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Wednesday, 12 July, 2000, 20:28 GMT 21:28 UK
Charities condemn 'insensitive' film
Jim Carrey, Me, Myself and Irene
Jim Carrey's character has been criticised
One of Hollywood's biggest films of the year has been roundly condemned ahead of its UK release for its portrayal of schizophrenia.

The controversial Me, Myself and Irene, starring Jim Carrey, will be launched in Rhyl, north Wales, in September.

Mind and the National Schizophrenia Fellowship have criticised the way the film deals with mental health.

Anything that reinforces the stigma of the illness is unhelpful

Paul Corry, National Schizophrenia Fellowship
Paul Corry of NSF said the organisation had complained to the British Board of Film Classification, but had failed to ensure it got an 18 certificate.

"It is not a question of not having a sense of humour, but we do draw the distinction between laughing with people and laughing at them," said Mr Corry.

"The 15-24 age group the film is aimed at is the one which starts to show the first signs of schizophrenia.

"Anything that reinforces the stigma of the illness is unhelpful."

Mind spokeswoman Sue Baker said the vast majority of people with mental health problems were of no harm to anyone.

'Gentle to mental'

"What we are unhappy about is that the whole plot reinforces the myth that schizophrenia is about having a split personality that depends on a good side and a bad side.

The US publicity material contains the slogan "from gentle to mental" and the NSF said it will lobby the Advertising Standards Authority against such expressions appearing on UK publicity.

The controversial film also shows the shooting of a live cow and other shocking scenes, Mr Corry added.

Me, Myself and Irene
The film has been attacked by charities

The seaside town Rhyl secured the UK premiere of the Me, Myself and Irene thanks to Steve Higginson, who once played for Rhyl Town FC back in the 1970s.

He is now vice president of 20th Century Fox and this year he became a director of Rhyl Town.

The club is still waiting to hear if Carrey - star of films like The Mask, Man on the Moon and Dumb and Dumber - will be at the premiere on 20 September, which will also benefit a local hospice.

Falling in love

Me, Myself and Irene focuses on state trooper Charlie Baileygates (Jim Carrey), a man with multiple personalities who falls in love with Irene Walters (Renee Zellweger).

Charlie is assigned on a routine mission to return alleged fugitive Irene back to New York, but they wind up on the run from corrupt police officers.

Carrey's character also discovers his other her personality has also fallen in love with Irene.

The different sides to Carrey end up fighting each other for Irene's hand.

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