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Home / Articles / Cinema / Movie Reviews /  Film by Numbers
Number 23
The writing on the wall says, "Please go back to Fire Marshall Bill."

Film by Numbers

Jim Carrey has a hard time with math.

February 28, 2007, 12:00 am

Joel Schumacher's convoluted and improbable The Number 23 stars Jim Carrey as Walter Sparrow, a man who becomes obsessed with a book and the number that is its title. Below are 23 theses, which I intend, like a movie critic version of Martin Luther, to nail to the theater door, which will hopefully start a major reformation of the Hollywood system (or at least put a small hole in its facade).

1. Joel Schumacher should no longer be allowed to make movies. Everyone deserves a second chance, but I believe that the left erect nipple and the right erect nipple on Batman's suit in Batman & Robin should each count separately.

2. Absolutely no dark and stormy characters should be saxophone players. It's cheesy, even as a nod to noir.

3. If a character is going to be obsessively reading a book for days, said book should look to be more than 20 pages long. Or it should be explained that the character has a reading disability.

4. Jim Carrey should not have tattoos.

5. Jim Carrey should not wear wife-beaters.

6. Jim Carrey should not be involved in S&M and, if he is, we should not be able to see his face.

7. Dogs need good casting too. A dog that is supposed to be an evil and mystical graveyard dweller cannot be cute and dopey with a stupid look in its eyes. It's like they cast Hooch as Kujo.

8. If you're going to borrow plot structure from Memento, don't also have the main character write all over his own body.

9. If you are going to make wordplays such as having the book The Number 23 penned by "Topsy Krett," then don't make accidental ones by naming your main character Walter Sparrow when you have absorbed unfiltered the work of David Fincher (director of Fight Club, The Game). (The title also seems to be an accidentally ironic reference to "Donald Kaufman's" screenplay for The 3, in Charlie Kaufman's Adaptation. Moreover, one of the poster advertisements for The Number 23 shows a scarred Carrey, his image reconstructed from a shredded photograph. Remember Donald? "I have chosen the motif of the broken mirror to represent my protagonist's fragmented self.")

10. Cheap 11. shortcuts 12. should 13. never 14. be 15. used 16. just 17. to 18. get 19. things 20. to 21. add 22. up.

23. Unless you're David Lynch (and not just lamely distilling his style), things should add up. They shouldn't need to be multiplied, triangulated and factored just to get to a pointless number such as The Number 23.

 

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