Jim Carrey’s latest vehicle finds the former stand-up comedian tackling the thriller genre in director Joel Schumacher’s The Number 23. The film has so far received awful reviews from most critics, which is a shame.
Carrey plays Walter Sparrow, happily married to Agatha (Virginia Madsen), with one child, Robin (Logan Lerman). Agatha comes across a book titled The Number 23 and buys it for Walter. As Walter gets deeper and deeper into the book, he begins to become obsessed with 23 and discerns several similarities between the characters in the novel and his own life.
Please dismiss the dreadful reviews this film has received and give it a chance. It really isn’t that bad, I have seen (and I am sure you will agree) a lot worse in this seemingly plagued genre. I must admit despite the intriguing idea behind the film of a number referring to everything in someone's life and therefore driving them insane, the script and eventual plot twists offer nothing new or particularly thrilling. Not that I am saying I knew what was going to happen; the twist certainly surprised me, but it didn’t leave me in complete awe.
However whilst the main plot of the film gradually nosedives into ‘all too familiar’ territory, the film's biggest positive develops from the story within the, err, story. As Walter reads the book, director Joel Schumacher shows us what is actually happening in the novel. The scenes are beautifully shot and lit to create a unique look, perfectly separating it from the rest of the picture.
With the two stories commencing we get two doses of Carrey and Madsen as they also portray characters in the book. Carrey is solid anyway as Sparrow, delivering a very subtle performance as the number slowly obsesses his character. But it is his turn as the lead character in the novel, Detective Fingerling, where he really shines and shows just how far he has come as an actor. As for Madsen, she doesn’t really get enough screen time to fully develop both her characters but it is her character Fabrizia in the novel that she is clearly relishing playing.
So okay, I will admit that The Number 23 is an average thriller at best, but still there are positives to help counter the negatives. If you are a fan of Mr. Carrey you most certainly should check out The Number 23; and even if you aren’t, don’t be completely put off by the way the movie has been received, see for yourself. And after you have watched it, I almost guarantee you will be searching for that number one way or the other.