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"THE NUMBER 23"
(2007) (Jim Carrey, Virginia Madsen) (R)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Mild Extreme Extreme *Moderate Extreme
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Moderate Mild Heavy None Extreme
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Extreme Mild Heavy Moderate Extreme


QUICK TAKE:
Suspense/Thriller: A dogcatcher becomes obsessed with a book about a character obsessed with the number 23 after finding too many similarities between his life and that of the supposedly fictitious character.
PLOT:
Walter Sparrow (JIM CARREY) is a generally happy family man -- with wife Agatha (VIRGINIA MADSEN) they have a teenage son Robin (LOGAN LERMAN) -- who's rather bored with his job working for the Department of Animal Control. His attempts to capture a loose dog by the name of Ned, however, will forever change his life. Since he's late to meet Agatha, she ducks into a bookstore where she picks up the short novel, "The Number 23," a story of obsession about that particular integer and the way it repeatedly shows up and affects the story's characters.

She reads but doesn't think much of it, handing it off to Walter who has a much different reaction. And that's not only because he also starts seeing many things -- his driver's license and social security numbers, for instance -- that add up to or are somehow related to that number, but also due to him finding similarities between his life and that of the book's protagonist.

He's Fingerling (JIM CARREY), a seedy gumshoe who's having a fling with the seductive Fabrizia (VIRGINIA MADSEN) who's into faux rough sex. When not tying her up, he's out trying to stop Isabel, a.k.a. the Suicide Blonde (LYNN COLLINS) from living up to her name. It turns out her obsession with the number 23 -- that he discusses with Dr. Miles Phoenix (DANNY HUSTON) -- eventually segues over to Fingerling, eventually creating an obsession that threatens to destroy him just like all who've preceded him.

Back in the real world, Walter similarly becomes obsessed with the number, eventually leading to Agatha's teacher friend, Isaac French (DANNY HUSTON), trying to debunk myths about its believed supernatural significance. With repeated encounters with Ned leading to the gravesite of 23-year-old Laura Tollins (RHONA MITRA) and the man convicted of killing her, Kyle Finch (MARK PELLEGRINO), Walter tries to find out what's really occurring, an answer that will have repercussions that will jolt his world and existence in it.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
If they're fans of Carrey, anyone else in the cast, or supernatural type thrillers, they just might.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: R
For violence, disturbing images, sexuality and language.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
Note: The following initial character attributes do not give away the twist at the end of the film.
  • JIM CARREY plays a dogcatcher who becomes obsessed with the book and the occurrences of the number 23 in his life. He eventually begins to lose his grip on sanity as his obsession grows. He also plays the seedy detective in the novel who has sex with Fabrizia, uses strong profanity, and similarly becomes obsessed with the number.
  • VIRGINIA MADSEN plays Walter's wife who becomes increasingly concerned about his obsession. She also plays a femme fatale type character from the novel who has sex with Fingerling. She smokes.
  • LOGAN LERMAN plays Walter and Agatha's teenage son who tries to help his dad solve the riddle of the number 23.
  • DANNY HUSTON plays a teacher who tries to debunk the Walter's belief in the supernatural aspects of the number. He also plays a psychiatrist in the novel who has an affair with Fabrizia.
  • LYNN COLLINS plays several characters, most notably a suicidal woman whose obsession with the number has driven her to insanity. She smokes and uses strong profanity.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    The following is a brief summary of the content found in this R-rated suspense/thriller. Profanity consists of at least 10 "f" words, while other expletives and colorful phrases are also uttered. Sexually related dialogue is present, as are various sexual encounters (with movement, brief nudity, and some partial S&M type material).

    Violence includes characters being killed by various means (on and off-screen, including murder and suicide), with varying degrees of bloody results. Those scenes, other moments of peril, and what at times seems like supernatural material might be unsettling, suspenseful or maybe even scary to some viewers.

    Various bad attitudes are present, as is some tense family material, while some smoking and drinking also occur. Some behavior may be enticing for some kids to imitate.

    Should you still be concerned about the film's appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home, you may want to look more closely at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.

    For those prone to visually induced motion sickness, there are varying amounts of camera movement throughout the film.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • Walter asks Robin why he's acting weird and then jokingly asks if he has drugs on him or has been smoking cigarettes.
  • People hold glasses of wine at a party.
  • The well-known painting of dogs playing poker shows beer and cigars in the work.
  • Isaac walks out with a bottle of wine or liquor and two glasses (for him and Agatha), but Walter returns home, pours himself some, and then drinks it.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • During the opening credits, we see bloodstains on and then growing through various papers, along with some streams, drops, and splatters of blood also appearing on them.
  • Walter slowly approaches a growling dog (to try to catch it with a snare). He eventually succeeds, but the dog bites him on the arm just above his thick gloves, leaving blood on his shirtsleeve.
  • A drop of blood falls onto the pivotal book.
  • In a visualized scene from the novel, young Fingerling finds a dead woman on a bed, clothed and with her eyes open, but bloody from slit wrists. He then imagines seeing artsy views of a man throwing her to the bed and struggling with her there.
  • In a visualized scene from the novel, we see a girl spotting a dead and bloody woman (presumably her mother) on a bed and then her father putting a handgun to his head. We hear but don't see the shot, although the girl does as it occurs right in front of her.
  • In a visualized scene from the novel, a woman's body lands hard on the street from a suicide jump. There's blood on her face as well as pools of blood around her.
  • In a visualized scene from the novel, Fingerling finds a dead and bloody body on the floor and then holds a bloody knife in an evidence bag.
  • In a nightmare, Fingerling comes up behind Fabrizia, holds a knife to her neck, and then slits her throat (with very bloody results). Yet, when she turns to him, she's fine and no cut has been made.
  • From ground level, we see Dr. Phoenix crashing out through a closed window and then falling a long way to his death below (the inference being that Fingerling threw him out of it). There's blood on his body as well as a pool of blood around it.
  • Walter notices blood on his hands at the sink, goes to a bed and finds a bloody knife there, and then pulls back the covers to reveal Agatha dead with blood-soaked pajamas and sheets (this is a nightmare).
  • In the novel, Fabrizia is dead in bed, clothed and very bloody, while Fingerling hides in the closet with some blood on his face.
  • An older man swings a knife repeatedly at Walter and then tries to flee. Walter tackles that man who then slits his own throat with the knife (with bloody results).
  • We see quick, flash images of bloody scenes previously seen in the movie.
  • Walter has some blood on his hand.
  • We see a flashback to Walter's mother, dead and bloody on the bed, with his father then putting a handgun to his head.
  • A man leaps out of a window, and while we don't see the impact, we do see his dead body on the street, with his arm bent behind him and blood on him and the street.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Walter's female coworker comes on to him at a company holiday party, asking if he's single tonight. Despite him showing her his wedding ring, she backs him up against a wall and starts kissing on him.
  • Walter slowly approaches a growling dog (to try to catch it with a snare). During this, he tells the dog a story of a place that turns out to be China where he says they eat dogs (some viewers might not like the reference).
  • When asked what he'd do if he sees the dog (that earlier bit him) again, Walter jokes that he'd accelerate until he heard a thud.
  • In the novel, Fingerling sets up Dr. Phoenix to take the fall for murdering Fabrizia.
  • Agatha tells a white lie to Walter about not finding anything about a suspect in their investigation.
  • Those who murder others obviously have bad attitudes.
  • In the past, a young woman cheats on her boyfriend, resulting in him confronting her with a knife.
  • A wife has a bad attitude for trying to cover for her husband's prior criminal ways.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Scenes listed under "Violence," "Blood/Gore" and "Jump Scenes" may be unsettling, suspenseful, or scary to younger viewers and/or those with low tolerance levels for such material.
  • Walter slowly approaches a growling dog (to try to catch it with a snare). He eventually succeeds, but the dog bites him on the arm just above his thick gloves, leaving blood on his shirtsleeve. He then retrieves what looks like a shotgun (but we later learn is a tranquilizer gun) and pursues the pooch.
  • While in bed, Walter imagines a shadow on the wall of a man raising a knife.
  • In a visualized scene from the novel, we see a woman seemingly dead from hanging herself, but then notice that she's alive, but prepared to commit suicide with a noose around her neck. Like a dime store detective, Fingerling talks her out of doing the deed, but tells her if she's still wanting that, he'll put a bullet between her eyes (showing her the gun in his shoulder holster).
  • In a visualized scene from the novel, we see a girl spotting a dead and bloody woman (presumably her mother) on a bed and then her father putting a handgun to his head. We hear but don't see the shot, although the girl does as it occurs right in front of her.
  • In a nightmare, Fingerling comes up behind Fabrizia, holds a knife to her neck, and then slits her throat (with very bloody results). Yet, when she turns to him, she's fine and no cut has been made.
  • While in bed, Walter imagines the shadow of a man making a repeated stabbing motion with a knife.
  • Agatha finds Walter asleep, with writing on his arm that includes her name and the phrase "Kill her."
  • Among the elements of the number 23 enigma, Isaac tells Walter that if 2 is divided by three, the result is .666, also known as the mark of the Devil.
  • We see a flashback to Suicide Blonde purposefully falling out a window as a suicide leap (seen from within the room -- she disappears out of the shot).
  • From ground level, we see Dr. Phoenix crashing out through a closed window and then falling a long way to his death below (the inference being that Fingerling threw him out of it). There's blood on his body as well as a pool of blood around it.
  • Walter notices blood on his hands at the sink, goes to a bed and finds a bloody knife there, and then pulls back the covers to reveal Agatha dead with blood-soaked pajamas and sheets (this is a nightmare).
  • In the novel, Fabrizia is dead in bed, clothed and very bloody, while Fingerling hides in the closet with some blood on his face.
  • Agatha breaks into and enters a deserted psychiatric hospital at night and then snoops around. A figure then approaches and surprises her from behind (but she's only startled).
  • Reading every 23rd word on every 23rd page of the novel, Walter finds a threatening message in the book.
  • While digging in a park at night, Walter thinks he hears footsteps. He then resumes his digging to unearth a human skull.
  • Spotting the dog that earlier bit him, Walter accelerates toward it in the middle of the road, but Agatha and Robin yell for him to stop. He then slams on the brakes and barely stops right in front of the dog.
  • Trying to get Agatha to admit she wrote the book, Walter holds a kitchen knife in her direction.
  • We see a flashback to Walter's mother, dead and bloody on the bed, with his father then putting a handgun to his head.
  • In the past, a young woman cheats on her boyfriend, resulting in him confronting her with a knife. She then says he's pathetic, just like his father, and then slices him with the knife. He then attacks her with the knife, but we hear more than we see as the door closes. We then see him burying the body at night.
  • A man leaps out of a window, and while we don't see the impact, we do see his dead body on the street, with his arm bent behind him and blood on him and the street.
  • Trying to prove he's not a killer, Agatha tells him to kill her and slaps his face (as he holds something sharp), but he walks away.
  • Walter stands in front of a bus that nearly hits him (he moves or is pulled out of the way just in time).
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Several scenes feature characters holding guns to their heads in suicidal ways.
  • While in bed, Walter imagines a shadow on the wall of a man raising a knife.
  • In a visualized scene from the novel, we see a woman seemingly dead from hanging herself, but then notice that she's alive, but prepared to commit suicide with a noose around her neck. Like a dime store detective, Fingerling talks her out of doing the deed, but tells her if she's still wanting that, he'll put a bullet between her eyes (showing her the gun in his shoulder holster).
  • While in bed, Walter imagines the shadow of a man making a repeated stabbing motion with a knife.
  • Walter notices blood on his hands at the sink, goes to a bed and finds a bloody knife there, and then pulls back the covers to reveal Agatha dead with blood-soaked pajamas and sheets (this is a nightmare).
  • Trying to get Agatha to admit she wrote the book, Walter holds a kitchen knife in her direction.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "How f*cking pitiful they are," "This f*cking number," "Twenty-f*cking-three," "Maybe I should be a f*cking accountant," "F*cking lies," "Are you f*cking insane?" "F*ck it," "I can't believe this sh*t," "Holy sh*t," "Screw the cake" (nonsexual), "Why don't you wag your tail at me in the bitches' room?" "I'm spending an evening in hell," "Freaking," "Jeez," "You're pathetic," "You shut up, bitch," "You're insane," "Nuts" (crazy), "You son of a bitch," "Screws with your mind" and "You're pathetic, just like your father."
  • Fingerling has various tattoos.
  • Various characters commit suicide in the film.
  • Some kids may be enticed to try to find things that add up to 23 or other numbers.
  • Fingerling spits.
  • We see some miscellaneous graffiti.
  • We see that Walter has written all over the walls and other surfaces of a decrepit hotel room.
  • Walter stands in front of a bus that nearly hits him (he moves or is pulled out of the way just in time).
  • JUMP SCENES
  • Walter suddenly bangs a fence with his fist.
  • One or more birds suddenly take flight in front of Agatha.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • A heavy amount of ominous and suspenseful music plays in the film.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 10 "f" words, 7 "s" words, 2 damns, 1 crap, 1 hell, 1 S.O.B., 5 uses of "Oh my God," 2 of "Oh God" and 1 use of "Dear God."
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • A radio dispatcher shows some cleavage.
  • Walter's female coworker comes on to him at a company holiday party, asking if he's single tonight. Despite him showing her his wedding ring, she backs him up against a wall and starts kissing on him. She then asks, "Why don't you wag your tail at me in the bitches' room?" She's referring to the ladies room where the word "bitches" has been written on the door (a joke related to all of them working in animal control), but Walter doesn't do anything.
  • An artsy statue in the background of a shot shows bare breasts.
  • As Walter and Agatha return home, he playfully tells her it's now time for birthday sex, with him adding that he loves that. They nearly walk in on Robin and some girl on the couch (clothed, but fooling around), and the teens scramble to get up and get her out of the house before his parents come in. Outside, Walter and Agatha do some playful kissing and nuzzling when Robin comes out and interrupts them (with Walter half-playfully telling his son the girl is nice and he'd like to see her remain that way).
  • Fabrizia shows cleavage, and there are quick and artsy views of her and Walter disrobing (he shirtless, she in her bra) and then seemingly having sex (we see some movement, but the views are quick and hard to discern at times).
  • After a suicidal woman hits the street and is dead, we see a partial view of her panties and part of her bare butt cheek.
  • Fingerling comments (in voice over narration) about Fabrizia being turned on by sex and death. We then see her push him up against a wall where they make out and she has her leg up alongside his body as both stand.
  • We see Fingerling and Fabrizia in bed, doing some role-playing. He has her hands tied to the bed, with her breathlessly telling him to act as if he has a knife (and he -- still role-playing -- tells her, "You shut up, bitch").
  • We see Fingerling shirtless.
  • Fabrizia shows cleavage, then again, and then in a photo of her.
  • Dr. Phoenix kisses Fabrizia.
  • In the novel, we see a bare-breasted woman on top of Fingerling having sex. We also see his hands on her bare breasts, as well as movement, and hear related sounds, all from a distance.
  • Referring to a murdered young woman and the man convicted of killing her, Walter says that everything they did sexually was just like in the book.
  • Old magazines show pulp-fiction type drawings of buxom women, one of which shows cleavage.
  • We see a flashback to Walter and a young woman doing some sexualized role-playing, with him cutting open her shirt to reveal her in her bra. He also has her tied to a bed and takes photos of her, etc.
  • We see a distant view of a man and woman having sex in the woods (with movement and sounds).
  • SMOKING
  • Fabrizia smokes at least twice, while Dr. Phoenix, Suicide Blonde, and a minor character each smoke once.
  • Walter asks Robin why he's acting weird and then jokingly asks if he has drugs on him or has been smoking cigarettes.
  • The well-known painting of dogs playing poker shows beer and cigars in the work.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • Walter says his mom died on his 8th birthday.
  • In a visualized scene from the novel, we see a girl spotting a dead and bloody woman (presumably her mother) on a bed and then her father putting a handgun to his head. We hear but don't see the shot, although the girl does as it occurs right in front of her.
  • Agatha finds Walter asleep, with writing on his arm that includes her name and the phrase "Kill her." She the progressively becomes concerned about him and his obsession.
  • Walter notices blood on his hands at the sink, goes to a bed and finds a bloody knife there, and then pulls back the covers to reveal Agatha dead with blood-soaked pajamas and sheets (this is a nightmare).
  • Trying to get Agatha to admit she wrote the book, Walter holds a kitchen knife in her direction.
  • We see a flashback to Walter's mother, dead and bloody on the bed, with his father then putting a handgun to his head.
  • Trying to prove he's not a killer, Agatha tells him to kill her and slaps his face (as he holds something sharp), but he walks away.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • Obsession and what it can drive people to do.
  • Some kids may be enticed to try to find things that add up to 23 or other numbers.
  • Walter stating that the two words he'd have on his tombstone would be "What if?"
  • The comment that there is no such thing as destiny, but instead just different choices one makes.
  • VIOLENCE
  • Walter slowly approaches a growling dog (to try to catch it with a snare). He eventually succeeds, but the dog bites him on the arm just above his thick gloves, leaving blood on his shirtsleeve.
  • In a visualized scene from the novel, young Fingerling finds a dead woman on a bed, clothed and with her eyes open, but bloody from slit wrists. He then imagines seeing artsy views of a man throwing her to the bed and struggling with her there.
  • In a visualized scene from the novel, we see a girl spotting a dead and bloody woman (presumably her mother) on a bed and then her father putting a handgun to his head. We hear but don't see the shot, although the girl does as it occurs right in front of her.
  • In a visualized scene from the novel, a woman's body lands hard on the street from a suicide jump. There's blood on her face as well as pools of blood around her.
  • In a nightmare, Fingerling comes up behind Fabrizia, holds a knife to her neck, and then slits her throat (with very bloody results). Yet, when she turns to him, she's fine and no cut has been made.
  • Fingerling rips Fabrizia's clothes out of the closet in anger over her having 23 pairs of shoes in her closet.
  • We see a flashback to Suicide Blonde purposefully falling out a window as a suicide leap (seen from within the room -- she disappears out of the shot).
  • From ground level, we see Dr. Phoenix crashing out through a closed window and then falling a long way to his death below (the inference being that Fingerling threw him out of it). There's blood on his body as well as a pool of blood around it.
  • Out of jealousy, Fingerling throws a framed photo against a wall, causing the glass in the former to break.
  • Fingerling throws a saxophone into a mirror. He then steps out onto a balcony as if to jump, but the scene ends there.
  • Walter spots the dog that earlier bit him, follows it to a cemetery, and shoots it with a tranquilizer gun.
  • An older man swings a knife repeatedly at Walter and then tries to flee. Walter tackles that man who then slits his own throat with the knife (with bloody results).
  • Walter overturns a locker/case in anger.
  • We see a flashback to Walter's mother, dead and bloody on the bed, with his father then putting a handgun to his head.
  • In the past, a young woman cheats on her boyfriend, resulting in him confronting her with a knife. She then says he's pathetic, just like his father, and then slices him with the knife. He then attacks her with the knife, but we hear more than we see as the door closes. We then see him burying the body at night.
  • Walter punches a hole in a hotel wall.
  • A man leaps out of a window, and while we don't see the impact, we do see his dead body on the street, with his arm bent behind him and blood on him and the street.
  • Trying to prove he's not a killer, Agatha tells him to kill her and slaps his face (as he holds something sharp), but he walks away.



  • Reviewed February 20, 2007 / Posted February 23, 2007

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