"The Number 23"
Directed by Joel Schumacher.
Written by Fernley Phillips.
Starring Jim Carrey, Virginia Madsen, Logan Lerman and Danny Huston.
Release Year: 2007
Review Date: 2/27/07
How is it that a man can direct a dozen bad films and be allowed to
continue to direct more of them?
Easy--start off your career by directing some of a particular
generation's greatest hits, then coast all the way to age 70.
Joel Schumacher has directed these films, all of which were great:
"St. Elmo's Fire"
"Falling Down", the Michael Douglas
drama where a guy goes crazy after sitting in a traffic jam
"The Lost Boys"
"Tigerland", which turned Colin Ferrell
into a breakout star
Joel Schumacher has also directed these
films, which fall somewhere between horseshit (i.e. completely
ridiculous, made-up drivel) and dogshit (the essence of awfulness,
if that is even a word):
"Batman & Robin" (my brother Dave's pick
for Worst Film Ever Made)
"Bad Company" (the Chris Rock/Anthony
"D.C. Cab" (Mr. T...should I say more?)
"Flawless" (De Niro and Philip Seymour
Hoffman in a bad film?)
"Batman Forever" (as bad as this was,
Schumacher was given the reins to do even worse with "Batman &
"Batman Forever" co-star Jim Carrey decided
that once was not enough, so he signed on to star in Schumacher's
new psychological thriller "The Number 23", a film so fucking
piss-poor that people in my theater tonight were walking out halfway
and three-quarters of the way through it; it was like they said to
"This is fucking atrocioius, but let's wait
around to see if the killer is who I think it is...oh, yes, it is,
now, if you'll excuse me, I need to go home and kill more brain
cells watching 'Idol'"
or some such nonsense. Carrey plays
Walter Sparrow, an animal control officer who picks up a book his
wife (Virginia Madsen) recently bought called "The Number 23."
It's about a guy named Fingerling who offs his girlfriend after he
sees that she's cheating on him with another man. It's also
about the obsession the narrator has with the number 23, in any
combination of dates, combinations, random number pairings, license
plate numbers...you name it, if there's a way to come up with 23,
our boy Fingerling is going to find it...and, this obsession takes
over Walter's life as well. When the events of the book mirror
closely to Walter's own life, his obsession gets biblical as he
tries to determine who the real author of the book is.
Yeah, "The Number 23" is predictable.
But, that doesn't mean the film shouldn't be watchable, but thanks
to the genius that is Schumacher's talent, the flick is a tough sit
for anyone with an education and an interest in even moderate levels
of filmmaking. Carrey is as bad as he's ever been onscreen,
strange because Carrey playing a crazy guy shouldn't be this much of
a stretch. Madsen is also poor; there's a funny moment near
the end of this film that shouldn't be funny, but it's funny because
the emotions should be running much higher and it's almost like she
is reading her lines at the end of a long business day--limply
saying to someone "No...I know you...are not a killer" while you've
got a knife to your neck ought to elicit real thrills, not ho-hum
The mystery sucks, there are almost no real
scares or jump moments, the supporting cast makes you think
"low-budget afterhours drama on the WB", the film looks bad and even
the requisite crazy-guy moments feel ripped off from other movies.
Rating: Hard Vice
Comments? Drop me a line at
Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard