johnlink ranks THE NUMBER 23 (2007)

Sometimes a movie comes along where you hear all the negative reviews, all the negative feedback. You think the premise sounds promising, and you like the actors and the director. You are sure that people are misguided, and that they just don’t get the movie. I’m sad to say that this does not describe THE NUMBER 23 at all.

I really was ready to love this movie. I love Jim Carrey drama, and was intrigued by a suspense flick. I like numerology, and thought there could be some clever situations which could arise out of this normal guy’s obsession with the number 23. I read about the fact that there is a book in the movie which comes to life with he and Virgina Madsen (his wife in the real world of the movie) playing the lead characters. This all sounded so cool. Well, it wasn’t. I was bored enough with the movie to start thinking of my own connections to the number. The first thing I came up with was that the last movie I saw was Seven Pounds. Well, there are 16 ounces in a pound. And 7 + 16 is 23. Weird. Maybe I’ll end up drawing on walls.

I saw THE NUMBER 23 on 2.1.09 (2007). It was my first viewing of the film.



I’m usually a fan of Joel Schumacher. I count PHONE BOOTH in my top 100, and I know that 8MM is in John R’s. top movies. But when he does a bad job, he really does a bad job (BATMAN & ROBIN anyone?). My biggest problem with THE NUMBER 23 is that he beats you over the head with everything. We literally get scenes followed by a reveal, followed by showing images from the previous scene just in case we didn’t get the connection. We’re not dumb. At first, I thought it was cool to look for all the connections to the number 23 in the mise-en-scen. But then, anytime something showed up, we got a close up just to make sure we didn’t miss it. I hate when directors think their audience is dumb. Also, I thought the scenes from the book Jim Carrey was reading could have been so cool, so stylized. They basically could have been a throw back to old noir, complete with some awesome femme fatales and a cool detective. Instead, those scenes felt artificial and disjointed. I really wanted to like them, I promise. I just couldn’t. This score would have been even lower, but there are a couple really cool visuals in the film, and there were a few number connections which you were allowed to blissfully make on your own. SCORE: 3


Started out intriguing, and lost my interest throughout. I don’t usually think consciously about the score I’m going to give a movie til after it’s over, but with this one I felt like it would be around a 7 during the first ten minutes, and it dropped a point every half-hour or so. SCORE: 4


This is the one that hurts me the most. I’ve stated before my affinity for Jim Carrey. And he’s really likable in the beginning. But his noir persona doesn’t work right. I actually blame Schumacher for that as well. I feel like the novel sections failed miserably for all involved. He also wasn’t helped by a poorly chosen score (which almost got the first -1 bonus ranking) which makes the scene where he looses it unintentionally funny. Virginia Madsen does a pretty good job here, though she too is less succesful in the noir scenes. SCORE: 4


I give the writer a bit of a pass here. It’s a guy with one of the coolest writer names I’ve seen in awhile, Fernley Phillips. THE NUMBER 23 was his first feature, and I’d love to dose him up with some sodium pentathol and hear what he has to say about what became of his script. I think the writing is often clever, and I’m sure he didn’t think the director was going to bang people over the head with the numerical imagery. SCORE: 7



3+4+4+7+0 = 23… just kidding… it actually equals 18.

FINAL SCORE = 4.5 (although.. 18 + 4.5 = 22.5, which if you rounded up would be…. nevermind)

~ by johnlink00 on February 1, 2009.

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