Drama Mystery Thriller
Trivia Spookily, this is the 23rd project that Joel Schumacher has directed, including both his TV and motion picture work.
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The Number 23 (2007)
2nd Mar 07
Former funny-man Jim Carrey does his best to keep a straight face as animal control officer Walter Sparrows (who comes up with these silly names?) whose life gets turned upside down when his wife Agatha (Virginia Masden) buys him a book called ‘The Number 23.’
Rather than moan about the book’s creased cover and the fact it looks a very cheap present, Walter is shocked when the story between the pages appears to mirror his life - ending in murder!
Director Joel Schumacher still has a lot of making up to do for unleashing the excruciating Batman and Robin on an unsuspecting public some ten years ago. Despite interesting but not dazzling turns on his resume since, such as Tigerland, Phone Booth and inexplicably The Phantom of the Opera, Schumacher has re-teamed his Batman Forever star Jim Carrey and confirmed what we always knew… his career ended with his last semi-decent movie Flatliners.
With title credits spinning out interesting facts about The Number 23 such as the human body consisting of forty six chromosomes, twenty three from each parent; Caesar being stabbed twenty three times; Kurt Cobain being born in 1967 and died in 1994 (1+9+6+7=23 and 1+9+9+4=23) and the Hiroshima bomb being dropped at 8:15 (8+15=23), everything that follows is not even half as interesting.
The viewer has been duped into thinking that the plot would lend itself to something else of equal interest. Instead we get the plot detailed above filmed like some bad 90s hangover masquerading as a thriller.
Where most of the time we’d like Jim Carrey to turn the volume down on his performance, here he turns in a somewhat muted performance in a role where his usual over-the-top manner would have been better suited. It is hard to believe that his character’s life is spiralling into madness. Has Carrey not seen Jack Nicholson in The Shining? Now, THAT is someone going bonkers.
The final half-hour explains the first to the audience with the type of spoon-feeding that comes in shovel-sized portions. By now if you haven’t given up the will to live, left the auditorium with your hands clutching the side of your head and screaming, looking desperately for the largest oncoming vehicle to throw yourself under then you must be one of those insane baboons that also enjoys watching TV programmes like Richard and Judy.
Truly the only thing that will save you from the banality of it all is to spend £2.95 on a pint of Stella Artois (2 x 9=18+5=23) and then maybe another, and another! An interesting premise squandered on a by-the-numbers plot The Number 23 doesn’t really add up to the sum of its parts.
I give the movie one star for the cute dog Ned and another half a star just for confirming that Joel Schumacher is now officially a crap director.