Jim Carrey is a gay [No he isn’t – Legal Ed]. For proof of this lawsuit-baiting sentence we need look no further than the titles of his films. For starters Liar, Liar confidently exclaims the closet led nature of his life, as does The Mask. The Cable Guy is basically a very unsubtle ‘gay for pay’ porn star’s nomenclature. Then there’s Yes MAN, The TruMAN Show and MAN On The MOON (as we all know ‘MOONing’ is presenting one’s bum for display purposes).
You get the idea. And continuing the pattern, here’s Carrey’s latest, I Love You Philip Morris.
Carrey as Steven Russell is a happily married, Christian cop but once he survives a near death car-crash he decides to live the life he only had in private, in public. Or to use his words, “I wanna be a fag!” Unfortunately for Steven his particular brand of homosexuality is more expensive than he can afford. Drowning in debt he turns to major fraud and finds himself in prison. Luckily for him one of his prison mates is Philip Morris (Ewan McGregor) and it’s love at first shower.
I Love You Philip Morris doesn’t play like a politicised ‘gay movie’. It has no axe to grind. It is instead a sometimes funny, occasionally witty, caper movie whose central relationship just happens to be between two men. Yes homosexuality is referenced a lot but it’s never at the butt (excuse me) of the joke. In fact I’ve made far more moronic ‘sub-jokes’ about man-on-man love in these few paragraphs than feature in the entirety of Phil‘s running time.
And it’s not that the opportunities weren’t there for them. On the contrary, the makers have chosen to play the central romance as down-to-earth, believable. There are no Farrelly style gross out set-pieces, just honesty. When Ewan gives Jim a sea-side blowie and spits the result over the edge of the boat, we don’t get a close-up of the jism spraying back in the wind or finding it’s way onto a passing ship. Instead we just get a simple but oh-so effective, “Ah, you don’t love me!” from a pretending-to-be-pissed off Carrey.
Whilst Ewan is on good form as the naive, feminine Philip, the film belongs to Carrey. The events sometimes stretch your credulity – but we’re assured it is based on real events: it’s all there to be found on the most reliable of sources, ‘Wikipedia’ (which should be read after watching the film for added poignancy).
I Love You Philip Morris, then, is a sweet if, at times, slightly typical romcom whose only real difference from say Fun With Dick and Jane is that Jane has been replaced by another Dick. But in another step for equality isn’t it nice that we can have a fairly bog-standard rom-com that doesn’t just feature men on woman action. There’s certainly enough to go round.
When Owen Nicholls is not outing celebrities based solely on their film titles, he edits and writes for www.thisfilmison.com