I Love You, Phillip Morris Gets Raves at Sundance

mcgregor-love-carreyThough we haven’t had a chance to see Jim Carrey’s gay prison-romance dramedy I Love You, Phillip Morris yet, we’re really excited to see the film. Early reports from Sundance say the film is a hit and we love the idea that the movie, based on the true-life story of Steven Jay Russell, dubbed “King Con” by authorities, is an honest-to-goodness gay film that’s not afraid to show a politically incorrect gay relationship. The film will have a limited release starting Valentine’s Day.

The Hollywood Reporter weighs in on the film:

“Carrey is at his nimble best as Steve, a Texas family man and lawman who bolts out of the closet into a life of, well, everything. He makes up for the lost years of a straight-arrow, heterosexual life by plunging headfirst into multiple lives as con man and lover. Based on a real-life character, Steve was abandoned at birth, and in the film’s glib psychology, he’s undertaking to find his real identity.

A charmer and a rascal, Steve enthusiastically embraces the high-gay lifestyle: vacationing, accessorizing, spending, dining, prowling. And he gets a first boyfriend, who is expensive. Like certain smitten males whose mates’ tastes outdistance their pocketbooks, Steve jumps headlong into the foolhardy: He embraces embezzlement, fraud and all sorts of chicanery to maintain his Rolex ways.

…Carrey’s chameleonlike gyrations and falsifications as a flimflammer are deliciously funny. His comedic versatility and impersonations are amazing, but it’s in his character’s darkest recesses that he’s truly powerful. As the steadfast Phillip, McGregor is sympathetic and vulnerable. His heart is always ready to be broken.”

eFluxMedia writes:

“Even if Jim Carrey’s movie, “I Love You Philip Morris” appeared to be the kind of movie which makes you wonder how it is going to be marketed, it proved to have made a great job at the Sundance Film Festival, where it premiered. The feature talks about a fragile, absurd and gay romantic biography and it’s exactly Carrey’s way to march ahead his oddities.

The story of the movie is based on a real-life character. Steve, who was abandoned at birth, becomes a Texas family man and lawman who tries to substitute the lost years of his life as a heterosexual by throwing himself into multiple lives as a man and a lover. The movie’s substrate shows that Steve only tries to find his real identity.”

Toronto’s Star opines:

“As the big-buzz item at a fest that’s proving to be loaded with goodies, this dramedy of scofflaw gay lovers, played by Jim Carrey and Ewan McGregor, is a major roll of the dice.

It’s a hard movie to classify, and you sometimes don’t know whether to laugh or gasp. The easiest thing is just to call it a love story.

This isn’t one of those polite films where the sex is in the shadows. Both straight and gay lovemaking is right out there in the open, so much so that it will be hard for Phillip Morris to escape the punitive NC-17 rating stateside.”

And the San Francisco Chronicle talked to Carey and McGregor about their roles, asking the inevitable, “Did it gross you out to make out with a guy?” question:

” The two actors locked lips for the comedy-drama, prompting Carrey to wonder what effect it would have on him and his relationship with Jenny McCarthy if he found himself enjoying it.

Carrey jokes, “I did find myself wondering what will people think? And what if I like it? And how will that affect me? And Jenny?”

But his co-star McGregor didn’t hesitate to go all the way, adding: “It wasn’t awkward. You’re not playing a gay or a straight character. You’re playing someone who’s in love. … As an actor you’re always looking for interesting stories. I’ve played gay characters so I’ve kissed men before.

“It’s about getting on with it. And it all felt strangely usual.