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The Number 23 

click to enlarge 9_0000_23.jpg

In Joel Schumacher's murder-mystery thriller, funnyman Jim Carrey again tries for serious with unsuccessful results. Carrey plays two roles -- Walter, a goofy family man and dog-catcher (hello? Ace Ventura?), and, in a flashback/dream subplot, a hipsterish jazzman obsessed with the number 23. Everything, it seems, adds up to 23, or occurred on the 23rd, or is made of 2s and 3s ... The dual cartoonish roles give Carrey too much license to be broad, and the ridiculous plot doesn't help: Walter is led on chases by a cemetery dog-cum-sentry; he reads a book by Topsy Kretts (get it?); he starts to see the number 23 everywhere -- you almost wish Carrey would break out in full silliness. The dog, the numbers 2 and 3, an empty grave, the two Carreys (supported by two Virginia Madsens) -- it all makes a tacked-on sort of sense at the end, but you'll have long since interest and moved on to headier pursuits. Let's see ... J-i-m has three letters; C-a-r-r-e-y has six which is two times three ... (AH) [capsule review]

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