The Number 23: Review

Throughout life there are situations where, despite the better judgement of others, you make a decision that you need to discover the truth for yourself. Against the wishes of your parents, you go to that wild party — and later on regret it. You date that empty-headed woman (thinking that you could somehow uncover a “hidden intellect”.) Or buying that poorly-rated car just because the design was so sexy. Despite the near single-digit Rotten Tomatoes review, I felt that I just had to see The Number 23. The trailer was (and still is), very intriguing. Although the poster looks horrid, all of the marketing and advertising that was done on websites was equally brilliant. Moreover, I was incredibly curious from a strictly educational perspective to understand just what was this fascination with the number. Other than Michael Jordan wearing it, there wasn’t much that I had heard about it. Well, that and maybe the 23rd Psalm. So equipped with my peaked interest from the trailer and my curiosity about “23”, I put the DVD in my player and sat back in my easy chair.

And now, having endured the painful experience of watching this movie, perhaps I’ll stop being stubborn and start learning from the mistakes of others.

The Number 23 stars Jim Carrey and Virginia Madsen in what can only be described as an action, intrigue, suspense, mystery, quasi-horror film (that ends up being as messy as my description.) It gets its inspiration from The Ring, Sin City, and lots from Secret Window. Jim Carrey is a harmless animal catcher who comes across a book entitled “The Number 23” that grabs his attention. As he reads this story, he begins to see parallels within his own life. More importantly, he begins to see “23” in some form or another in every place he looks. It starts off quite interesting. But by the end you will find yourself slapping your forehead and believing that your time would have been better spent washing your hair or calling your dear Aunt Shirley who always talks to much and confuses you with your older brother.

It’s difficult to say that the movie is well acted considering how bad the script is. Virginia Madsen is always fun to watch (Sideways). But Jim Carrey? I don’t know. Initially I was starting to believe that he was going to at least try to pursue a legacy more akin to Tom Hanks — a comedic actor, who, through a series of serious roles, turns out to be Oscar-worthy material. I still believe that The Truman Show was an incredible film and with Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind under his belt, he was starting to become one of those actors that I’d check out just based on his ability to select unique films to participate in. That all ends with this film. But back to his acting. It’s classic Jim Carrey. A bit of humor (although no physical humor) and the tendency to slightly overact. He was ok, but even stellar acting couldn’t save this ship.

There’s really not much else to say. Unless you’re a glutton for punishment, avoid this one. There are folks who enjoyed it and to them I say, “good for you”. As for me, this was one of the worst films I’ve seen so far this year.


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