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The Number 23 (2007)

by on 2011/11/13

“There exists far too few books where the main character plays the saxophone.”

* * *

I’ve made my dislike for Jim Carrey (Yes Man) known on this site. I’m not super proud of it, I just don’t like his work.*

I know some say he’s talented but I just don’t see it. Plus his wrong-headed, moronic and dangerous opposition to childhood vaccinations makes it very easy to dislike Jim Carrey the person as well.

I’ll never forget what my sister said after seeing A Series of Unfortunate Events: “When I realized Jim Carrey’s character was never going to die, I felt like I might cry.”

Truer words.

While watching The Number 23 – Jim Carrey’s very first suspense thriller (cough) – I kept thinking about the AWESOM-O episode of South Park. Cartman disguised as a talking cardboard robot is asked (for some reason) to generate new, money-making movie ideas to group of idiot film producers.

All of AWESOM-O’s pitches involve Adam Sandler. “Okay, how about this: Adam Sandler.. inherits like, a billion dollars, but first, he has to, like, become a …boxer, or something.”

Yes, it’s flawless!

So here’s the pitch (I imagine) for The Number 23. “Ok, so you have Jim Carrey who plays a wise-cracking dog catcher and he has this really hot wife. She’s a cake decorator. And get this, they find this crazy book about the number 23 and the book takes over the dog catcher’s mind. Don’t forget, the dog catcher is …Jim Carrey.”

That’s box office, baby.

This is a tough movie to review without giving away the twist in all of the myriad twistedness. There’s blood and sex and deception to spare in this flick.

We get to see a lot (a lot) of the sinewy Carrey, playing alternately a sympathetic family man Walter Sparrow and a hard-bitten noir detective (covered in tribal tattoos). He totally does it with lots of lovely ladies.

We also learn all kinds kooky stuff about the number 23. According to the film:

  • The bible’s Numbers 32:23 is “Be sure your sin will find you out.”
  • Psalm 23 is “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want…”
  • Blood takes 23 second to circulate.
  • December 23, 2012 is the date the Mayans believed the world will end.

Zzzzz. Oh, sorry, I dozed off for a minute there.

There are a few good things about this Joel Schumacher film, one of them is Virginia Madsen (Sideways) as the dog-catcher’s wife Agatha Sparrow. The other is Logan Lerman as the cake decorator and dog catcher’s strangely well-adjusted and likeable son. Also I like the lighting and the set design.

To conclude, there’s an interesting film underneath all that Jim Carrey. I learned that mixing Jim Carrey with a sexy psychological thriller is like combining peanut butter and lighter fluid.

Two great tastes that taste … garg.

* * *

101 minutes

Rated R for violence, disturbing images, sexuality (Jim Carrey pantless, shirtless and being mean to dogs)

*Ok, ok, with one exception:  Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

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