Steven Russell (Jim Carrey) is happily married to Debbie (Leslie Mann). He’s a member of the local police force. And he’s gay. After a car accident, he decides to live his life as the person who he truly is.
Part of this person is a scam artist. He starts with faking accidents and filing claims to get money. Money he happily shares with his ex-wife and daughter. The only problem is, he’s not a very good con man. He finds himself in prison after getting caught.
While in prison, he meets Phillip Morris (Ewan McGregor). The two fall in love. Steven, who has learned the penal system, gets himself transferred to Phillip’s new prison ward, as his cellmate. And, having learned quite a bit about law, gets Phillip out of prison, acting as Phillip’s lawyer.
On the outside, (He literally walks out of prison time and again. With ease.), Steven goes back to his old tricks. Only, this time, he’s taken to embezzling from his new employer. He uses his “earnings” to fund a lavish lifestyle. And then it all starts to fall apart. This is when Phillip learns that Steven has been lying to him the whole time.
Phillip Morris is a love story. One where much of the story line seems completely outlandish and almost unbelievable. You wonder how they come up with some of the situations Steven puts himself into. This is what makes this movie even better.
At the beginning of the movie you see, “This really happened.” “It really did.” I did some searching. As it turns out, this is true. The movie is based on the real life exploits of Steven Russell. And, as depicted in the movie, Steven Russell is not good at not getting caught. He finds himself constantly on the run from one bad situation to another. And in jail more than once.
Jim Carrey does an excellent job in the role. Now garish and out of control, as you probably expect him to be if you’ve seen much of his previous work. Not that he doesn’t bring humor to the movie. It’s just on a much more sophisticated level. Ewan McGregor also turns in a great performance, as always. I would say the writing was good, too. But, as I previously stated, this is largely taken from real life events. (I’m sure some creative liberties were taken.)
The movie isn’t for everyone. They don’t try to hide Steven’s homosexuality. At all. (Not that they should. But some scenes were obviously included to showcase it in a humorous, Jim Carrey-type fashion. Why else would he have been chosen for the role?) But if you want to see a funny romcom, outside the lines of ones you’ve seen before, then this is a great choice. And for a true story, well, let’s just say I had to do some checking to find out for myself.