Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Marxist Movie Reviews 04: I Love You Phillip Morris (2009)

The Basic Plot: Based on a true story, Jim Carrey plays a con man who meets the love of his life (played by Ewan McGregor) in prison and stages a series of escapes so he can be with him.

The Best Part(s): None that I can think of

It’s not hard to see why this film had so much trouble getting distribution. The relatively explicit gay sex scenes were a turn-off for mainstream theaters, but that's far from the movie's only problem.

Carrey's character is set up to be some kind of anti-hero and the audience is put in a position of being asked to care about anything that happens to him, but he's basically a sociopath with no redeeming qualities,. He reminds me of Roger, the gay alien from the TV series American Dad, whose childishness and overt belligerence is reliably tolerated by those closest to him for some reason. His boyfriend Phillip Morris, despite McGregor's natural screen charisma, is a non-entity.

Both of these characters indulge just about every motion picture stereotype of the non-closeted gay man as swishy, mincing, weak, and effeminate or, if he has some kind of power (like Carrey's character at times), scheming, deceitful, and morally bankrupt. Those stereotyped representations are still around, most of them hiding behind the mask of "irony." If this movie were made 30 years ago, Carrey and McGregor might have been applauded for being in it. In post-year-2000 America, there's no reason for anyone, gay or straight, to take this love story to heart.

My Rating: 3/10 ("Didn't Like It")

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