Movies You Aught Not Watch is Nick Rogers’ weekly, alphabetical look back at the 52 worst films of 2000 to 2009.
The “23 enigma” is a numerological belief that every event or incident connects to that number. Satanically move the decimal and 666 is 2 divided by 3. The Earth’s axis spins at 23 degrees. The human body contains 23 pairs of chromosomes. Shakespeare was born, and died, on April 23. Dr. Pepper has 23 flavors. Michael Jordan wore No. 23. Country group SHeDAISY uttered “23” in a couple songs.
Joel Schumacher’s The Number 23 numbed any sense of fear, paranoia or evil by piling on absurd 23-isms. Combine random facts and anything could be 23. Star Jim Carrey is 74 inches tall, was born on 1/17 and has 3 Blockbuster Entertainment Awards. Add each digit. Yep.
As Carrey’s attempt to go darker, this 2007 nonsense wasted his best efforts. He modified his twitchiness into jangled nerves so well you wish he’d insisted on a rewrite and a director not operating (as usual) in full hack mode.
Its sole scrap of originality is that it’s the first-ever thriller about an animal-control officer. Carrey’s Walter gets engrossed in a mysterious book about murder and suicide called The Number 23 and becomes convinced it’s about him.
We should have felt sorrow for Walter as he spiraled downward into mental suffering. But there were so many sloppy screenwriting devices that his whole life might have just been one big nightmare of a flashback of a daydream. What started as a dark variant on Stranger Than Fiction ended with a melodramatic flood of embarrassing exposition.