New York Times - 02/23/2007
"Mr. Schumacher has some fun with special effects, taking us inside the gloomy neo-noir world of the book itself."
Entertainment Weekly - 03/02/2007
"[Carrey] throws himself into blood-bucket acting with a commitment that's scary enough to hold you." -- Grade: B-
In Joel Schumacher's psychological thriller THE NUMBER 23, Jim Carrey takes on another dramatic role. Carrey's character is similar to his roles in THE TRUMAN SHOW and ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND: he portrays an average man thrust into quite extraordinary situations after a series of strange events cause him to question everything he's ever taken for granted. On his birthday, Walter Sparrow is given a mysterious and tattered book called THE NUMBER 23 by his loving wife, Agatha (Virginia Madsen). As Walter reads the book, he quickly notices its alarming similarities to his own life. Rather than stop reading, he continues, unknowingly inviting the book to take over his life. The deeper Walter gets into the plot, the more he sees himself in its protagonist, Fingerling, whom we see through highly stylized sequences in which Carrey appears as the seedy detective character. Madsen is also present in these scenes, cast as Fingerling's pain-loving girlfriend Fabrizia. As Fingerling and Fabrizia's love affair inches towards its fiery conclusion, we learn the role the number 23 has played in their story and will play in Walter's future if he cannot keep his growing obsession with it at bay. While Carrey and Madsen are adept at playing a man gone mad and a headstrong wife in crisis, they are most fascinating as their dark counterparts, and Schumacher succeeds in creating a truly intoxicating noirish underworld of sex and death through those sequences.