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Overall I think this movie is a little underrated and deserves a solid score and I'd strongly recommend seeing this once
kevin_robbins1 July 2021
The Number 23 (2007) is a movie I recently watched on Tubi. The storyline follows a family that becomes fascinated by a unique book. The husband as he reads the book finds he can uniquely relate to many aspects of the storyline and begins thinking the book is about him. His wife tries to keep him from ruining their family with his obsession but the more he digs the more he appears to be losing his mind.... This movie is directed by Joel Schumacher (A Time to Kill) and stars Jim Carey (Ace Venture), Virginia Madsen (Candyman), Danny Huston (The Aviator) and Corey Stoll (Ant-man). The storyline for this is very clever and intricate. I absolutely loved seeing Carey in this role and don't think they could have picked a better leading actor. The script was very good and Carey delivered a very relatable character. The murder mystery aspects were fairly intense and you have doubts right up till the end of the movie. I also loved how this movie concluded, very smart. Overall I think this movie is a little underrated and deserves a solid 8/10 score and I'd strongly recommend seeing this once.
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(23 - 23) + 23 = ?
jack_o_hasanov_imdb8 August 2021
It's interesting to see Jim Carrey in such a role, I think he did a good job. When I watched it for the first time, I was a teenager and I was amazed, it's not a "wow" movie but I think you will enjoy watching it.
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Still waiting for Carrey to relaunch his career as a drama actor
bhester080613 August 2021
Carrey KILLS it in this movie. He was perfect for the role and acted the hell out of it. I just know one of these days he's going to have a career renaissance and come back as a serious actor and knock everyone's socks off.
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A Great Tale of Obsession, Paranoid and Redemption
claudio_carvalho1 September 2007
Walter Sparrow (Jim Carrey) is a family-man married with Agatha Sparrow (Virginia Madsen), and works catching dogs in the Department of Animal Control and has a teenager son very close to his wife and him. On the day of his birthday, he is bitten by a dog and comes late to meet Agatha. While waiting for him, Agatha buys a detective book with a novel about the mystery around the number 23 in a bookstore as a gift to Walther. He becomes captivated with the story and obsessed with the number 23, finding many coincidences with his own life, and he decides to find the author, believing the story is about him. His further investigation discloses a mysterious situation that makes Walther paranoid.

The dark "The Number 23" is a great tale of obsession, paranoid and redemption. The story and the characters are very well developed, the final twist is totally unexpected and the film has a stylish cinematography and edition, with intense use of dark colors. There are stunning sequences, like for example when the boy meets the widow dead on her bed, or the meeting of Fingerling with Suicide Blonde. Jim Carrey is perfect and Virginia Madsen is still a very beautiful and sexy woman and has a great performance. In spite of having a moralist conclusion, it works and leaves a magnificent message of justice and moral standards that are almost forgotten in the present days. My vote is eight.

Title (Brazil): "Número 23" ("Number 23")
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freaky and cool
Fever6 September 2007
The trouble with many actors that do only a particular type of film, is that once they go outside of their box, it's just too weird. This is true to Jim Carrey. We've become so accustomed to his comedy flicks that this throws us off guard. I kept waiting for him to crack jokes, but they never came. This is a true drama/thriller that keeps you guessing until the end.

Carrey plays a man who starts reading a book that more and more sound like it was written just for him. Then strange occurrences of the number 23 keep popping up and the story gets weirder and weirder. But trust me, stick with it--the twist is a jaw dropper.

I have to say it was a bit odd to see Carrey in the sex scenes-- I kept waiting for him to jump up and say "ssssssmokin!!!" I thought overall it was a great movie.
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It's a fine two-act movie. But that third act
samseescinema21 February 2007
Warning: Spoilers
The Number 23 reviewed by Samuel Osborn

Psychological thrillers are a tough gig. You need an ending. The build-up, the suspense, the rising action, all that squirmy paranoia, it's easy enough to build. It's the ending that's the tricky part. Films like Memento do it right; films like Fight Club, too. Their twist, the unraveled knot of anxiety that splays out in explanation and relief, comes with another bulge of knots; it leaves you breathless and troubled, disturbed if you're lucky. But without the ending, without the final flick in the nose and punch in the gut, a psycho-thriller is just a bunch of untied shoelaces.

This is the affliction born to The Number 23. It's a fine two-act movie. But that third act…with the climax all flaccid and the end a noiseless wheeze, it leaves us with that let-down feeling of something promising turned instantly to a sham. I won't give the ending away, but suffice it to say that it's summed up by the word "typical." Commonplace is the ending. And commonplace is somewhere The Number 23 has no business being.

The rest of the film is a good one; a fine looking few rolls of celluloid, in fact. Jim Carrey plays the lead, still rounding off the sharper edges of his comedy and reminding us happily of Tom Hanks' move from comedy to drama. He's a hopelessly likable actor paired gracefully with Virginia Madsen, who plays Carrey's wife and mother to his teenage son. The family lives comfortably under Agatha's (Madsen) cake shop and Walter's (Carrey) job as an animal control officer. The paranoia enters like a whisper, as feckless and unassuming as director Joel Schumacher can stand.

The famously melodramatic director is often thought of as the second-string choice for any theatrical film-making, just behind the dramatic grandmaster Baz Luhrmann (Moulin Rouge!). Schumacher revels in colors and camera tricks, over-saturating and under-saturating his images until they're hardly recognizable. The effect here is controlled, but not empty of pizazz.

The book Agatha finds (or does it find her?) when waiting for Walter outside a used bookshop is "The Number 23" by Topsy Kretts. Walter opens the novel on his day off, gorging himself on the minutiae of its hardboiled detective hero and fantasizing himself in the lead role. Schumacher indulges Walter further, fancying "The Number 23's" Detective Fingerling as a slippery-haired Mr. Carrey in a cheap suit and a dry growl. Much of the story is actually told within the novel itself, with Fingerling getting lost in the numerology surrounding the number 23 and slipping towards the inevitability of murder. Back in reality, Walter is finding uncanny resemblances between Fingerling and himself. It's as if, he once mentions, the author knows him better than he does. Agatha writes it off as an effect of good literature, but reconsiders when she finds scribbled numerology on Walter's arm one morning with the underlined words "Kill Her." He's begun to see the number everywhere. It's in his name, his social security number, his birth date, and even the day he and Agatha first met. His paranoia, once a whisper, is now a screech, and he worries for the safety of his own family.

Stop there. Just stop the film, put down your popcorn and walk away. Because that's as good as The Number 23 will get. The bouncy humor, the family drama, the rise in paranoia, the fascination in 23, it all works up until here. But it's as if Screenwriter Fernley Phillips lost the thread. It was unraveling with speed and machismo, promising to tower upwards in a great final disturbance. But instead it turned inward and ricocheted blindly backwards. Instead of opening up the throttle and letting the number have real meaning and significance, Phillips turns the plot inward and shells up the climax with a muffled grunt.

Samuel Osborn
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Just because you're paranoid....
Simmy4128 February 2007
Warning: Spoilers
9/11 2001, 9+11+2+1= 23, JFK was killed on November 22, 1963 2+2=4 and 1+9+6+3=19 and 19+4= 23, Caesar was stabbed 23 times, and so on so forth.

Whether you think it's a coincidence or not it's still pretty cool and Joel Schumacher's the Number 23 wouldn't have been half as interesting without his knowledge.

The film follows Walter (Jim Carey) as his life starts to be consumed paranoia as he claims the number 23 is haunting him. He comes to this conclusion whilst reading a book, the Number 23 which he draws parallels with the main character's upbringing and his own childhood. The only problem being, said main character a detective Fingerling kills his lovely girlfriend. As everything in the book already mirrors Walters past, why shouldn't it mirror his future also? Worried that he'll kill his wife, Walter attempts to track down the author before it's too late.

Though it's easy to throw insults at Schumacher (Batman and Robin anyone?) he is good at thrillers being at the helm of Falling Down and Phone Booth. Here he delivers again. True, the ending may be a little drawn out and may not be to everyone's taste, however Carey's performance is once again proof that the rubber faced actor can indeed, well…act. It's just a shame that with every serious performance by Carey, critics scrutinise his performance because it isn't comedy. Have they seen the Truman Show, Eternal Sunshine….people? Carey can act. And Schumacher can direct, the only problem here is the plot isn't that strong, with the twist maybe feeling a little anticlimactic. Still it's an enjoyable film and may have you looking for the number 23 yourself when you leave the cinema.
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Unusual Mystical Neo-Noir…Stylish Sleeper…Fringy Fun
LeonLouisRicci31 July 2016
An Off-Beat, Stylish, and Engaging Mystery-Thriller that was Universally Panned and Gutted by Most Critics. But it Contains so Much in such a Flashy Template that the Artistic Flourishes almost Dominate the Proceedings. Almost.

The Numerological Mystique is Debated in Egghead and Supernatural Circles and the Number 23 is often Cited as a Recurring "Coincidence" that can't be Ignored. William S. Burroughs, the "Beat" Author was Fascinated by it.

Jim Carrey is quite Good and Director Joel Schumacher is in His Cranked Up Mode, and some of His Work Reminds of Brian De Palma. Both go to Unusual Heights to make Movies that are Beautifully Bizarre the way They use the Tools of the Medium to Entertain Visually, sometimes it's Overwhelming but Artistic.

This is a Sleeper of a Movie that Invites Multiple Viewings to fully Wrap Your Head around all the References concerning Numerology, specifically the Number 23. The Film's Modern Style is Dreamlike and Surreal, Exploiting the Garish "Primitive Art" of those Detective Mags and Paperbacks often containing Lurid and Brightly Colored Covers that Matches the Seedy Contents.

A Good Supporting Cast all Help bring this one Home and the Journey getting there is a lot of Guilty Pleasure Fun. The Film is Thought Provoking and Interesting in its Fringe Inclusions, but not without Contrivances.

Neo-Noir Fans will Admire its Gritty Surroundings and Crazy Conceits. It's a Film that Explores the Underbelly with Gloomy Atmosphere and Jim Carrey's unusual use of Underplaying the Comedic Lines add some Relief to the Bleak Storyline of Conspiracies, Murder, and a World that Exists on the Edge of the Everyday.
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Average thriller with some open questions
Luigi Di Pilla12 August 2007
I knew when I bought THE NUMBER 23 on DVD that I haven't to expect too much after reading the critics on this link. I watched it with high attention till the end and I have to say that it worked on a fair level as an average thriller. There are some points in this film that weren't logic for me. Anyway, if you have really nothing to do this one offers many mysteries and puzzles to solve but not great suspense. There were perhaps some unnecessary bloody scenes. I was very positive surprised seeing Jim Carrey giving a great and respectable performance in a thriller. I cannot share some opinions that he was misplaced here because he has no doubt a great talent and I can imagine him in other roles of this genre. And director Joel Schuhmacher made finally a better movie than his last ones. Final number: 6/10.
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Kinda neat, kinda dumb, very sinister but not bad
Samiam330 August 2009
I can't say that either Jim Carrey or Joel Schumacher have done anything impressive lately, but they do an okay job here. The number 23 is strangely entertaining. With its moody tone, its claustrophobic and haunting photography, its convoluted storytelling, and a lot of walls defaced with black ink, the movie frequently resembles John Carpenter's In the Mouth of Madness. This one is not quite as creative, and even though it occasionally gets clumsy, the film is fairly intriguing and might be worth checking out if you like scary thrillers.

Jim Carrey is Walter Sparrow, a mild mannered dog catcher who has a nice family and a dull life. On Chrismas week, his wife buys him a strange memoir entitled 'The number 23'. Sparrow is a little sceptic at first, but once he starts to read he quickly gains interest, and is surprised to discover that the story has remarkable resemblance to his own life. One aspect in particular has gotten his attention. Sparrow starts to notice the number 23 itself appear everywhere, in dates, names, times... It gets him quite excited. Soon however, this hysteria will take him down a dark road as he seeks to find out the truth about what is really going on. What does the number mean? who wrote the novel? and what does it have to do with him?

The funny thing about the movie, is that the whole 23 concept ends up being kind of eluding and irrelevant. It feels like little more than a plot element to throw the viewer off track so we cannot figure out the movie before it is ready to give us the climactic twist. Depending on how focused you are on the picture, it may or may not work. The ending is strangely predicable in a way, although not too blatantly.

I can't say much for the acting (esspecially Carrey) but the cinematography and music are quite eccentric. There are times when the Number 23 feels like a cross between a Jazzy scored film-noir and a comic book.

I guess in the end, the movie could use a little work, but of course nothing is perfect. Try it and see what it does for you. It's not 2 bad3 .
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Watchable, not Wonderful
falkar24 February 2007
There has been a great deal of critical scorn directed at 'The Number 23', which almost made me rethink my decision to see it, despite finding the concept very enticing, being impressed by the promotional materials, and generally liking Joel Schumacher as a director (yes, Batman and Robin was awful, but he's directing some very good films like The Client, Phone Booth and The Lost Boys) And after seeing the finished product, I find myself asking why the knives are out for the film. Now, I'm not saying this is a brilliant film, because it isn't. It's rather easy to guess the plot twists, the script does tend to patronise the viewer and the final segment of the film casually abandons the central premise in favour of a more generic 'mystery' storyline. But I found quite a few things to like about the movie, such as strong performances from Jim Carrey and Virginia Madsen, very stylish direction and (for most of the movie)a genuine undercurrent of tension as the events unfold. It's not going to be remembered as a highlight on the careers of anyone involved, but if you enjoyed conspiracy theory novels such as The Da Vinci Code or shows like the X-Files, you are more likely to see past the critics and enjoy this film.

Final Score 6 (which is 2x3)/10
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A Strange, Dark Psychological Thriller
saintonge15 October 2009
I watched this by accident. I was looking for another movie, a comedy about a man who thinks he's a character in a novel (which turns out to be STRANGER THAN FICTION). Comedy, Jim Carrey, I thought this had to be it. I was wrong, and boy, am I glad I goofed.

Carrey plays Walter Sparrow, a fairly ordinary-seeming man, an animal control officer whose wife Aggie (played by Virginia Madsen) happens to buy him what seems to be the only copy of a self-published novel, THE NUMBER 23. But as Walter reads the book, the story of a homicide detective named Fingerling, he finds the character reminding him of himself. As he reads of the character Fingerling's descent into obsession and madness, he becomes increasingly disturbed himself, and goes hunting for the pseudononymous author, determined to find out what it all means. The answer uncovers a dark secret involving a murder committed over a decade ago, and alters the lives of Walter and his family permanently.

I won't say more, it would give away too much, but I found this wonderfully acted, beautifully written, and altogether involving. Carrey excellently plays both Walter Sparrow and Dec. Fingerling (in scenes from the novel shown as Carrey reads it), Madsen shines as loving housewife Aggie and novel character Fabrizia, and the supporting players turn in excellent performances, particularly Lynn Collins as the novel character Suicide Blond. The photography is frequently dark and threatening, which fits the plot, the sets are marvelous, and the climax is perfect.

I hope Carrey does more serious roles. This movie proves he's not just a funny rubber face.
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Not exploited enough
bsinc3 June 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Like this year's "Next" with Nicholas Cage I can't stop but feel this movie had so much more to offer. Although the execution of the movie was somewhat superior to "Next", they both follow a really similar storyline AND they both failed to use what was laying around their backyards.

I missed those goose-bumpy feelings, the ones I get when something falls so perfectly into place that it simply couldn't have been done any better...after all "The number 23" is a thriller, and the 3rd act is always the most important...Sadly, the end result is too Hollywood for my taste, the idea of somebody writing a book and forgetting about it is pretty interesting, but it could have been done much better.

I missed more explanation behind the "infamous" number 23 itself, how it came to be, why it would pop out on every corner of human history etc, after all the movie revolves around it, and the whole ordeal simply felt just like an excuse to make a story for a movie...Sadly, it remained so throughout the whole movie.

I missed more of Jim Carrey's book narration, to me the absolute best part of this movie was when he starts reading it and narrates us through the author's words...that's when the movie really got my attention...Sadly, the remainder of the book doesn't come anywhere near these moments and looks and feels like about a gazillion other popular movies with flashbacks.

A movie, that like "Next" could have been a masterpiece had it been done 20-40 years ago by a more daring crew of filmmakers, a movie that like "Next" failed to explore the very interesting topic it imposes on us (quite stupid really) and a movie, that like "Next" bombed at the Box office....Destiny...?;)

MY MORAL OF THE STORY: A potentially good story for a movie is surprisingly rare to come by these days. The right people should know that it should be treated with the utmost care by a far superior director
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Far Better Story Than the Consensus Let On
gavin694230 September 2007
Jim Carrey stars as a man who discovers a book with striking similarities to his own life. He becomes obsessed with the book and its fascination with the number 23. Eventually, he discovers the book is not a story at all but a confession of a real-life murder, and the second half of the film deals with him trying to find the author of the book (the killer).

When this came out in theaters, I was mildly interested in it. More for the number 23 than for the story or Jim Carrey. Numerology is an interesting thing, and while I don't believe in it I find it can be played out very well in films. This film is no exception -- the writer made sure to fully cover the obsession with the number as well as the rational explanation of how it can appear so often in the natural world. I appreciate the second part especially.

Many people, I think, were afraid of Carrey taking on a serious role. He does have a difficult time being perceived as serious by fans, and even I thought he seemed unnatural. Don't get me wrong -- "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" is an amazing movie, and Carrey was wonderful in it. Here, too, he comes across as dramatic and dark -- a raw, sexual beast with a shady past. I never expected a Carrey of this magnitude and it's a nice change.

Tom Lenk shows up briefly, as a book store clerk. Every time I see Lenk I feel bad -- he always gets one or two lines in his movies, but never a leading role. Please, Hollywood, this is a funny man. If not a main character ,at least give hi ma supporting role that really adds to the story. If Seth Rogen and Paul Rudd can make movies where they just show up and make crack comments (thank you, Judd Apatow) then so can Lenk.

This movie has some twists and turns and doesn't really pick up until they begin to track the killer. Even then, it twists and turns some more. I suppose some people could have predicted the ending or a few of the twists, but I didn't. And that really impressed me -- an ending that made sense and was not foreseen. Sure, some parts stretch the imagination and reality a little bit, but nothing seemed impossible.

I found this to be one of the better thrillers or semi-horror (if we use horror very loosely) films to come out in 2007. Over all, this has been a disappointing year. Other than, say, "Vacancy" I really wasn't all that impressed. So, this might be the drink of fresh water some people had been waiting for. I know I was pleasantly surprised and impressed, and I hope you will be, too.
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Red. Blood Red.
hitchcockthelegend24 July 2013
The Number 23 is directed by Joel Schumacher and written by Fernley Phillips. It stars Jim Carrey, Virginia Madsen, Logan Lerman, Danny Huston, Lynn Collins and Rhona Mitra. Music is by Harry Gregson-Williams and cinematography by Matthew Libatique.

Walter Sparrow (Carrey) becomes obsessed with a novel that he comes to believe is written about him. As his obsession increases and the number 23 comes into play, the similarities arise and danger lurks at every corner.

Topsy Kretts at A Novel Fate.

A tough film to recommend with confidence, as the most divisive critical notices would suggest, The Number 23 is for some a genuinely intriguing movie with style to burn. The complex narrative structure, visual styles, gumshoe type narration and nods to classic era noir movies, certainly makes this more of interest to noir fans than your average horror/thriller seeker. The premise of the 23 enigma is quite a hook, especially for the conspiracy theorists out there, while the blending of paranoia and distortion of reality really puts a bleakness over the plotting to keep it edgy. Unfortunately much of it doesn't hold up under scrutiny, big leaps of faith are needed and the finale fizzles out in a whimper. But mostly it's thought provoking for the right reasons.

Suicide Blonde.

Visually it's a most arresting piece. The present world inhabited by Walter and his family is filled with bold reds and greens, while his flashback world, where he is detective Fingerling, is full of oblique decor, high contrast lighting and skewed angles. Carrey came in for some criticism, but he sits the role(s) well, especially as Walter's mind starts to fracture. Everyone else is up to scratch with par performances, while Williams provides a score that mixes eerie foreboding with the rumbles of psychological unease. There's much strange about the whole production, a sort of trippy/feverish dream where the editing jolts you out of the comfort zone and begs you to be involved in solving the mystery of The Number 23.

Not for everyone, obviously, and it asks a lot of forgiveness for its faults. Yet there is a better film here than I was led to believe it was. Perhaps for you as well? 7/10
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Nice performance by Jim Carrey.
manendra-lodhi30 July 2012
It was a full time pass movie. You will not feel sleepy at any time. Just one simple idea of the film related to the number 23 was absurd. In whole of the movie Jim Carrey was shown obsessed with the number 23. And that he was relating everything in his life to that number but some comparisons were really absurd because you can apply a number of permutations and combinations to get to your number. And that was the weakest point in the film. Keeping that aside if you would look into the story than it is nice. Talking about the acting, Jim Carrey as Walter has certainly done his job properly but another thing that looked unnecessary was the involvement of his son – Robin , which was I think to make up the movie a little bit longer. He really had not much to do. The movie is watchable because of a nice performance by Jim Carrey however average was the script.

VERDICT: "A recommended watch."
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Not bad, but it could have been better.
theshadow90826 February 2007
Warning: Spoilers
The Number 23 tells the story of a man who starts to read a book called The Number 23, about a detective who begins to go crazy connecting the number 23 to everything, eventually ending with the detective committing murder. This scares the man because he finds a large amount of points in the book that mirror his own life. He himself begins to go crazy with the number, and as he reads on, he finds that there is more mystery involved with the book's origins than he could ever imagine. This is a well made, entertaining film, but it fell flat towards the end.

First off, this movie is made very well. The visual style of it is very dark and Gothic which was kind of cool. The scenes depicting what was happening in the book were awesome. They had a kind of surrealistic tone to them which was cool. It looked kind of like film noir which made it look really good. The movie was a pretty good mystery once the main character begins looking for a killer that's on the loose. Unfortunately, the movie just isn't that creepy. Some of the things said about 23 are a little chilling, but it just seems pushed and overused in some parts. This movie, like most of its kind, has a twist ending. Though I won't say what the big twist is, I suppose I can say without giving anything away for sure that it's a highly overused and clichéd twist ending that I was unable to find surprising due to the fact that I've seen it done so many times. In my opinion, the movie was pretty good right up until the last, oh let's say, 23 minutes.

Jim Carrey's performance was surprisingly good. I usually don't like it when he plays a serious role, but because there was a few humorous points, this role seemed to suit him. His performance as the detective in the novel was actually really cool. Everybody else's performances were just okay.

Overall, this was a cool, well made movie that kind of fell apart in the end. There was definitely room for improvement.

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The Number 23!
beermonsteruk27 May 2020
I remember when this film came out in 2007 but for some reason I didn't see it at the time, then i stumbled across it many years later in a cheap dvd store so grabbed it, I like Jim Carrey as a comic actor but as this was billed as a horror i was intrigued to see how he'd fare in this.

Carrey stars as Walter Sparrow, a rather goofy, likeable animal control officer, and when he is bitten by a dog called Ned (which Sparrow comically refers to as nasty evil dog) it caused him to be late while meeting his wife in a bookstore, she then advises him to read a fairly old, scrappy looking book called "The Number 23", by Topsy Krets, so he does and is soon enthralled by the book, noting similarities between his own life, including the name/nickname of the books main character, "Fingerling".

The more Walter reads of the story he comes across a character called "the suicide blonde", who explains that the number 23 is cursed and appears everywhere around her, as he reads this, Walter too becomes obsessed with the number, as well as the main character, who he is convinced is somehow about him, his wife dismisses the idea but his son seems to agree with him and Walter is determined to find out more as well as track down the elusive Topsy Kretts, who it seems has no other body of work except for the novel Walter is reading, and a clerk at a bookstore, finds no information on Kretts.

As the story unfolds, it appears there is more to the whole story than meets the eye, as dark turns and twists occur, and we get an insight into Walters past, and just why he thinks the novel is somehow based on his life.

The film for me definitely lost a bit of steam as it went on, the constant flashes of Walter, as fingerling interacting with characters in the book became somewhat distracting after a while, and the more you learned about 23 it kind of took away the mystery, however the film was enjoyable in parts, and I did enjoy Carreys performance, even though I kept thinking he'd go full on rubberface mode (he didn't), it bought some humour into a somewhat bleak story.

Overall this film wasn't that good, but it was decent and I did thoroughly enjoy the first half hour or so, and I don't regret watching it I wouldn't go too far out of my way to endorse either.

6/10 Very mild recommendation.
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The Number 23
rajdoctor10 June 2007
I like Jim Carrey, not because he is a comedian, but because he emerged as a serious actor in attempting to select good roles that will give him the variety of dimensions to display his talent.

The story of the movie is about a happy married man Walter Sparrow (Jim Carrey) and his wife Agatha (Virginia Madsen) and son Robin (Logan Lerman). One day as a gift his wife presents him with a novel The Number 23. On reading it Walter realizes the similarities the novel has with his life. The novel turns out to be a thriller with a murder mystery. Walter gets engaged into the paranoia of number 23 and tries to find a running parallel in real life to identify the characters and solve the murder mystery. Like a detective Walter traces the murderer and unknown writer of the novel. One clue leads to another, and another – until the end, the real murderer is exposed. I won't tell you the secret. Just a clue that the novel is written by someone named Topsy Eret.

The narrative of the movie is a bit puzzling, and I think the Director Joel Schumacher must have intentionally worked on it that way. Why I say this is because after the movie got over, I had the urge to see the movie again to understand the early half properly, and get more clarity in why the story is told in this manner and how the events are unfolded. But will I go and see the movie again, not really.

The movie is good, but not brilliant. It eclipse on the fringe areas of brilliance but falls shorts due to its direction. In the past Joel Schumacher has struggled to make commercially successful movie even with a good storyline on his hand. Here too he flounders. The saving grace of this thriller is one and only – Jim Carrey, who carries the whole burden of this movie on his shoulder, and makes us believe in the magical number 23.

After seeing the movie, I remembered my Dad who has paranoia of number 5. The amazing past time my Dad and Mom together had was when they found ways to add, subtract, multiply and divide any number to arrive at an answer that was 5. It is a unique ability and obviously paranoia. But it is amusing.

The same paranoia has been presented here with a mysterious thriller storyline. To some extend the director achieves success to telling us this novel story of number 23.

Jim Carrey looks haggard with age, but has played the character brilliantly. Virginia Madsen and Logan Lerman have acted decently but nothing worth historic to mention here.

Go and see it if you are a Jim Carrey fan or if you have a fascination for NUMBERS, both ways you will enjoy this movie.

(Stars 6 out of 10)
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I can find yet another loose connection to 23.
lee_eisenberg29 July 2007
OK, "The Number 23" features Jim Carrey in another dark role. This time, he plays dog catcher Walter Sparrow, feeling sort of uncomfortable with his job. His wife Agatha (Virginia Madsen) gives him a book with the same title as the movie. It not only tells a story which seems eerily similar to Walter's life, but also identifies various things relating to 23. As Walter reads further, he begins to sink into madness, worrying that the number might be more than a number.

The movie has an interesting plot - I must admit, I never knew that all those things related to 23 - although it seems silly at times (now that I think about it, the ending was a little predictable). I mean, anyone can find numeric patterns if s/he searches hard enough, and it could just as easily be a complete delusion. But more than anything, I like the sinister setting and Carrey's nearly deadpan expression throughout the movie. It does make you wonder whether or not 23 might hold the answer to anything in your own life. Worth seeing, if only once.

Oh, and the other loose connection to 23? The movie was filmed in Cocoa Beach, Florida. Cocoa Beach was the setting for "I Dream of Jeannie". "IDOJ" star Barbara Eden's birthday is August 23.
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A Great Surprise!
phoenix_slayer20013 March 2007
After reading many of the reviews on here I had doubts about this movie. As I watched and the end was clearly in sight I was worried because many reviews on here said the ending was the worst part. However, in my surprised amazement it worked quite well. I liked how the movie doesn't seem to have a single plot as the movie rolls on, but I thought this is what made it great, keeping you guessing all the time.

Another great thing was the characters had very well defined personae. Each approaching the story with different views and not always doing the predictable thing.

What makes this movie even greater is the fact that it had such poor reviews because when you go to see a movie with high expectations and it doesn't live up to them it will always render a poor personal rating of the movie, but when the movie is given bad reviews or is overlooked and turns out well it seems much better.

Though the movie was quite good, it will probably have little affect on Jim Carrey's career simply because it is not his typical role and it is unlikely he will land another role like this one in a movie that is just as good.
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The_Defiant13 March 2007
Warning: Spoilers
This movie has no respect for the viewer's time. It takes a 15 minute story and stretches it into 95 minutes. In order to achieve this, they have to use a very slow narration and have everyone run around with some implausible frantic angst. By the time this movie showed anything interesting in the plot, I just didn't care. The problem is not in the acting, but instead the pacing. The story is just weak. Jim Carrey is a capable actor, but his attempts to inject light humor into a serious role is just out of place. His style of humor is not generic, so he comes across as a watered down version of himself. The number 23 causes great grief and frustration to the people in the story, but the justification for this is never logical. At most it's just mildly interesting. Jim Carrey has far more ability in a serious role than this movie reveals. Don't waste your money seeing this in the theater. Rent this movie if you've had problems sleeping. If you are still wide awake after 10 minutes, then you liked it more than I did. I was not fond of the lighting and artistic aspects of the film making either. A lot of passive visual eye candy was thrown at the viewer with lighting or effects and it did little to enhance the already weak story.
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WOW! OMG! This is an awesome movie!
ajaws4ever30 January 2007
I just saw a sneak peek of this movie at the mall yesterday and I couldn't believe it. I thought this would be an awesome movie since the first time I saw the trailer, but I was wrong. The Number 23 was not an awesome movie...IT WAS UTTERLY FANTASTIC! And it was scary, too. The plot line is very well thought out and unsettling, and the characters are very complex in their own ways.

The Number 23 is about an animal control officer named Walter Sparrow, that receives a birthday gift from his wife, Agatha Sparrow. The birthday gift is a book that's called, 'The Number 23'. But the first word he reads from the book changes his once placid existence into a whirlpool of psychological torture and mayhem that could possibly lead him to his own death and the deaths of his loved ones. 'The Number 23' book Walter receives is a chilling murder mystery that seems to mirror Walter's life in dark and uncontrollable ways. The life of the book's main character, a brooding detective named Fingerling (also played by Jim Carrey), is filled with moments that copy Walter's own history. And as the world of the book starts to come alive, Walter becomes infected by the most frightening part of it: Fingerling's dark obsession with the number 23. This obsession permeates the book, and soon the book begins to control Walter in dark ways. He soon starts to see the number everywhere in his own life and becomes haunted by the fact that he is damned to commit the same horrific crime as Fingerling--murder. Now Walter is on a dangerous quest to understand the mysteries of the book. If he can unlock the dark power of the number 23, he may just be able to change his future.

Anyway, this movie is awesome. The use of colors: reds, browns, and blacks really set the hazy and unsettling tone of the movie. Also, the Fingerling sequences were really hazy and dark and they make you seem as though you're floating in the depths of hell.

Joel Schumacher, the director, finally did something original, and this is a movie that is way better than his badly directed, 'Batman and Robin'. He finally made an improvement. And this is his 23rd project...just wanted to say.

Virginia Madsen (Agatha Sparrow, Fabrizia) got better than her parts in Firewall and Candyman. Her acting in Firewall was better than in Candyman, and her acting in The Number 23 was better than both movies.

Everyone else was quite good, too.

Oh, and, the opening credits were unbelievably unforgettable! The music is so unsettling and creative. The opening credits for 'The Number 23' is the brother of the opening credits of 'Se7en'. Absolutely awesome!

All in all, a really creepy and unsettling (and funny, for the first half of the movie) that gives you the chills after you walk out of the theater.

Official MPAA rating: R: Violence, Disturbing Images, Sexuality, and Language

My MPAA rating: R: Violence, Disturbing Images, Sexuality, and Some Strong Language

My Canadian rating: 14A: Violence, Mature Theme, Sexually Suggestive Scenes
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It's everywhere ... and nowhere
kosmasp27 March 2022
If you want to see something ... you are seeing that thing ... you so desperately want to see. But does it mean it does not exist? Or are you just hyper aware of it? There are so many conspiracies when it comes to the number 23 ... it is kinda crazy ... no pun intended.

Jim Carrey in a more serious role, which I think back then was quite the shocker. Even more so than the twist this movie holds out for us. Quite certain a lot more than that ... because the twist sort of negates a lot of what did work before .. it's like ... well that all didn't really matter then, now did it? Having said that, there are some very fine scenes ... and the suspense is high enough to hold through from start to finish ... cut it some slack and suspend your disbelief ... and you are good to go ... now count the letters, I typed, divide them through 23 and the result will be? Exactly ... actually I have no idea, but still ... exactly ... all kidding aside, this is a decent thriller that wastes it potential and what it had going for it towards the end ... shame, but it doesn't ruin the whole thing either.
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Carrey shines through, The Number 23 is a winner
theLPgoonie23 February 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Isn't it funny that most of the people how had a problem with this movie and rated it badly can't explain why? And it's not just this movie, it's every bad review, everywhere. I just can't understand that. The only thing I see is people saying the ending was terrible, but not even explaining why they thought so. Weird...

So before you go and get all disappointed over the bad reviews, and ignore all of the 'OMG B3$T M0V!E EVAR!'s, here is the level-headed review you were looking for.

The bottom line is this, it was an all around good movie. It accomplished exactly what it set out to do, be an entertaining thriller. You will read all of these people talk about how it was so predictable and terrible, and yeah, if you are an avid movie goer, you will probably pick apart most of it like I did. But for the average movie goer? You'll love it.

Jim Carrey proves once again that he can pull off a serious role, just like he has before(Eternal Sunshine, Truman Show), and he really is the focus of the film. His performance makes this film possible, without it, blah. Virginia Madsen also does a great job as Carrey's wife, loving, protective, the whole sha-bang. There is also great chemistry throughout the film between Carrey, Madsen, and their 'son', Logan Lerman. This film successfully uses the entire family through the movie to a degree few movies can imitate.

And also, despite what others might say, you can feel a connection to Carrey's character, who becomes obsessed with the number 23. I doubt a number has ruined most of our lives, but there have been times everyone has been through were some weird coincidence seems to keep occurring, so Carrey's flight rings true.

When the film turns into a good murder mystery, you really get your dollars worth. Because this movie was meant to entertain. It was meant to be a popcorn flick. Not the 'Movie of the Year', and as such, it excels. Even the end of the film, when the great question is revealed, it is nice to see it all played out in front of you, and you can really start to see Carrey's inner struggle.

Some of the lines are way cheesy, and the acting by some of the supporting roles are passable at best. And there are times when Joel Schumacher reminds you of what kind of director he really is (Batman & Robin, D.C. Cab), but amazing cinematography and Carrey's performance, as well as the intriguing story/concept, pushes you past all of that.

Bottom Line: It is worth seeing on the silver screen, and unless you are way overly critical about things having to be the exact way you want them, you shouldn't be disappointed.

Because we all know that on the ride home, no matter what, you'll be adding up your phone number, or analyzing your birthday, to see if you are cursed as well.

I was born on the 23rd! Oh Noes!
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