For brothers Bo (Matt Damon) and Walt (Greg Kinnear), life couldn't be better.
They run a successful restaurant, Walt does a little acting, and they are hugely
popular in their small Martha's Vineyard neighborhood; the brothers have it
made, relying on each other for support. But they have to: they're joined at the
liver. Bo and Walt are conjoined twins who take life's troubles with ease. When
Walt gets the itch to move out to California and try professional acting, Bo
reluctantly tags along. Soon enough, Walt lands a television series starring
opposite Cher, which complicates the twins' life to a point where they must
consider separation for their lives to continue.
There's a formula to the films of Peter and Bobby Farrelly that cannot be
denied. It has survived through so many hit films ("Dumb and Dumber, " "There's
Something About Mary"), why start complaining now? Start with an outrageous
premise featuring a subject (or subjects) that other filmmakers wouldn't touch
with a 10 foot pole, add a mixture of comedians, family friends, and dramatic
actors trying out their funny bones, then fill the joke-free cracks of the
screenplay with a warm, oozing sentimentality that attempts to justify the
means. Cook at 350 degrees for two hours. Serves millions.
The last Farrelly concoction, 2001's "Shallow Hal," was a unique step forward
for the brothers. Here was a picture that took on a huge American taboo (the
obese), and featured a subplot set in a pediatric hospital burn ward. And it
worked beautifully. However, the laughs were a little less, and the heart a
little bigger in "Hal," signaling a change in the road for the filmmaking duo.
"Stuck On You" (IMDb listing) continues the slinking away from their usual routine. Sure, the
premise of conjoined twins is almost unheard of, as is the unique casting of
Matt Damon and Greg Kinnear as the twins; but this new Farrelly joint is just a
little less funny than what they've done before, and it almost seems
intentional. Far be it from me to stand in the way of an artistic change, but watching Peter and Bobby strike out with jokes is painful.
"Stuck On You" is more pleasant than laugh out loud funny, with moments of oozing sentimentality that are force fed into a cinematic belly that cannot take
the pressure. For the most part, the film is a solid good time, but this is
easily the least of the Farrelly flicks to date, and I'm including their
live action segment for the animated "Osmosis Jones" in the count.
Suffice it to say, there's lots of conjoined twin humor to feast on in the film.
The Farrellys don't let down the audience in showing how Bo and Walt go about
their daily lives, including a rare glimpse at how conjoined twins have sex. We
see the twins work in their hamburger restaurant with amazing nimbleness, conquer
any sport they play (often unfairly), and storm Hollywood, which outside of an old and
clueless agent (Seymour Cassel) who demands "Kitty Carlisle money" for Walt's
big gig, doesn't bring the expected insider humor from films set in tinseltown.
Damon and Kinnear are great in their roles, and take a lot of pride in their
body movement synchronicity. Damon is especially a joy to watch, as comedy is
rarely handed to him. Lost in the focus is Cher, making a small supporting
appearance, and unable to keep up with the film's mood and comedic temperature.
Better is Meryl Streep, who has a winning cameo as a celebrity sighting of
There's a subplot about Bo's internet girlfriend that keeps popping up with no
decent results, as well as a last minute dilemma suggesting a separation for the
twins. Usually at this time, the Farrellys go for sweet and sappy, and it has
worked in their previous productions. For "Stuck On You," the brake placed on
the gags permanently stops the picture, and it takes a lot of conjoined twin
sight gags to restart it.
I'm hoping "Stuck On You" is just a fluke misfire from Peter and Bobby, and they
can regroup to deliver something truly shameful and pleasingly unnecessary to
the comedic landscape again. That's what they're best at.
Filmfodder Grade: C+