The Number 23 has been marketed as a brilliant psychological thriller. However, the movie is nothing new and far from brilliant.
Director Joel Schumacher did a wonderful job with the film version of The Phantom of the Opera, fully immersing the audience the romantic and creepy story of a masked man’s love for his opera student. Going from Broadway to obsessive-compulsive disorder, Schumacher leaves much to be desired.Jim Carrey hasn’t graced the silver screen since 2005’s Fun With Dick and Jane, and it’s unfortunate he chose this film to keep his name in the minds of his fans.
The Number 23 focuses on Walter Sparrow and his life as a dog catcher. By chance, his life turns upside down when a call at the end of his workday makes him late for a date with his wife, Agatha (Virginia Madsen). His tardiness leads to her discovery of a book titled The Number 23. When Walter finally meets up with his wife, she decides to buy the book that will soon begin to control his life.
The book is about a sexy detective trying to keep a woman from killing herself. The movie shows Carrey acting out scenes from the book as he reads the chapters. The woman in the book is so obsessed with the number that she believes the only way out is death. This leads to Walter’s mania.
The problem is that, unlike the character in the book, Carrey is not sexy and doesn’t appear to be crazy. It’s much easier to see Carrey in the role of a goofy guy in flicks such as Dumb and Dumber than as a smooth, Bond-type detective with obsessive-compulsive disorder.
The number 23 is found everywhere. Twenty-three is the degree at which the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn are located on the globe. Two divided by three is .666, “the number of the beast.” These references make Walter wonder whether 23 is a blessing or a curse. He also becomes convinced that the book has a little too much to do with his life.
The movie definitely shows that a person can make things appear with his or her mind. Walter even goes so far as to set up a code for the alphabet that makes the number 23 easier to find. How far someone looks into something can make it seem real, even if it is all nonsense.
Is it nonsense, though? Only viewing the movie can reveal the truth.
Had 23 been mentioned just one more time in this film, it would have been too many. Within 23 minutes, the droning on and on about the fact that the number is everywhere gets old. Obviously, Walter is fixated on the number – the movie should have focused more on what the fixation caused him to do rather than making continual references to where the number is.
The acting is somewhat believable. Carrey couldn’t bring the authenticity to his role because he’s too funny to be a bad guy. Madsen’s character was the most realistic. Logan Lerman, who plays Walter’s son Robin, seemed to be reciting the script instead of using it to bring his character to life.The movie is fair – but not good – and the acting is good, but not great. Maybe Carrey should just stick to comedies.
Grade: C+ Rated: RRunning time: 95 mins.