Thursday, January 6, 2011

A QNY Movie Review: I Love You Phillip Morris

By West Village Bill

The Squeeze Boy and I caught I Love You Phillip Morris on New Year's Eve. I was motivated to see the movie partly out of a desire to send a tiny, $13 message to the executives in Big Hollywood that they were foolish to balk at distributing a gay-themed film with frank depictions of man-on-man sex. I ended up enjoying ILYPM quite a bit. It turned out to be a fun, touching, and genuinely sweet movie.

Jim Carrey plays Steven Russell, a con man and escape artist who falls hard for the title character, who's played by Ewan McGregor, when they meet in a prison library. Directors Glenn Ficarra and John Requa do a pretty good job of reining Carrey in and preventing him from turning Steven Russell into Edward Nygma. And Carrey and McGregor have believable onscreen chemistry. (Unfortunately, hunky McGregor doesn't show much skin even though he's prone to doing that.*)

The movie has a lot of laughs, especially in the interactions between the prisoners. And though I knew ILYPM emphasized the romantic aspect of Russell and Morris's relationship, I was pleasantly surprised at how very effectively their love story was portrayed.

ILYPM is playing at the Clearview Cinema in Chelsea and the AMC Loews Village 7 in the East Village through at least Thursday, Jan. 13.

*Despite the JAN 03, 2011, date on that article, it ran in the March 2010 issue of the magazine, back when the movie was supposed to be released the following month.


  1. Great to get your perspective. This film has generated some extremely different reactions from LGBT viewers.

  2. I won't pay to see this steriotypical portrail of Gays! I would rather send the message to the producers that a Gay story that is the same old CRAP showing us as lisping, mincing, faggots is NOT worth my time or money!
    We need to stop being happy when they make movies with gay characters like this and demand that they make some realistic honest movies with realistic gay characters!
    Being happy with this is like blacks being thrilled when a movie showed them picking cotton or playing the fool/being happy slaves!

  3. Dear TA, Yours is essentially the negative stance on this film (from the LGBT perspective). The debate raises the question "once we are free to make any kind of movie, depicting any kind of queer and using actors queer or straight, can we then be at ease with making a movie like ILYPM? (I haven't seen it yet, so can't weigh in on this one).

  4. remarkably i found "phillip morris" to be less stereotypical in it's portrayal than nearly every single comedy film made by gay filmmakers. (i finally saw it wednesday night.) i didn't see any lisping or mincing and less than i see on a typical day in public.

    what i didn't expect from the film was deep down the filmmakers had a lot of respect for the characters; and while the "real-life" steven character is off-his-rockers, the affection between them is portrayed as heartfelt, conflicted and true as anything in real life - and never-ever as a joke by the filmmakers or by any of the other characters in the film.

    granted i'm a little close to the film as the company i work at worked on the effects and we're presently working on the director's next film.

  5. Like Sean said, there wasn't any mincing or lisping in the movie. Some prancing? Maybe. :-) I don't think Jim Carrey has played a role completely straight (meaning, not clowning it up at least a little bit) since "Doing Time on Maple Drive": ( His portrayal of Steven Russell was typically Jim Carrey-ish in that he played it pretty broad, but most importantly to our Queer New York readers, the movie didn't seem the least bit homophobic to me. And I recommend it. I think you'll have a good time.

  6. I was so disappointed in this film.