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Movie Review: The Number 23

The Number 23
Directed by Joel Schumacher
Written by Fernley Phillips
New Line Cinema

When I first saw the trailer for this film, I knew it was in serious trouble.  Whenever a movie decides to find some “fascinating” fact or figure, it will stretch itself beyond all of its available credibility to make it seem all too real and impossible to ignore.  Here, it’s the number 23, which if you think hard enough, you can make any facet of life seem uncanny.  If you can’t get 23 by adding, try division (red and white divided by pink…aieeee!).  From moment one, this film was unable to get me in the mood for its revelations.

Walter (Jim Carrey) is given a book on his birthday by his wife Agatha (Virginia Madsen, who in two movies this weekend plays loving wife to crazy husband) called The Number 23.  It’s a “tale of obsession” written by one Topsy Krettes.  It’s a rambler of sorts, somehow making the number important in some way and showing how crazy people get when they look for it in every day life.  Hasn’t anyone seen Pi?  Or A Beautiful Mind?  Numbers will fuck you up, people!

Walter starts finding parallels between the story and his own life, and it’s not long before he believes that the book might be a confession of sorts, maybe clues to a real murder.  And…could he be crazy?  This film is so off base for such a long time, that when it gets to its surprise ending, you realize that the whole movie has been made to give you this ending.  It takes thirty minutes for the film to explain itself, going through so many conclusions that you might as well expect Batman to show up and ask Walter if he’s seen Edward Nigma around lately.

The Number 23 definitely doesn’t live up to its promise; somewhere in here is a pretty good flick, but it was lost predictably by Schumacher.


Comment from KW
Time: February 23, 2007, 4:26 pm

Read another review of this today that was headlined, “Number 23 is exponentially awful.” That made me laugh.

Then I read your review–especially the part about Pi and A Beautiful Mind–and laughed even more.

So…at least this movie might be good for bringing more laughter into the world.

When I first saw the trailer, my first thought was “how in the world did Jim Carey become the kind of guy who would star in something so derivative as this?”

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