Retro Review: Number 23

Some “average joe” discovers that the secret to the universe is a number. The number 23.

I guess for paranoia sake there has been an actual investigation into this number. But like all conspiracy theories if you don’t buy into it then well it doesn’t really matter to you. That is kind of my reaction to the film, The Number 23.

Jim Carrey stars as Walter Sparrow, an average day dogcatcher who is happily married and has two kids. One day, Walter is late for meeting his wife, Agatha (Virginia Madsen) and he finds her in a bookstore captivated by a novel called “The Number 23”.

The book tells the story of a detective named Fingerling (Jim Carrey, again) who cracks the Number 23 code while investigating the murder of a young woman. Agatha purchases the novel without a second thought.

After Agatha finishes the novel she passes it on to Walter and he becomes literally consumed by the book as he gets more and more familiar with the detective and the number. The book is about to change Walter’s life forever. And as this film goes, that is not a good thing.

“The Number 23” tries so desperately to pull the audience into Walter’s paranoia. But not for one second do you feel as Walter does. I just don’t get what we as an audience are supposed to take away from this film. First off, you have probably one of the most uninteresting performances ever from Carrey, Madsen sleepwalks through her role and then you have creepy director Joel Schumacher at the helm. Oh, creepy is never a good thing when it comes to Schumacher if anyone remembers “8 mm”. Oh and since this is a Schumacher film there has to be some sort of kinky sex scene. Joel loves his kink.

Schumacher tries to make the world of Fingerling and the world of Walter very different. He even tries to make them almost a mirror image of each other.

To put it bluntly, they achieved it better in the classic Star Trek episode, “Mirror, Mirror”.

I was really hoping that the film was going to surprise me at some point. But it never did. The eventual conclusion just made me roll my eyes and for some reason naming a psychiatrist Sirius Leary really bugged me. Seriously, does it bug you too?

The one scene where Fingerling questions the “woman in white” was probably my favorite and just because of that scene is the only reason why I wanted to see the rest of the film. I am not sure why that scene stood out but it was for me the only small thing I enjoyed about the whole entire film.

(1.5 out of 5)

So Says the Soothsayer.

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