Jim Carrey’s Con Artist Love Affair Flick Headed Straight to Blockbuster


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.”

Why Jim Carrey’s I Love You Phillip Morris Still Hasn’t Found a Buyer

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  • glennmcgahee

    That movie, I now pronounce you Chuck & Larry was a disgusting film. The funny thing was how my family was utterly certain that I would like it so much they gave me the movie for a present. Why in the world they would think I, an openly gay male would appreciate that movie is beyond me. It was so stereotypical offensive I could not watch the whole thing.

  • scott

    that’s because 2 heteros posing as homos = hijinks and fun, while 2 homos only = just not funny and gross to the majority of American’s movie loving audience. Or at least the people greenlighting movies.

  • Graham

    Boo… They can’t even do a brief run in art house theaters? Is the asking price too high for a distributor like Focus or IFC to take a gamble on giving it a shot at the box office? I think this is the type of movie that would initially turn people off but would grow significant word of mouth and end up doing pretty well for itself with a slow roll-out. It just needs to find its audience!

    There is some glimmer of hope at the end of the Times’ article: “Yesterday Andrew Lazar, the producer of I Love You Phillip Morris, insisted a deal will eventually be found.” While that’s probably more PR damage control than fact, let’s keep our fingers crossed!


    Even with two A-list actors attached, they still couln’t get this movie distributed… That sucks.

  • John from England(used to be just John but there are other John's)



    I’d have watched it….

    Something up..

  • Mr. Enemabag Jones

    Neither of the characters has AIDS; neither is gay bashed; neither is murdered; and apparently both are quite content with their lives, even being in prison. Of course American distributors don’t want to buy it.

    American audiences only want to see flamboyant stereotypes mugging for the camera, or see miserable characters living miserable lives to reaffirm their beliefs that we are loathsome, sad and despairing creatures.

    On the plus side, hopefully this is the beginning of the end for straight produced, directed and acted queer themed films.

  • hardmannyc

    “On the plus side, hopefully this is the beginning of the end for straight produced, directed and acted queer themed films.”

    Yeah, cuz gay producers and distribution houses have so much money. What a weird, dumb comment!

  • Pragmatist

    @hardmannyc: I’ve got to agree. That would be an unequivocally bad sign for the state of culture change in this country.

  • afrolito

    The film is probably shit….just like I suspected all along.

  • Rowen

    I don’t quite buy the whole “graphic sex dosen’t sell” line, simply because the movie Relax, It’s Just Sex OPENED with two guys pounding away, and VERY hard. But, that movie also only had an art house run and no one, except for me saw it.

    And it had a suffering AIDS victim, a gay bash (and then reverse) scene and Jennifer Tilly, so it was more or less the stereotypical 90’s gay flick.

  • Anthony in Nashville

    I feel an odd sense of satisfaction about this development because I keep thinking back to an article where the producers/directors tried to portray this as a “post-gay” film, like straights were going to calmly gloss over the sight of Jim Carrey fucking McGregor.

    If your movie is about men who have sex with other men, it is a GAY FILM!! Straights are not trying to see films about gay people other than comedies or dramas where the gay people die. Even Milk, with a more respected lead actor, easily understandable storyline, and critical acclaim, performed worse than expected.

    That said, I’ll probably rent this from Netflix.

  • thatguyfromboston

    I think it was the sight of Jim Carrey fucking that killed the distribution potential of this movie. Not that he was fucking another guy, even the hotness of Ewan can’t redeem that image.

  • sangsue

    I can think of all kinds of reasons why this didn’t get anywhere.

    1. I know of very few rom-coms of any type that have the sex right away. That’s true of straight, gay or lesbian rom-coms. The idea of the sex is to build up to it, that’s the pay off and that’s what makes you care about it.

    2. I admit I’m a bi woman so I don’t know if gay men like rom-coms but most of them are chick flicks. Straight men love to see two hot girls getting it on together. There are straight women who love to see hot guys getting it on of course but the majority feel threatened because they like to imagine they’re the one the hot guy could be with.

    3. Graphic sex of any type has problems with ratings (see NC17) but even though it’s not fair, graphic gay sex will have even more problems.

    4. There are people who just don’t want to see Jim Carey in any sexual situation. Yes, thatguyfromboston, I think that’s definitely one on of the top reasons.

  • Joe Blows

    I honestly wanted to like the movie but I couldn’t sit through it, regardless of the actors or the subject matter. It was just plain awful.

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