Saturday, February 24, 2007

Movies: The Number 23

• Carrey's thriller is a massive disappointment.

Genre: Thriller, noir
Director: Joel Schumacher
Cast: Jim Carrey, Virginia Madsen, Danny Huston, Rhona Mitra, Logan Lerman
Verdict: &1/2

Jim Carrey made it big in movies as a pet detective, and, in The Number 23, he plays a dogcatcher. Coincidence, or something more? The human mind is prone to look for patterns where there really aren't any; it's a way to add even more gravity to events such as presidential assassinations and 9/11. We pine for it in the same way we pine for a greater significance to our lives. While the significance of the numbers seven and 13 are commonly known, there are avid followers of the lesser-known "23 enigma." There's a word for this inclination to find numerical patterns — apophenia — and some would tell you it is the explanation for certain paranormal and religious claims. The Number 23 commits the crime of taking this potentially fascinating thriller subject matter and squandering it in a morass of noirish, risqué sex in dark hotel rooms and half-baked plot twists. Carrey portrays Walter Sparrow, a man who becomes obsessed with a book called The Number 23, which he sees as a parallel to his own life. If you've seen the trailer, you've seen all the good bits about the things in his life that add up to the number 23. Some of the others reeled off in the movie are outright laughable (32 is 23 backwards!), and the cleverest thing in the movie probably is his teen son's name: Robin Sparrow. Not since Lady in the Water have I been more anxious for an awful movie to end.

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