Review in a Hurry: Like a campy Catch Me If You Can, this outrageous, swing-from-the-rafters comedy tells the true story of a con man's journey from small-town family man to gay white-collar criminal. "Love" is too strong for this sporadically funny but tonally uneven caper starring Jim Carrey and Ewan McGregor. Let's just be friends, Phillip Morris, 'K?
The Bigger Picture: Yep, The Cable Guy goes gay. Carrey stars as sociopath Steven Russell, who—in the strong, swift first act—has an epiphany after his horrific car crash. He's coming outta the closet! Ditching the wife and police job, he moves to Miami and takes a caliente luvah.
He discovers "being gay is really expensive" and turns to fraud to fund his lavish lifestyle. Eventually he's sent to the state penitentiary, where he meets and falls for fellow prisoner Phillip Morris (McGregor). The two become cellmates and soul mates.
Following their release, Steven devotes himself to building a perfect life together. He commits a series of amazing cons to afford a huge home, luxury cars, and lots more.
His multiple scams and trips to prison get repetitive as the pic starts to suffer an identity crisis, pinballing between comedy, drama, romance, and con-artist caper. All the crimes and craziness need to be grounded with an authentic love story, but the reason for Steven's obsession isn't adequately explored. McGregor does invest Phillip with an endearing sweetness, but he gets marginalized for too long as the clueless househusband.
That liar-liar Steven remains inaccessible isn't as problematic as Carrey's showy performance. The funnyman sometimes slips into manic mode and stretches the boundaries of his character—and elastic face—past the point of credibility. He comments on the role instead of fully inhabiting it.
To their credit, Carrey and McGregor don't shy away from kissing and other PDA, but as more and more gay clichés sashay by, their sexuality seems more like an opportunity for the movie's mockery. Plus, the script, though amusing at times, relies heavily on juvenile humor, with countless gags about penises and oral sex. It's doubtful this will play in Peoria. (Heh, heh...I said "pee.")
The 180—a Second Opinion: For all you would-be felons, Phillip Morris provides handy tips for embezzling from businesses and escaping from jail.