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'Number 23' is glossy but flawed

February 27, 2007|by LYDIA HADFIELD

Review

Don't get hung up on "The Number 23." The thriller stars Jim Carrey as Walter Sparrow, a man who becomes obsessed with the parallels between a novel titled "The Number 23" and his life.

Masquerading as a psychological mystery, "The Number 23" is ultimately an overwrought melodrama. The juxtaposition of the noir novel scenes and Sparrow's increasingly troubled suburban life is glossy and executed well. However, no art direction could save the plot flaws.

"The Number 23" asks that viewers suspend themselves in the heavy-handedly eerie mood. However, the characters and dialogue are not believable enough to spellbind moviegoers. Too often, I found myself sniggering when my spine should have been tingling. In addition, the revelatory ending leaves a couple of unexplained holes in the plot.

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Part of the problem might be that Jim Carrey is miscast. Though he proved his dramatic weight in "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind," Carrey's performance isn't plausible in "23." Perhaps the fact that Sparrow is a dogcatcher and that the movie begins with some featherweight humor reminded me too much of Carrey's role in "Ace Ventura: Pet Detective."

It's also likely that the hackneyed dialogue impeded a credible performance. "The Number 23" isn't worth obsession.

"The Number 23" is rated R for violence, disturbing images, sexuality and language.

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