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The Number 23 - DVD Review


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Jim Carrey has gone mad. Ok, maybe that's nothing new. But this is a different insanity. And it's all because of a number.

Coincidence knows no bounds in this mediocre thriller about a man's preoccupation with the seemingly ubiquitous number 23. The plot is based on the â"23 Enigma," a suspicion that everything is in some way connected to that, some say, evil number. Animal control officer Walter Sparrow (Jim Carrey) receives a gift from his wife Agatha (Virginia Madsen) in the form of a book titled The Number 23. The protagonist of the novel, Fingerling (also Carrey), tells the reader of his life (which seems to mysteriously resemble Walter's own life) and of his inherited, deadly fixation with that terrible number. As Walter continues reading, he becomes consumed by a desire to understand the strange similarities, and unravel the 23 enigma. His sanity begins to break down as he feverishly records his chaotic mathematical calculations on any surface that will absorb ink.

Joel Schumacher is the director who gave us A Time to Kill, but he's also the man who brought Batman and Robin to the screen. The Number 23 lies somewhere in the middle of the scale. It has some distracting gimme-a-break moments, especially towards the end. Neither Walter's nor Fingerling's story is particularly engaging or logical. Moments of coincidence are not limited to the malevolent number, but bleed out into the story, often nonsensically motivating plot turns. Although Walter's job is hardly one that demands overtime, he still carries his tranquilizer dart gun when off-duty, which comes in handy when he spots that darn dog he's been looking for.

Breach
Jim Carrey (right) stars as "Walter Sparrow"

All images copyright © 2007 New Line Cinema
Still, The Number 23 has its merits. First of all, the film is short compared to what has become the accepted standard (two hours and upward). The abbreviated length is to the film's credit, being just short enough so that a middling movie doesn't turn into a hulking drag. Schumacher has proven in the past that he knows his way around suspense. He doesn't skimp in this case, offering up strings of crisp tension. Also, Fingerling's sequences are artfully designed and filmed, adding a whole other dimension to the film, literally and figuratively. And then, of course, there is Jim Carrey.

Carey's Walter/Fingerling eclipses all other performances in this movie. The audience, expecting funny-man Jim (of Ace Ventura fame), might laugh a bit too loudly at lines that are only mildly humorous. But then, Carrey's comic delivery is just as sharp as ever, so he deserves every chuckle he gets. Wit aside, Carrey proves himself a solid performer. Having played comedic characters prone to insanity in previous films, he is obviously familiar with the role. This time, however, he tempers Walter's psychosis so that it comes off as frighteningly realistic.

And the audience still gets a bit of the Ace they crave from any Jim Carrey vehicle. The film is peppered with subtle comic winks, like the Sparrows' son, whose parents have oddly chosen to name Robin, or Walter meowing to rile up a passing pooch.

If the goal of the movie was to create a new generation of 23-seekers, mission accomplished. If you counted the words in the first paragraph, you probably already saw The Number 23. Either that, or you were already hooked on the Enigma before the credits rolled. Leaving the theater, you might notice that you're counting the letters on the marquee or the people in front of you as you wait in line for the bathroom. That's the mark The Number 23 leaves on you. Too bad the rest of the film had nothing to do with it.


DVD

DVD Details:

Screen formats: Widescreen Anamorphic 1.85:1

Subtitles: None

Language and Sound: English: Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo

Other Features: Color; interactive menus; scene access.

* Commentary -
o With director Joel Schumacher
* Featurettes -
o The Making of The Number 23 (22:17)
o Creating the World of Fingerling (11:11)
o The 23 Enigma (25:00)
o How to find your life path numbers (10:57)
* Deleted Scenes - a total of sizteen deleted or alternate scenes that didn't make the final cut. With "play all" function or can be watched separately.
* Trailers
* DVD-Rom Features

Number of discs: - 1- Keepcase Packaging

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