A man (Carrey) becomes obsessed with a book that appears to be based on his life but ends with a murder that has yet to happen in real life.
Two talents aching to be taken A Bit More Seriously — Jim Carrey and director Joel Schumacher — join forces for a nimble, deranged conspiracy thriller. Carrey plays a dog-catcher whose life curls down the existential U-bend when he chances across a paperback — the titular Number 23 — that combines his own memories with a murderous gumshoe yarn.
What starts out as Ace Ventura: Hex Detective mutates into a snaking noir with much paranoid numerologising as ‘23’ pops up everywhere. The who-wrote-it revelation folds under scrutiny but it’s fun getting there, Schumacher revisiting the brash stylistic tics of his ’80s hit Flatliners with mucho gusto.
Genuinely intriguing in places and romps along at a satisfying pace for a conspiracy thriller.