Gay-con-man caper I Love You Phillip Morris finally hits screens with the delayed-distribution implication of being somehow badder than Bad Santa, the dirty-joke Christmas-card-from-drunken-Dad by the same screenwriting team. Now directing too, Glenn Ficarra and John Requa frame the exploits of (actual, imprisoned) grifter Steven Russell as fast, vulgar satire with gooey center, essentially optimizing Farrelly Brothers shtick for speed and sentiment. Jim Carrey plays the closeted, fallen family man who hearts Ewan McGregor after a meet-cute in the prison library, but, released and living together in Miami, can't stop his fabulous embezzlin' ways as bullshitting corporate exec.
Tricking the story out with zingers and snap cuts, Ficarra and Requa deploy false-bottom twists (so to speak) and crazy-love avowals that try to have the parody/melodrama split both ways. But Steven's pathologically relentless deceptions are most adventuresome for the aftertaste of sadness through exhaustion (essentially the purpose of McGregor's ever-burned character). Intertwining the concealment of the con and the closet (and making a great Chinese-telephone joke about co-option), Ficarra and Requa are ultimately undone by Carrey's inconsistency. The actor's lined face bears the striking aging-twice-as-fast weariness of the manic character's life (like so many Carrey roles, a metaphysical puppet, but here in some ways pulling his own strings), but he still tends to seem elsewhere when attempting to be most sincere and grounded.
Opens December 3