It has taken almost two years, but “I Love You Phillip Morris” is finally being released in the United States. Sort of strange for a Jim Carry movie, no? Well, its been a difficult journey for the 2009 Sundance Film Festival selection, but Roadside Attractions has arrived to save the day.
Debuting with strong accolades for stars Jim Carrey and Ewan McGregor, “Morris” was expected to be picked up by a mini-major such as Focus Features or Fox Searchlight after its debut, but a number of distributors were scared off by the film’s gay content, because as the film jokes, Carrey’s character is very gay. Based on a true story, Carrey plays Steve Russell, a seemingly happily married man who has an epiphany on his life after being in a car accident. Deciding to come out of the closet, he goes overboard in his new lifestyle using cons and fraud to support a lifestyle he can’t afford. While in jail, he meets Phillip Morris (McGregor) and true love forms. Unfortunately, Russell is back to his old ways out of prison as he tries to build a perfect life for himself and Phillip that, again, he just can’t afford.
“Love You” has already been released around the globe amassing $17 million with impressive totals in Brazil, France, Italy and the UK, but now American audiences will finally be able to check it out when it hits theaters on Dec. 3. Roadside Attractions and Liddell Entertainment have, in effect, saved the day for “Morris” after a continuing number of legal disputes with original distributor Consolidated Pictures Group couldn’t uphold their end of a release agreement which was at first scheduled a year after the Sundance debut. With constantly shifting release dates — some without the knowledge of the film’s financier Europa Corp. — the picture’s fate had become something of a joke to those in the industry. And at the least, Consolidated’s reputation has been dragged through the gutter (the company is best known for distributing the indie “Bottle Shock”).
The pickup is another coup for Roadside which just announced it will distribute “Biutiful” which features a potential awards-worthy performance by Javier Bardem and has grossed an impressive $5.1 million for Sundance Film Festival Dramatic Jury Prize winner “Winter’s Bone.” Both of those films should factor during awards season and now Carrey’s turn in “Morris” should find some attention as well. His best chance is for a Golden Globe nod in the Best Actor in a Comedy or Musical category (the HFPA have always been big Carrey fans), but depending on how the field shakes out, don’t rule out a potential Oscar nod. Carrey is that good in the role. Really.
“I Love You Phillip Morris” is finally scheduled to open in limited release on Dec. 3.
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