Fri, Dec 15, 2017 09:38 PM
Wednesday, March 8, 2017 issue
2003-12-24 life & times
Kinnear, Damon superb in 'Stuck on You'
Cletus Turner

Matt Damon and Greg Kinnear play conjoined twins in "Stuck on You." (click for larger version)
After watching There's Something About Mary and other films by the Farrelly Brothers, I was sort of hesitant about watching Stuck On You. After all, these are the same directors that brought us Kingpin and Shallow Hal and nothing seems to be taboo for them. Where do you draw the line after you've made fun of someone who has lost an arm and someone who is obese? Obviously, not with conjoined twins.

Stuck on You is the story of brothers joined from the hip to the shoulder. Bob, played by Matt Damon, and Walt, played by Greg Kinnear are as different as you would expect. Bob is quiet and shy and has carried on a relationship via the internet with May, played by Wen Yann Shih. Walt is a carefree playboy who moves from one woman to the next. The twins run a burger joint and Bob seems perfectly happy. But, Walt wants to be an actor and wants Bob to let him go. When Walt puts in a superb performance at the community theater, Bob agrees to go to Hollywood.

Once they arrive in Hollywood, they get an efficiency apartment at a motel and meet their neighbor April, played by Eva Mendes, who sends them to her agent Morty, played by Seymour Cassel. Naturally, one of the first jobs he lands Walt is a porno.

Walt's fortunes change when he accidentally meets Cher, who is trying to get out of a horrible tv series that she has committed to before knowing too much about it. Since she has casting approval, she decides she wants Walt as her co-star on the show. The network knows what Cher is trying to pull and decides to let her do it. After a rough start, the series is a surprise hit.

But, Bob is getting homesick and Walt just can't leave his show. Bob, finally, agrees to having surgery to separate them. There is only a 50-50 chance that Walt will survive the surgery, but the twins decide it would be best to go ahead. The surgery is a success and Bob returns home with his penpal May.

Even though they are apart, Bob and Walt miss each other since they've shared everything in the past. Now, suddenly, they can do anything they want, but they still miss each other.

The biggest accolades for the movie should go to Matt Damon and Greg Kinnear. They make you believe they are really conjoined and that they are really brothers. Even with a good script, actors have to develop a chemistry that shows the audience a caring that isn't superficial. That might sound easy, but it isn't. Damon and Kinnear make it appear effortless to work with each other, just as a set of conjoined twins would. Learning how to do something that would be developed over years in the matter of weeks or months is no small task. Just learning to walk in sync would be difficult because you would have to adjust your movements to someone else's.

Besides the physical hardships, Damon and Kinnear made us believe they are really brothers. The bickering was good, but the looks and mannerisms told us that even though they might fight, deep down, they still care about each other.

The premise might be unusual, but nothing is new as far as the use of physical humor. The Farrelly brothers have certainly used that device quite a lot in the past. Each of their comedies takes an aspect of everyday life and balloons it out to inspect, with hilarious results. In each of their films, the brothers take us on a comedic ride that just doesn't stop. Shallow Hal was different simply because a beautiful woman used a body suit to appear obese.

Overall, Stuck on You is the usual off-beat fare we have come to expect from the Farrelly brothers. Kinnear and Damon are superb in their roles as the conjoined twins. The supporting cast fills in the gaps. But, if you are not a fan of the Farrelly brothers, then this movie would not appeal to you.

3 1/2 suns

Notes from the box office:

Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King broke box office records this week for the biggest Wednesday opening. The film grossed over $34 million in its first day. It continued its winning ways through the weekend in route to over $124 million in five days. It was followed, but not very closely, by Julia Roberts' new film Mona Lisa Smile. The film made only about $12 in its first weekend which is well below her average. The distributor, Sony, was hoping to counter release the film to give those not interested in Middle Earth something new, but it appears that, though, was wrong. Two strong men followed as Jack Nicholson brought in $11 million for his film Something's Gotta Give and Tom Cruise's new epic The Last Samurai brought in $7.7 million. Rounding out the top five, is the Will Ferrell vehicle that just keeps hanging on, Elf. The film brought in $5 million over the weekend and doesn't look like it will fall off the chart anytime soon.

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