Directed by Joel Schumacher (2007)
Reviewed by MaT, added on Jul 24 2007
Jim Carrey plays Walter Sparrow, a normal guy with a wife and kid who happens to be a dog catcher. One day his wife Agatha gives him a book called "The Number 23: A Tale of Obsession". Walter begins reading the book and finds it creepy that the main character in the story, a tattooed, aggressively sexual detective named Fingerling (also played by Carrey), shares uncanny resemblances to himself. Fingerling becomes obsessed by the number 23, finding it in every aspect of life. Soon, Walter begins seeing the number everywhere (license plates, social security number, birth dates, wedding anniversaries, etc.) and begins to suspect that the book is a narrative on his life. When the book takes a murderous turn, Walter must frantically discover its secret...
The only explanation I could possibly think of as to why Jim Carrey decided to be in this movie is that the screenplay probably kicked a lot of ass...in his head. The Number 23 is the worst film I've ever seen Jim Carrey in (and that includes such gems as Me, Myself, and Irene, Batman Forever, and Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls). The flick is a complete train wreck from start to finish with plodding pacing issues, an ugly visual style, some tepid acting, and an over reliance on the notion of "suspension of disbelief". Carrey can't pull off the duel character roles. He's merely ok as Walter but is ridiculous as Fingerling. Virginia Madsen (Candyman) shows up as his real-life wife Agatha and the book's nympho Fabrizia, whose only real purpose in the film is to screw Fingerling every opportunity she gets.
The idea here is to show Walter slowly go insane but the director, Joel Schumacher (better known as destroying the Batman franchise until Nolan and Bale came around), shoots the film in such a bland, boring style that I actually found myself falling asleep early on. And frankly, the hook about 23 isn't very interesting. The only props I can give the film is for the mildly satisfying conclusion. "Mildly" may be too kind a word for it. You pretty much see it coming and Schumacher decides to tell you the end...and then show another 15 minutes of exactly how it all played out. Strange.
Needless to say, I won't be obsessing about seeing numbers that add up to 23 anytime soon. Avoid this like you would a girl whose mouth was covered in open sores and whose tongue was pussing and oozing bile.