Reviews & Counting
# A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Number 23(2007)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: Joel Schumacher

Jim Carrey/Walter Sparrow/Fingerling
Virginia Madsen/Agatha Sparrow/Fabrizia
Logan Lerman/Robin Sparrow
5 10
Ace Ventura Pet Catcher Walter (Carrey) goes coo-coo for co-co puffs when he becomes obsessed with a book he’s reading called The Number 23. He starts seeing them digits everywhere and the more he devours the book, the more it sounds a whole damn lot like his life. It should be said that murder happens in the book…tum, tum, tum!
I was absolutely sold by the trailers for The Number 23.They made the flick look like a gripping and visceral journey into intense paranoia with a pinch of could-be supernatural tossed in there for good measure. Hence I waltzed into the screening so wanting to dig on it! I came out fairly disappointed.

It all started on the right sum though with an alluring initial premise, that sported loads of potential as to “where” it could go and sly ways of connecting the number 23 to true life tragedies (somebody did their homework). Schumacher’s macabre polished and atmospheric visual approach to the material cranked my dial to “wow” as well. When the narrative would let me down, I could always count on the candy-coated-grunge imagery to keep my retinas on the screen. Then we had the random funny moments at play, bringing a couple of cheap smiles to the affair. If it wasn’t Carrey’s little ticks/quips going down well, it was the intentional/un-intentional comical situations (that damn dog) doing it for me. Finally, Jim Carrey and Virginia Madsen often elevated the project to a higher plane, keeping me moderately entertained via their strong performances, groovy onscreen chemistry and endearing charisma. I liked them alone, I like them together, I just liked them period.

Alas, once the film shifted into gear, I swiftly realized that it was the middle cog. Instead of capably building off its sweet foundation and taking me on a tension laced and twisty-turvey ride; the flick basically played its game in a “matter of fact” fashion with little suspense or/and momentum in tow. This is how it went: Carrey reads book, Carrey goes to fantasy land, Carrey adds letters/numbers, Carrey sees the number 23 everywhere, Carrey reads book, Carrey goes to fantasy land ,Carrey adds letters/numbers, Carrey sees the number 23 everywhere… rinse and repeat. Yup, the unravelling of the mystery was kept on the down-low, not helped by the precious screen time that was wasted on the slick looking yet fairly pointless and tacky “fantasy land” scenes. Result, the story progressed in a choppy, flimsy and impotent fashion that lessened the film's punch. And the same bad joo-joo went for how the characters reacted to the events at hand. Why nobody called the nut-house 35 minutes in for an express “Carrey Pick-Up” was beyond me. I didn’t buy as to how everybody went with Carrey’s madness/obsession so easily. Felt phony in the name of serving the plot…. much like this shitty review.

So by the time the big “duh reveal” was…well… revealed (They couldn't come up with a stronger "why" than that? Meh.) and the flick used its last 20 minutes or so to “dissect thoroughly” what was truly happening; you had a schmuck (i.e. me) wondering two precious things: 1- Why did it take so long for the characters in the film to figure that one out? 2- Why didn’t they reel me in gradually throughout instead of vomiting the answer in my lap in one heavy-handed shot at the end? So when all the numbers were added up, they sadly didn’t add up to much. The Number 23 could’ve been; it had the starting point to own me, you, my dog and that dead chick in my freezer! Unfortunately, it never managed to capitalize on its awesome idea and instead gave me a big bowl of ho-hum with a side order of flash. Now add this one up: 23 + 23 + 23 = great number!
We get two slit throats and random blood. Nothing to bang Chef Boyardee's wife for.
A couple of miss-steps aside, Jim Carrey (Walter Sparrow/Fingerling) brought the proper amount of intensity and charisma to the role; too bad the storyline couldn’t keep up. It’s always grand to see Virginia Madsen (Agatha Sparrow/Fabrizia) in a genre film and here she hit the ball out of the park once again with her convincing performance. Logan Lerman (Robin Sparrow) was able as the Mini-Carrey with similar hair as his film dad. Rhona Mitra (Laura) was T-Bone, sizzling hot and that’s all she needed to be…she did it VERY well!
T & A
The ladies get Carrey shirtless left and right and we get…not much.
Armed with a zany editor, Joel Schumacher slam dunked a colorful, moody, semi kinetic visual excersise (loved that shaky cam bit) that definately kept me watching. Great looking film!
The score served its purpose, nothing more or less.
Awesome (yet mis-leading) trailer…average movie. The Number 23 never lived up to its novel primary idea. What should’ve been an absorbing and enthralling puzzle of “what the heck is going on” became a rather redundant, low on tension and awkward effort that would've been resolved in 5 minutes if the great Horatio of CSI Miami was on the case. Now if the flick would’ve focused on and further developed its "in the present" happenings instead of always cutting to its yawn “fantasy land” bits (aka crutch), maybe it would’ve been a different story. As-is though; I was left with a watchable, gorgeous to gawk at and well acted movie that sold itself short big time. Too bad...I thought this one was gonna be the first “air tight” genre flick of the year! I thought wrong.
Elisabeth Shue was initially cast in the Agatha Sparrow/Fabrizia roles, but had to pull out when she got pregnant.

This is Joel Schumacher's 23rd directorial effort (if you count his film and TV work).