Wednesday, September 7, 2011

I Love You Philip Morris

This is one of those movies where the phrase "don't judge a book by its cover" really applies since the trailers I saw truly buried the lead. The trailers would have you believe that this is a movie about a zany, prison love affair between the characters portrayed by Jim Carrey and Ewan McGregor, and yes, that is a large part of the film. What the movie is really about is the life of Stephen Jay Russell, a confidence man in the vein of Frank Abagnale Jr., who has escaped from Texas prisons so many times that, my opinion is that he's been sentenced out of spite, he is currently serving a prison sentence set to end on July 12th, 2140. And while there are amusing bits to the story, it is not as madcap as the trailers would lead you to believe.

Biographical films are always so hard to summarize since they cover such a large expanse of time and like to touch on several self-contained anecdotes of a person's life. And this one is no different except that the story touches on multiple scams, prison escapes, and gaming the system to free a lover that the pace is pretty frenetic but handled exquisitely giving you a developing picture of an interesting individual. And it is a very likeable picture which is something I generally don't find with bio-pics of criminals because, at the end of the day, they are criminals and it is at times difficult to empathize with a self-centered character that is only out for themselves. And perhaps that is why Stephen Russell is so likeable. Most of the crimes he committed later in his career were for the man he loved, and I don't care about the politics of it, a good love story is still a good love story.

Rating: B+

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