Mar 1, 2018
The Number 23 (2007) (part 2 of 4)
|The Number 23 is a “novel of obsession” written by “Topsy Kretts”. And please don’t think too hard about this name, or what common expression it sounds like. Stop! Stop thinking! You’ll ruin the amazing surprise twist ending!|
|Jim dives on in. And like most people, he goes straight for the pictures. You see, this book is a true multimedia immersion, with photos, and strange typography, and scribbles in the margins. Move over, House of Leaves!|
|A photo of a farmhouse magically comes alive, and the camera zooms into it. It’s like the opening to Hudson Hawk all over again.|
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|The hero of this novel is a guy named—and I’m not making this up—”Fingerling”. But he explains it’s not his real name—he got it from a book he had as a kid called Fingerling at the Zoo, which I can neither confirm nor deny is a real book. Fingerling talks about being a lonely child, which naturally includes trick-or-treating alone in the daytime.|
|Fingerling’s dad was Stuffy McRichBanker. We learn he was an accountant, which means his entire life was about—thud—numbers.|
|One day, Fingerling goes to the house next door, and discovers the neighbor murdered in her bed. Because, as we all know, there are tons of hot blonde Marilyn Monroe lookalikes living in farming towns. This incident inspires Fingerling to grow up to become…|
|…Detective Fingerling, also played by Jim Carrey. Commence laughter now.|
|Carrey finds the book eerily similar to his own childhood. He even had a copy of Fingerling at the Zoo when he was a kid. But don’t think too much about this, either, because it’ll ruin the movie’s unbelievably shocking twist. Stop! Stop thinking about it!|
|In the book, Fingerling becomes obsessed with a sexy Italian woman named Fabrizia. But in order to derive some sort of entertainment out of this movie, I’ll be calling her “Febreeze”.|
|In Jim Carrey’s imagination, Febreeze is played by Virginia Madsen. Wow, Jim you’re quite the wild man. Fantasizing about your wife and all. Fingerling first meets Febreeze when she’s casually walking away from a burning car. Does this movie take place in Fallujah? Or just in Don Johnson Heartbeatland?|
|Cut to them instantly having sex. And hey, any movie where Madsen’s massive fun bags are felt up automatically gets bumped up one star in my own personal rating system.|
|It soon becomes apparent that The Number 23 (the novel, not the film) is pulp detective trash, complete with dopey “hardboiled” narration. Fingerling encounters a hot babe with a noose around her neck, whom he calls the “Suicide Blonde”. Everybody now: You wanna make her, Suicide Blonde!
(Actually, Schumacher once directed an INXS video. Coincidence? I have no idea. If the date they filmed the video adds up to 23, maybe we’ll know for sure.)
|“Okay, so I see you just watched Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls. Look, here’s five bucks to cover the cost of the rental, does that make you feel any better?”|
|Suicide Blonde is obsessed with the number 23. She has it written all over her walls and mirrors, and… wait… is that calculus I see? Is she doing integrals to get to the number 23? Wow, that’s reaching.|
|She explains that her dad was so obsessed with the number 23, he killed her mother and himself. I swear, that’s his entire motive.|
|To calm her down, Fingerling tells a dumb story about his uncle searching for a lady in red. It’s entirely uninteresting, but it supposedly makes Blondie feel less suicidal.|
|Or not. In the film’s comedic highlight, a smug Fingerling leaves, thinking he’s saved the day, and splat goes Blondie on the pavement right in front of him. She lands with a bigger thud than all the blatant 23 references. Good going, Fingerling. But then again, maybe this is how most people react to the dumb story about his uncle.|
|Fingerling starts getting into the whole 23 thing himself. He returns to Blondie’s apartment, writing on her walls, working it out. Wait, he’s a police detective, and he’s writing on the walls of someone he just witnessed committing suicide? I’m pretty sure his superiors would frown on this kind of behavior.|
|In the “real” world, Carrey also starts getting into the 23 thing, and seeing the number 23 everywhere.|
|Spooky, isn’t it? Very soon, Jim Carrey starts to go completely mental over 23, and how it’s always there, being all numbery. He starts writing on the walls in his own house, just like Fingerling.|
|“Okay, one more time. If this movie earns back 20% of its budget domestically, and another 50% overseas, and then if it does well on DVD, it might just make enough to justify an in-name-only sequel starring Steve Carrell.”|
|Carrey even says it’s meaningful that Madsen wanted to paint the walls red, because RED somehow equals 23. Don’t ask.
(Well, either that, or he’s accusing her of having an affair with the Little Dutch Boy.)
|Oh yeah, and in this movie, Jim Carrey has a son, who I shall refer to as Completely Superfluous Character.|
|Another superfluous character/red herring is introduced when Jim Carrey seeks out the counsel of some brainy poindexter. Poindexter pretty much debunks the whole 23 thing in half a minute. But this movie has to continue somehow, so everything he says is ignored.|
|Carrey returns to reading the book, getting to a part where Fingerling is banging Febreeze on the floor. Right in the middle of this, Fingerling looks over at her closet and declares, no lie…|
|“You have… 23 pairs of shoes!” Just out of curiosity, does GAY also add up to 23? This might be the single gayest thing I saw during Razzie Month, and I also saw a giant, screen-filling close up of Ving Rhames’ naked ass. (I’m sure you all can’t wait for that screencap recap.)|
|Then Jim Carrey realizes he has to give the Childlike Empress a name!|
|“Dammit, Fingerling, you totally stretched these out!”|
|In the novel, Fingerling spies a police psychiatrist (played by Brainy Poindexter) making moves on Febreeze.|
|In response, Fingerling fantasizes about tossing the psychiatrist out of a window. Maybe he should just tell him a stupid story about his uncle.
And I should add that we’re now watching a fictional character as he reads a book where the main character… has a fantasy. This movie is multiple levels of nothing happening.