Stuck On You
There's something unsettling about watching Stuck On You, the latest film from the Farrelly brothers, and it is not because of the fact that the film is about conjoined twins. There is the typical assortment of weird characters, but the outrageousness is gone. It's as if there is a sense of timidity, like Bobby and Peter (Shallow Hal, Osmosis Jones) are afraid to go for the really offensive stuff. Instead, they made a feel good movie. Well, relative to their other films. So while the stars play twins joined at the waist, much of the humor is not at their expense. This is both a relief and the reason that Stuck On You is not as funny as their other films.
One thing that many people fail to notice in many Farrelly films is that the duo truly likes their characters. It may come out in strange ways, but one consistent fact is that whatever the shortcoming, be they conjoined, stupid, fat, or whatever, they are, for the most part, fine with it. Especially so here. Bob (Matt Damon, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, The Bourne Identity) and Walt (Auto Focus, We Were Soldiers) have accepted the fact that they are the way they are, and they actually thrive at it. They own a burger joint together, Bob is great at sports, and Walt is trying to be an actor. Walt decides that he really wants to pursue his dream, and convinces a reluctant Bob to move out to Hollywood. It is not blissful ignorance. Instead, the brothers have overcome their disability and actually excel at what they do. The humor revolves around the situations they get into, not necessarily who they are. It's a fine line, and for once, the Farrelly's stay above it. Yes, there are other characters that make fun of them, but they usually get some sort of comeuppance. It's characters like the ditzy April (Out of Time, Once Upon a Time in Mexico), who could care less that they are conjoined, that are more the norm.
Once out West, they meet Cher (Tea with Mussolini, Faithful), who, Producers-style, casts Bob in a sitcom. She is hoping it is so bad that the network cancels it, allowing her to get out of her contract without breaking it. Inexplicably, the sitcom is a hit, Walt rockets to stardom. However, the producers do everything they can to hide the fact that Walt is conjoined. On the flip side, Bob finally meets his internet pen pal (Wen Yann Shih, The Kabuki Joint). He neglected to tell her that he had a twin, so he and Walt must conspire to hide the fact that there happens to be another man attached to his body. Here is where the script, written by the Farrellys, Charles Wessler, and Bennett Yellin (Dumb & Dumber) begins its transformation from a comedy into a sappy melodrama. As Walt and Bob come to crossroads in their lives, they rethink a dangerous surgery to separate them. By curtailing the level of anarchy and outrageousness, the Farrellys have effectively muzzled what people like about their movies.
Yet, Damon and Kinnear are amusing to watch. They play their characters with a straight face, which is what makes them fun. In other words, yeah, they're conjoined. So what? They have a gleeful sense of abandon about them, and their suit is truly weird. Cher and Meryl Streep (The Hours, Adaptation) have fun playing themselves, the latter in what amounts to an extended cameo. Everything else is just a little too bland to amount to much of anything. It's not to the point of Stuck On You being a bad movie, just a dull one.
|Haro Rates It: Okay.|
|2 hours, 8 minutes, Rated PG-13 for crude and sexual humor, and some language.|
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