I Love You Phillip Morris Is Like A More Hilarious Brokeback Mountain

REVIEWS YOU CAN USE: Sadly, it may be a long time before we ever see I Love You Phillip Morris in an U.S. cinema. Since we missed it at Sundance we had to cross the pond to catch it, and believe it, Americans are missing out.

WHAT’S IT ABOUT?: Steven Russell (Jim Carrey) becomes a con-man so that he can live a wealthy gay lifestyle. But once he’s arrested for insurance fraud, he finds himself in a Texas state penitentiary where he meets the love of his life, the demure and devoted Phillip Morris (Ewan McGregor). The two get a crack at happiness as free men, but when Russell continues conning for fabulousness, Russell is forced to lie, cheat, and swindle his way out of prison just so he and Morris can live happily ever after.

WHO’S IN IT?: Jim Carrey, an animated comedian who often overacts, but controls a demanding emotional range even better than he did in The Truman Show — he’s a con man on a never-ending high wire act always on the verge of being caught and in danger of believing his own lies. He stars alongside Rodrigo Santoro, a handsome Brazilian actor who played Paolo in LOST and Xerxes, the villainous 7-foot Persian drag queen emperor in the ultra-hunky Spartan splatterfest 300. Lastly, there’s the immensely talented Ewan McGregor who played gay in The Velvet Goldmine and The Pillow Book and unabashedly kissed Carrey while promoting the film.

IS IT ANY GOOD?: Definitely. Even though they edited out some of the gay content to find an American distributor (including the hot musclefuck scene), there’s no lack of arch camp, sexy time, or genuine romance. The movie charmingly cons the viewer almost as often as Russell cons those around him and each scene provides unexpected and heartwarming touches of humor — even when they involve prison beatings, staying closeted at work, lying to loved ones, and dying of AIDS. Overall, the film does a great job lampooning gay, Christian, corporate, and rural stereotypes without becoming cliché or losing the deeper humanity of its characters.

WHAT’S BAD ABOUT IT?: Without giving too much away, the film ends on a bit of a down note, suitable to the non-fiction material. It’s a romantic comedy for sure, but it’ll definitely jerk a tear or two out of your jaded little heart.

FUN FACT: The real life Steven Jay Russell had over 14 aliases and masqueraded as a judge, a physician, a police officer, and a handyman to escape from jail four times (each time on Friday the 13th). Since the release of the book and the film, netizens have started a “Free Steven Jay Russell” internet petition to convince Texas Governor Rick Perry to release the non-violent prisoner currently serving in a maximum security jail.

RATING: Five out of five handcuffs: Finally, a gay romantic comedy that’s fresh, original, and darkly funny without ever coming off nasty, mean spirited, or one-dimensional. Its being based on a true story just makes the love and con-games all the sweeter.

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  • L.

    This movie never came out statesside?!? What? How come?

    I cannot agree more – you guys are losing out on a very, very funny (and good) movie.

  • [email protected]

    Headline hell, Queerty is. “A More Hilarious Brokeback Mountain?” I mean, granted, someday our successors may all laugh uncontrollably at the pathos of Brokeback, like we do now at the pathos of ‘Boys in the Band,’ but we’re not there yet, Queerty.

    Your headlines always seem off. Always.


    Am I the only person in the world who thought Brokeback Mountain absoutley sucked????? Was nothing but a depressing, dark, downer of a movie showing two Gay dudes who lived miserable lives because they couldn’t live as they were born. I saw it well after the publicity died down and I was lookin forward to seeing two cowboys fall in love and live happily ever after growing old and Gay on the ranch……Not one dead and one living not so happily ever after…….

  • Ian

    @PLAYS WELL WITH OTHERS: Watch Big Eden to rinse out the bitter pill that is BM. That movie takes place today just outside the Grand Tetons and is a really cute movie where the entire town (unrealistically but still sweetly) root for our hero to correctly choose from his two suitors.

  • Tallskin

    I have gay friends here who went to the cinema here in London to see this and who sat feeling very uncomfortable watching it.

    It’s really not that good and it is entertainment laughing at us for the straights.

  • Qjersey

    My friend bit torrent showed me the film. Quite enjoyed it. And lord I keep falling for Ewan….

  • Lamar

    @PLAYS WELL WITH OTHERS: Finally a gay person other than myself that hates Brokeback! I seriously thought I was the only one, I thought it was drawn out too long and there was just no chemistry either. Can’t wait to see this movie though.

  • Endless Men

    Looks great, cant wait to see it !



    TYVM….I think just because the movie had a Gay theme and it was in mainstream release we were all obligated by our Gay oath of allegience to all things Gay, to simply swoon over that cinematic torture session…………

  • bb

    Are you kidding me? Look… spoilers below:

    … it’s about a guy so vapid he steals millions — mostly to keep a jewelry habit rolling. He’s so reprehensible he fakes his death from AIDS! The movie uses South Beach stereotypes for every tired punchline that exists, and, with the exception that it portrays two gay guys, it is completely devoid of ANYTHING resembling gay sensibility or gay consciousness, even though it relies on the viewers’ assumptions that portrayal=sympathy to justify some pretty offensive scenes.

    I’m not gonna get all sanctimonious and say that, in this political climate, filmmakers have a responsibility to only show upstanding gay characters and not to satirize gay life. That’s not fair (and untrue).

    So let’s put politics aside, shall we? The truth is pretty simple. I WAS SO BORED while watching it. It was not well written, not well realized, and (with the exception of Ewan) not well acted etc. There are a few moments of really beautiful romance. I’ll admit that. But I also have to say they were completely overshadowed by the character’s very obvious psychopathy. It was painful, people, and all I could think as I struggled to get through it was how it’d basically been sold to me as a great gay movie being kept out the country by prejudiced distributors, when in fact it’s really pretty bad and I’m merely being expected to toe the solidarity line.

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