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Overall Rating
2.2

Awesome: 6.58%
Worth A Look: 2.63%
Average: 14.47%
Pretty Bad56.58%
Total Crap: 19.74%

8 reviews, 28 user ratings



Number 23, The
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by Todd LaPlace

"12 + 3 – 7 + 33 – 14 = Complete idiocy!"
2 stars

Remember the movie “Pi”? It was a thriller about a mystical number that was so important, it could unlock all of the patterns in nature. Nothing would be random anymore, and possibly, it could even unlock the true name of God in the Torah. It was also a number that was 216 digits long. I guess mathematically, that makes it nearly 10 times better than the latest Schumacher schlock “The Number 23.”

The marketing department at New Line Cinema must have been working overtime to try and find coincidental occurrences of the number 23 in preparation for the Jim Carrey thriller “The Number 23.” They even included a few in the press notes. For instance, did you know that William Shakespeare was born on April 23, 1564, and died the same day in 1616? Did you know that Charles Manson was born on Nov. 12 (11 + 12 = 23)? And did you also know that Kurt Cobain was born in 1967 (1 + 9 + 6 + 7 = 23) and died in 1994 (1 + 9 + 9 + 1 = 23)? I’ll admit that it’s interesting to know that it takes 23 seconds for blood to circulate in the body and that everyone has 23 pairs of chromosomes, but it doesn’t take a genius to figure out how easy it is to manipulate numbers to be 23. Cobain gets by on only a year, while Manson’s birth date skips that altogether. Couldn’t the evil number just as easily been 16, the sum of the digits in Shakespeare’s birth year? Unless we’re supposed to find their cherry picking spooky, I’m hardly impressed.

Want to see how easy it is to see 23 in everything? Consider the following case. It’s not secret that “The Number 23” was timed to occur on Feb. 23 (after all, it too is listed in the press notes as part of the 23 conspiracy), but doesn’t it therefore seem like an oversight that the film runs for 95 minutes? Shouldn’t it either run for 1 hour, 23 minutes or 123 minutes or something along those lines? You’d think someone would have caught that. But wait a second, can’t nine also be listed as three squared? And oh my god, two plus three equals five! The running time is double 23s! Run for your lives!

If you think that’s excessive though, give this actual film example a try. In “The Number 23,” Carrey plays Walter Sparrow, a dissatisfied dogcatcher that becomes obsessed with the title number after his wife (Virginia Madsen) gives him a copy of Topsy Kretts’s self-published book, “The Number 23.” The book follows Det. Fingerling, a fictional character that Walter obsessively claims is based on his own life (except for the many, many minor differences, of course), as he too becomes obsessed with the number 23. In an attempt to stop a suicidal blonde from killing herself, Fingerling allows her to tell her story, which, in case you haven’t already figured out, is about how the title number is stalking her. Here’s one of her examples (which will pop up later on with Walter, so pay careful attention): Her favorite color is pink, which is usually comprised of the colors white and red. If you assign a number to ever letter based on its position in the alphabet (for instance, W would equal 23, H would equal 8, I would equal 9, etc.), the sum of white (65) and red (27) is 92. If you divide 92 by 4, the number of letters in the word pink, you get 23! For all of those starring blankly at the screen wondering what the hell all that addition had to do with anything, you’re not alone. I understand that by dividing 92 by 4, the answer is going to be 23, but 4 still seems like a completely arbitrary number to chose. Shouldn’t the actual number be 50, the sum of all the numerical values of pink? Wouldn’t that actually make sense?

If you want to make the argument that I’m nitpicking the details of the film and am therefore missing the big picture, you’d be sadly mistaken. The entire film hinges on these numbers and their supposed mystical relevance. There is no movie without them, and therein lies the problem. First time screenwriter Fernley Phillips has put all of his faith in nothing more than a catchy gimmick and drives it into the ground. There’s a threshold where the fantastic simply becomes the absurd, and Phillips crosses that line far too early to sustain our attention. The idea is fun until Walter’s growing paranoia leads to wild accusations and the foreshadowing of death. It’s all simply too much to believe.

It doesn’t help anything that Carrey is largely miscast, simply because he lacks the requisite clout to make it all believable. Carrey’s great as the seemingly normal guy who suspects he’s missing something bigger than himself (he already did it to perfection in “The Truman Show”) and he’s surprisingly adept at stepping into the neo-noir story of Fingerling (complete with tattoo and death-obsessed girlfriend), but he cracks in the obsessive paranoia, largely because it’s too over the top. I don’t want to blame Carrey though — I still think his performance in “Man on the Moon” was impeccable — so I think I’ll shift the blame to the director, Joel Schumacher. Perhaps best known as the man who put rubber nipples on the Batsuit, Schumacher’s dismal Dark Knight legacy further extends to Carrey, casting him as a caricature of The Ridder, a most fearsome member of Batman’s rogues gallery, reduced in “Batman Forever” to spouting off rhymes while slowly losing his mind. Isn’t it coincidental then that “The Number 23” has Carrey reduced to spouting off nonsensical gibberish while slowly losing his mind? It didn’t work then and it doesn’t work now.

While I hope I’ve made it abundantly clear that “The Number 23” is truly an awful movie, I will admit that I’d love to see a remake in about 20 years (it’s way too cutesy and reminiscent of that god-awful “Omen” remake to say 23 years). There’s a lot of potential in the concept, but it’s mishandled and manhandled every step of the way. Dispense with the excessive need to sell us on the eerie nature of 23, hire either a better director or more experienced writer than can tighten up the details and if at all possible, cut the dialogue that will make your movie look idiotic when it gets trashed. When his wife tells Walter to read the book, he questions it, saying, “Have some writer fill my head with nonsense? I’ll wait for the movie.” Um, Walter, you might want to rethink that.

So let’s see: I was born on May 15, which is 15 + 5, but that’s only 20. Well if I was born in 1982, that could be 1 + 9 + 8 + 2, but no, that’s still only 20. If you add up all the letters in Todd, that’s 20 + 15 + 4 + 4. Damn, that’s 43. But wait, maybe if we try 2 + 0 + 1 + 5 + 4 + 4. No, that’s only 16. Aw, screw it. “The Number 23” still sucks.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=15597&reviewer=401
originally posted: 02/26/07 10:20:54
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User Comments

8/31/17 brian My street address has 23 characters. So? 2 stars
10/18/09 Matt You can't take Jim from Ace Ventura's comedy to this complete garbage ! I mean WTF... 1 stars
2/10/09 Peter North this movie sucks donkey ass - ha, 23 letters... 1 stars
10/19/08 Samantha Pruitt Jim Carey does a good job but the story is lame! 3 stars
7/19/08 Shaun Wallner A different side of Jim Carrey. 3 stars
6/14/08 PAUL SHORTT CONTRIVED, INCOMPREHENSIBLE GIBBERISH 1 stars
6/12/08 DK Over stylised and pappy thriller. Carrey's not bad though 2 stars
1/27/08 mr.mike Sorry , Jim and Joel but it was.....not good. 2 stars
9/17/07 K. Sear Typical pseudo-original crap. 1 stars
8/30/07 Indrid Cold Silly and predictable, but mostly solid. Not sure why it got such horrendous reviews. 3 stars
8/12/07 tejdipty a mind blowing movie grt direction n makin n suspence! 5 stars
8/01/07 Ron just shows, Jim carey should stick to comedy 2 stars
7/28/07 fools♫gold Definitely something average here; I wish I gave "The Tenant" a 2/5. But really, it's nice. 3 stars
4/27/07 Marcus The opening credits are great and after that its all downhill 1 stars
4/18/07 Lindz It was the best movie ever! I loved it! 5 stars
4/05/07 William Goss Fascinating, if only to see how deep they'll dig a hole they can't escape from. 2 stars
3/31/07 Mike Perhaps the dumbest move ever. Incredibly ridiculous. Left very disappointed. 2hrs of pain! 1 stars
3/28/07 Amanda i think this was a great movie! from beginning to the end! 5 stars
3/14/07 Logan Carrey serious? QUE BUENO! 5 stars
3/11/07 Alice SUCKS BIGTIME 1 stars
3/09/07 Tvel Great! The #23 has signigicance to the ending some critics missed it 5 stars
3/06/07 Ole Man Bourbon Pretty decent, til the end. Carey's performance was up and down, all over the place. 3 stars
2/28/07 Jennifer Spry Jim, what were you thinking? This certainly won't get you an Oscar nod! 2 stars
2/26/07 Donny M I thought it was original. Entertaining 4 stars
2/26/07 Felix This one might have been inspired by the very good (german) movie "23" from 1998. 2 stars
2/26/07 psycho you suck 1 stars
2/25/07 Sammeh It's a pretty decent movie. It feels pretty slow and drags out some, but its worth seeing 4 stars
2/24/07 Mere Great opening credits...downhill from there. 1 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  23-Feb-2007 (R)
  DVD: 24-Jul-2007

UK
  23-Feb-2007 (15)
  DVD: 23-Jul-2007

Australia
  25-Apr-2007 (MA)




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