Dominic Ambrose Blogblot

of words: narrative, film and non-fiction

I Love You, Phillip Morris! But Middle America may hate you.

Will America hate I Love you, Phillip Morris? It premiered at Sundance in January, 2009.

Then nothing. An opening at Cannes, an LA screening in July.

Then, – (crickets, crickets).

More than one year later, it had it’s commercial premiere at the Cinémathèque Française in Paris, (the film was produced by the French production company, Europa Corp.). Jim Carrey, Ewan McGregor and director Glenn Ficara were in attendance, and the film went on to screens in Paris and elsewhere in Europe. But what’s the hold up in the US? Distributors. At Sundance and for months afterwards, Europa was unable to find a U.S. distributor for it. It was finally picked up by Consolidated Pictures Group. This independent company is a very small distributor for a film with A list talent, and it is possible that they are having difficulty getting it into cinemas. Is it really so hard to sell a movie starring Carrey and McGregor, or have they suddenly become box office poison… or is it… No, could it be that the film is just a tad too in your face for the multiplexes of ‘burbia? The marketing strategy seems to reflect a certain uneasiness about this oddball comedy. There have been several trailers created, and in one of them, you can barely tell that the Jim Carrey character is gay at all. The movie poster is decided closeted (see above).

Jim Carrey’s character is as brash and over the top as so many of his previous incarnations, this is Cable Guy and Ace Ventura material, but with a twist: something more complex, and something extremely Gay.

The billboard at Cannes. Something tells me they won't be using this image in Peoria.

That is, GAY with all the feathers. If Carrey’s comedic schtick is not usually to your taste, the idea may make you gringe, but Carrey pulls it off with consummate skill. He is not the Philip Morris of the title, however, That is Ewan McGregor, the object of Steven Russell’s (Jim Carrey) affection, and felonious obsession. The story is ragged and rambling, but the two stars, Carrey and McGregor have such great chemistry that they keep the audience with them throughout the 100 minutes of sometimes predictable mayhem. Even with its plot flaws, it was fascinating and fun. One of the truly wonderful results of the exponential growth of gay literature and filmmaking in recent years is the corresponding expansion of the terrain of human experience that are now being explored. Carrey blazes a trail with this character, (based on a real person named McVicker) and makes an unforgettable addition to the comedic rogue’s gallery that is our cinematic culture.

For a review in Digital Spy, click here.

So, what givcs, America? Are you going to show the film or what?


March 21, 2010 - Posted by | cinema | , ,

1 Comment »

  1. Hi Dominic,

    I confess that since I read your review I wanted to watch the movie and see what’s the fuzz about it, and maybe write a review in a project for my blog about four summer “movie reviews”. I have already started with “Kick Ass”.

    I think I nailed the problem: as a love story, it works super, both actors did it great, even if it is somewhat disgusting how Steven Russel spends his live by literally and figuratively screwing people. As Seinfeld said: “Not that there’s anything wrong with that…(being gay)”, but the con man stuff is something else. And that’s not the problem of the movie, and as a matter of fact it handles the gay romance topic as good as Brokeback Mountain, if not better (IMHO).

    The real problem of the movie is… the “Bush did it” stuff. Obama is in his second year of his term, and the “I blame Bush” game is getting a little old, even if he had a responsibility with the life sentencing of the real-life Steven Russell.

    I don’t know how to say it differently, but the film gets damaged for good when it gets in the activist mode in the very last minutes.

    But as I said, good movie anyway. And deserves to be watched several times.


    Dr. sipmac

    P.S. I liked your review, too.

    Comment by Dr. sipmac | June 25, 2010 | Reply

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