STUCK ON YOU
Conjoined twins Bob (Matt Damon) and Walt (Greg Kinnear) Tenor are small-town legends: they run a successful burger restaurant, where their well-coordinated four hands make speedy burgers. But Walt is also an aspiring actor, and the brothers head for Hollywood so Walt can have a shot at stardom. They make fast friends with their sexy neighbour April (Eva Mendes), who helps Walt find an agent (Seymour Cassel) and very soon the boys run into Oscar winning actress Cher (Cher), who is looking for a way to sabotage the new television show for which she is contracted. Cher hires Walt as her co-star, in the hope the studio will close down the show. And Bob is about to physically meet his internet pal May (Wen Yann Shih). Who doesn’t know Bob has a brother.
Review by Louise Keller:
Laughter and pathos are joined at the hip in Stuck on You, an uproarious and good-natured comedy from the Farrelly Brothers about conjoined twins. It takes a pretty extraordinary cast and script to carry off this politically incorrect concept. And that’s exactly what you get – dazzling performances from Matt Damon and Greg Kinnear, plus a script bulging with wit and clever observation. That is no doubt why the humour works so well; this is not a film that plays like a one-gag joke. It’s played so straight that the tragi-comic elements are like a see saw that teeters with a tendency to the poignant side. But you can’t stop laughing. The laughs just don’t stop.
There is the comic physicality (of course watching two guys joined at the hip going to the beach, having a shower, making out with a girl is outrageously funny), although frankly, if it weren’t done so convincingly, the bad taste meter would outweigh the humour. And there’s a moral. Just like Shallow Hal, when the Farrelly Brothers opened our eyes to the fact that beauty is more than skin deep, Stuck on You reminds us to accept ourselves as we are. Or ‘just as you are’, as Bridget Jones would say.
Imagination is the key, and the Farrellys have conceived so many offbeat throw-aways, you need to stay on high alert. (The Rising Star Motel has ‘efficiencies’, not vacancies, and the owner lets us know ‘Moore’s the name – if you need anything.’) Bob and Walt Tenor (‘more of a baritone, really’) do everything together. There’s Walt’s heady rise to Hollywood stardom and Bob’s poignant relationship with a girl doesn’t know that Bob comes with an attached twin-brother. What a hoot when the con-joined brothers con-coct elaborate ways to con-ceal the truth. Just the thought of Walt wearing a giant teddy-bear suit lying next to Bob (who is sick in bed), being visited by Bob’s anxious girlfriend, wanting a private moment.
Watch ‘em flip burgers in synchronised fashion: Walt fries and flips, while Bob catches the burger in the bun at their Quickee Burger joint. Never has a goalie on the ice hockey rink been more of an asset than this four-handed one; it always helps to have an extra brain close at hand for crosswords; swinging a golf club necessitates a quick duck of the head when there are two of you; in the boxing ring the opponent can’t duck the left and the right hook. But of course there are the pitfalls, as we encounter the physical difficulties of chatting up a girl, dating and everything that comes later….
Damon and Kinnear make us really believe, and the situations become more and more precarious. We may think that watching Walt perform on stage as a stand up comic is strange, with Bob acting like an attached rag doll, but wait until you see his acting debut in the Hollywood television series opposite Cher! Cher, dressed to kill, steals her scenes shamelessly; she makes so much fun of herself, it’s delightfully audacious. Eva Mendes is wonderful as the boys’ simple minded, highly likeable and accepting ultra curvaceous neighbour, and Wen Yann Shih is a charming innocent as Bob’s long-term internet girlfriend May Fong. Then there’s Meryl Streep… I chuckled, chortled, cackled and even shed a little tear. This is truly a laugh out loud kinda film.
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Not so much a laugh out loud kinda film, although there is that, too, Stuck On You is more notable for its inventiveness and imagination than for its Farrelly-style humour. Their trademark bad taste is partly replaced by a meatier substance: sentiment and pathos. While they are not in Charlie Chaplin territory, the F brothers do elevate their filmmaking here, starting with some physical humour and developing it for the film’s (tad too lengthy) running time.
There’s a whole range of personal activity that provides the trigger-humour in a story about adult conjoined brothers, ranging from sleeping, showering and driving, to sexual activity and performing on stage. No, there’s no toilet gags, but that’s possibly the result of having two actors who would resist that in Matt Damon and Greg Kinnear. They help turn this low brow slapstick idea into a genuine comedy, with the ballast of sincere brotherly love in a credible relationship story.
The soundtrack pounds the messages of each scene, and propels the film with its energy, while the production design is often as humorous as the spirit of the film.
There are some flat spots, and there is too much reliance on running gags (like Seymour Cassel’s out of date theatrical agent), but there are also some sparkling ones, including a well built one-two reference to Hollywood producer Robert Evans, author of The Kid Stays In The Picture – which was also a documentary feature. It may be very ‘in’ but it suits the film’s Hollywood setting.
Eva Mendes is another standout, who makes light work of her engaging character, and looks a billion dollars to boot. Cher steals every scene in which she appears, but does so with such a trooper spirit it’s infectious. She delivers lines like “I was a super bitch to you… with a capital C,” with the panache of the polished veteran she is.
But the heart of the film pulses with the blood of the conjoined brothers, and their relationship is what sustains the film and our interest in it.
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STUCK ON YOU (M)
CAST: Matt Damon, Greg Kinnear, Eva Mendes, Wen Yann Shih, Pat Crawford Brown, (and appearances by Cher, Meryl Streep, Frankie Muniz)
PRODUCER: Bobby Farrelly, Peter Farrelly, Bradley Thomas, Charles B Wessler DIRECTOR: Bobby Farrelly, Peter Farrelly
DIRECTOR: Bobby Farrelly, Peter Farrelly
SCRIPT: Bobby Farrelly, Peter Farrelly
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Daniel Mindel
EDITOR: Christopher Greenbury, Dave Terman
MUSIC: Tom Wolf
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Sidney J. Bartholomew jr
RUNNING TIME: 122 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: 20th Century Fox
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: February 12, 2004
VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: Fox Entertainment
VIDEO RELEASE: June 16, 2004
RIVERSIDE SNEAK PEEK PREMIERES
A program of premiere screenings of new movies prior to their commercial release
on 4 consecutive Tuesdays - March 10, 17, 24, 31, 2015 - at Riverside Theatre,
Curated & presented by Andrew L. Urban, discussion to
follow with special guests. Briefing notes provided.