"All the characters in this book are fictitious, and anyone finding a resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, should proceed no further ..." Disclaimer from the novel 'The Number 23.' Sadly no such disclaimer was given to the beginning of this film, which could serve as a warning to people who might be wanting those two hours from their lives back, should they ignore it and watch the film. Okay, that might be a bit harsh, but not by too much. This film reunites director Joel Schumacher with star Jim Carrey, who both worked over-the-top together in 1995's Batman Forever. Oddly enough (although unrelated) that was the same year that gave us Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls. It would still be a few more years, three to be exact, until we would start to see the serious side of Jim Carrey, in 1998's The Truman Show. Since then he's dabbled in more dramatic roles in films like Simon Birch, The Majestic, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and arguably Man on the Moon, but he has never really managed to capture audiences when he plays a dramatic role the same way he does when he's in a comedy.
In fact, Bruce Almighty grossed more than those four films combined. So, with all that in mind, it might seem strange that Carrey would turn to a much darker role in a thriller like The Number 23. Although on paper the film actually sounds intriguing: a happily married man with a teenage son starts to become unraveled by a mysterious novel his wife gives him one day. It taps into a hidden obsession that some people have with "The 23 Enigma," and he soon becomes obsessed with it. He is also convinced that the book is actually written about him, and that somehow the author used his life as a template for the book. In some of the particularly darker scenes in the film, Walter (Carrey) imagines himself as the main character, Detective Fingerling, in the novel, and his wife Agatha (Virginia Madsen) as the dark and sexy Fabrizia, his love interest. His wife's friend and academic Isaac (Danny Huston) who tells Walter about the 23 enigma is also cast in his dark fantasies as psychologist Dr. Miles Phoenix.