Oh dear, America…
I reviewed I Love You Philip Morris back in March of the year that is about to expire. I wasn’t gushing in my praise (as other critics have been) but I described it as a ‘ good natured romp that is anchored by Jim Carrey on Trumanesque form.’ Reflecting on that review I think that I was fair. The film is good, not just as a comedy but as a piece of filmmaking and it has deserved the credit that it has received from critics and festival audiences alike.
Which begs the question as to why it has only just received a limited release in America? Grossing $18 million dollars before it’s even had a domestic release is nothing to be sniffed at and, coupled with that, the presence of two genuine Hollywood stars should have made it a distributors dream. But no. It takes almost a year from its European release before it’s picked up by Roadside Attractions, a distributor whose biggest hits up until now have been Super Size Me and the mumblecore classic The Puffy Chair. No offense to them (they seem to be a courageous and admirable distributor) but this movie deserves a bigger audience than they can provide.
One can see the obvious reasons why Philip Morris has had such a lukewarm reception. The heavy focus on homosexuality won’t sell well in the Bible Belt and even American liberals might balk at some of the implied sexuality. One can see why they might be inclined to avoid that risk. What is more inexplicable, given the effusive praise of many noteworthy film critics, is its failure to scoop any significant nominations going into awards season. The Golden Globe nominations (which this year have been ridiculed so thoroughly that they now carry about as much weight as Victoria Beckham) nominated ‘RED‘, ‘Burlesque‘ and ‘The Tourist‘ in the Comedy/Musical category, ahead of I Love You Philip Morris. These films currently hold a ’70%’, ’37%’ and ’20%’ approval ratings on Rotten Tomatoes.
For an industry that claims to be one of the most gay friendly in the world, you’ve really dropped the ball on this one. And, sorry America, this is your fault.