Jim Carrey Diversifies His Acting Portfolio

Typically, when one thinks of Jim Carrey, the image of him making a constant fool out of himself arises, thanks to films such as “Dumb & Dumber” and “Ace Ventura.” When one typically thinks of director Joel Schumacher, the desecration of “Batman & Robin” is commonly thought of. In their second film working together, however, they are able to put together a quality mystery/thriller, “The Number 23.”

The film follows the simple life of dogcatcher Walter Sparrow (Carrey), who also serves as the film’s narrator. For his birthday, his wife Agatha (Virginia Madsen, who also plays Fabrizia, a character from the book) buys him a book entitled The Number 23 after he shows up late to pick her up from work. Sparrow – after being slightly reluctant – decides to give the book a try. After getting through the first few chapters, he sees striking similarities between the story and his life. Soon he begins seeing the number 23 all over the place: his name, social security number, and so on, all somehow boil down to the number 23. He obsessively dives deeper into the book, trying to avoid becoming the killer who is laid out in the story for him.

The film is well done, from the way it is shot to the acting. The story is actually quite interesting, since it is tells how a number can mysteriously lead a person to the brink of insanity. There are even numerous subtle 23s hidden throughout the film (aside from the blatant ones the characters make references to).

Carrey’s lack of over-the-top acting is what really works best for the film. As mentioned, he’s mostly known for being Hollywood’s class clown. He also tends to be an actor you either love or hate (the same goes for most of his movies). In “23,” however, it shows that Carrey is very much capable of being a serious actor-in case something like “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” never did anything for you. For any Carrey fans that do like his comical side, there are bits here and there where he is amusing in a dark, goofy sort of way.

The story can get a bit confusing and you may stop paying full attention here and there. A problem with the commercials and advertisements is that they make it seem like Carrey’s character is living split lives, but he’s not. When you see his “alter ego,” Fingerling, it is merely him placing himself in the story he is reading. He does, after all, feel that this is completely reflective of his life. There is the usual twist at the end, but thankfully it is not the completely blatant sort.

“The Number 23” is a solid film overall. The acting is pretty well done and the story itself is interesting. Thankfully, for the film’s sake, the “23 everywhere” gimmick never completely gets old.

Carrey’s firm performance, combined with Schumacher’s thankfully modest directing, makes “The Number 23” a pretty decent film to check out.