Glenn Ficarra and John Requa's I Love You Phillip Morris is perhaps one of the most daring films to hit the big screen in quite some time. And it is a result of this, distribution has been a bit of an issue, resulting in multiple delays in its release. The film, based on a true story, is about a con artist named Steven Jay Russell (Jim Carrey) who is married with a wife Debbie (Leslie Mann) and child. After living life on the straight and narrow (pardon the pun), he gets into a car crash which forces him to re-evaluate his life as a gay man.
Steven falls in love with Jimmy (Rodrigo Santoro) and after a roller coaster of a relationship which has him committing Credit Card and Insurance Fraud in order to afford the high life, he finally goes to jail. In prison is where Steven meets graceful blond haired, blue eyed Phillip Morris (Ewan McGregor). The attraction is instant and after being separated, their passionate for one another rages on. Suave Steven poses as a lawyer, managing to get Phillip out of prison and he even lands the job as Chief Financial Officer of a corporation, all based on deceit and social savvy alone. He continues to lie and steal out of love for Phillip, promising to protect and take care of him. Not before long though, the legal authorities are on to him and Phillip also grows suspicious.
Steven goes back to jail, but not without a fight. He escapes successfully a total of four times in attempts to win back Phillip's heart and what results is a twisted yet unlikely story of true love and the extremes which someone will go to in filling the voids of their life.
Carrey's comedic sense is brilliant, albeit over-the-top for what is required of him here. It is as though he is making a mockery of his character versus embodying the role. But in the film's one moment of sincerity where he lies dormant on a hospital bed crying, we realize the depth of Steven's love for Phillip and this is a true indication of Carrey's ability as a serious actor. McGregor is always excellent and his performance here is no exception. He transforms fully into a vulnerable and effeminate man longing for protection after endless betrayal.
In all, Roadside Attracions''s I Love You Phillip Morris is a unique blend of dark humour and touching romance. In all its controversy, the film manages to remain effectively entertaining and engaging. It hits theatres December 3, 2010 in limited release, expanding in wide release the following week. Grade: B+