The Number 23

The most exciting thing about The Number 23 isn’t the movie itself, but how all your friends are going to start looking for hidden meanings in their IC and mobile phone numbers after watching it. The show itself, oddly enough the 23rd film helmed by director Joel Schumacher (Phone Booth), is pretty standard fair, with hardly anything surprising or chilling about it.
Walter Sparrow (Jim Carrey, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) leads a typical life. He loves his wife Agatha (Virginia Madsen, Firewall) dearly and gets along splendidly with his son Robin (Logan Lerman, The Butterfly Effect). The normalcy of his world, however, takes a turn into obsession when Agatha buys for him a mysterious novel entitled The Number 23 that seemingly reveals to him a hidden world of psychological mysteries, deceit and murder.
Credit where it’s due, the idea of the film is a pretty interesting one. The concept alone would probably compel audiences to give this one a look, but we got to warn you: If you’re expecting anything beyond a cool idea, you’re going to be a little disappointed. The story itself starts off well, but soon falls into cliché after cliché, including the obligatory plot twists and turns, which seem a little forced at times. Schumacher’s style is nothing to get excited about. The best scenes are of Walter imagining himself as the novel’s protagonist Fingerling (also played by Carrey), where Schumacher goes for a much grittier, music video type look, much like the Saw films. It’s nothing new, but it does make for a nice contrast.
Carrey gives a decent performance, but after he wowed us in Eternal Sunshine, we definitely expected better from him. The chemistry between him and Madsen seems practically non-existent, but he does work pretty well alongside Lerman. All in all, the film itself isn’t really fantastic unless you’re expecting a typical Hollywood thriller. The idea does carry some weight, but it still can’t carry the whole film.
You’ll dig The Number 23, if: You like your thrillers predictable like Secret Window or your favorite subject in secondary school was Math.