The most striking thing about Phillip Morris is, as the opening titles emphasise, that the events in the film really happened. For many of these events are audacious to say the least, and make for entertaining viewing.
Philip Morris tells the story of scam artist Steven Russell and the lengths he goes to in order to be reunited with the man he loves. Some reviews have drawn attention to the fact that it is a homosexual relationship at the heart of the film. However, the fact the film is about a gay couple is incidental; it neither draws nor detracts from what the film is really about.
Carrey is takes a step outside of his comfort zone with this role. Rather than the brash, often one-dimensional roles he is often associated with, it is a risk that has paid off as the actor is engaging as the rather complex Russell. In this way in particular the film is comparable to Catch Me If You Can, as it tells the story of a character taking on a variety of guises to make up for their own lack of identity.
Though predominantly a comedy, there are still moments of genuine emotion. When Russell pulls off his biggest con there is real sadness about the situation, before the scam is revealed. Moreover, McGregor brings an earnest to his role of Phillip Morris, there is a believability about him that suggests he was perfectly cast.
I Love You Phillip Morris is an entertaining and humorous affair, but one laced with poignancy as one remembers that the events illustrated happened to real people.