russell a happily married husband and a father. He plays piano at his local Church and is member of the police force too. A near fatal car crash prompts him to come clean to his wife and confess that he is gay. Freed from the restraints of his false life he embarks on a new life with his boyfriend Jimmy. Unfortunately Steven can't afford the lifestyle that accompanies his new life and he becomes a con man until he is caught and imprisoned.

In prison Steven meets Phillip Morris (Ewan McGregor) and falls head over heels in love with him. When the two are released Steven returns to his former ways and it isn't long before they are both back behind bars as a result. Phillip is angry with Steven for his lying and the fact he is back in prison and refuses to have any contact with him which forces Steven to carry out the most improbable and dangerous con of his career.

It's all a bit "meh" to be honest. It's not particularly funny, it isn't shocking (which I think it wants to be) and it doesn't really have anything to say. McGregor and Carey are both fine but no more than that although you get the feeling that Carey thinks this is Oscar winning form from him. Your life won't be any the poorer for missing this, which is a shame because the story is intriguing and played "straight" could have made for a terrific film.

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