Ewan McGregor and Jim Carrey’s I Love You Phillip Morris, which was generating all the buzz (but mixed reviews) at Sundance, still hasn’t found a theatrical distributor. Well, producers did take the movie off the market this month, but there’s probably good reason: They couldn’t unload it. Which leaves the status of Morris — where Carrey plays con-artist and prison escapee Steven Jay Russell, who realizes he’s gay later in life and falls in love with another dude, Morris (played by McGregor) in prison — in the territory of most Paris Hilton movies and Cruel Intentions sequels: headed straight to DVD.
The film, which cost $13 million to produce, features “a graphic sex scene and frequent references to gay sex,” which supposedly “had fallen foul of anti-gay prejudice in America,” reports the London Times.
And yes, that’s probably what did the movie in. Graphic gay sex in the first 10 minutes is going to alarm most distributors, let alone the audiences they’re trying to reach. Then again, it’s arguable the story would be different if the scene involved two women; that could’ve been an easier sell to male movie-going audiences.
But here’s the rub: Morris is a romantic comedy about two gay dudes. Rom-coms, at least the type that Americans will paid $12 to see, have a much different formula; namely, opposite sex relationships. As Why Hollywood Avoids Gay Movies author Scott Stiffler notes: “Even Brokeback Mountain, which grossed $83 million domestically, couldn’t come close to the $120 million gross that I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry [about two heterosexual men who enter into a civil partnership as part of a pension scam] made in the US.”