This film is based on the unbelievable true story of Steven Russell, a secretly gay family man who went from being a cop to an unrepentant con man and compulsive liar. He escaped from prison roughly four times, committed all kinds of financial crimes, and eventually received one of the most unprecedented sentences ever given. It is such a weird and out there story that it must be fiction, but it's not.
The film is funny, but it's predominately a dramedy, and the humor is of the darkly satirical variety. The film is somewhat flawed, but I still liked it and think it's worth a watch.
The main issue is probably the lack of experience from the co-directors. They are making their directorial debut with this one, but they are familiar with this type of territory, having wrote Bad Santa. Even though the film is all over the place, the tone is pretty consistent, and the film is pretty sincere. Yes, there is a gay romance, but it is handled in a satisfactory way that isn't mocking or heavy handed.
The real strength of this movie lies in the performances. Jim Carrey is absolutely brilliant, and he's the perfect fit for the role of the zany delusional Russell. As his lover Phillip Morris, Ewan McGregor is also quite excellent, giving off tons of charm as the naive but loveable man swept up in Russell's schemes.
This is a bizarre, offbeat film, but there's something about it that makes it hard not to watch. We never quite know what Russell will do next, or if he will ever truly figure out who he really is, but he's such a screwy yet captivating character that we stick with him, even though it seems likely he's just going to end up breaking hearts and bank accounts over and over again.