Stuck on You (2003) / Comedy
MPAA Rated: PG-13 for crude humor, sexuality, and language
Running Time: 118 min.
Cast: Greg Kinnear, Matt Damon, Eva Mendes, Wen Yann Shih, Cher, Meryl Streep, Seymour Cassel, Griffin Dunne
Director: Bobby and Peter Farrelly
Screenplay: Bobby and Peter Farrelly
I'm not sure if my rather generous review is a result of lowered expectations or not, but I enjoyed Stuck on You far more than I thought I would based on my low opinion of the previews and trailer. A film about conjoined twins would seem like a one-joke premise, and while almost all of the humor is derived from the unfortunate union, it's actually amazing how much mileage the Farrelly Brothers (There's Something About Mary, Dumb & Dumber) are able to get from it. Following Shallow Hal, they continue their trend at toning down some of their most vulgar jokes and getting a PG-13 rating, and the result will probably frustrate the crowd that had come to rely on a good deal of raunchiness for their big laughs. There aren't any big laughs to be found in Stuck on You, but there are a lot of smiles and snickers, and these smaller moments come just enough to make this a movie that is much more consistent in tone than many of their other endeavors.
Sharing the same liver has kept Siamese twins Bob (Damon, Good Will Hunting) and Walt (Kinnear, As Good As It Gets) from separating, so they have lived their lives literally joined at the hip. This hasn't stopped them from enjoying their lives, but they the situation is keeping both of them from exploring their dreams. Walt has a need to be a big time actor, but Bob is shy, and having to perform with another man attached to you is a hindrance, to say the least. For the past three years, Bob has been corresponding with a woman on the internet that he has yet to meet because he neglected to mention that he is a conjoined twin. With the lure of Hollywood growing strong in Walt, the two decide to fly out to California in pursuit of happiness and in not letting anything hold them back.
Stuck on You primarily works for two big reasons -- the ingenuity of the Farrelly Brothers and the acting talent of the two main stars. The Farrellys probably exhaust almost every possible joke that can be told featuring conjoined twins, many of them quite clever, and they rarely need to resort to crass envelope pushing in order to achieve humor, which they have relied on as a crutch more often than not in the past. This is easily the softest movie they've done, employing moments of drama and romance amid the visual gags and crazy situations, and they show a maturity in being able to balance the two without losing the tone. This is thanks in large part to the versatility of Damon and Kinnear, two actors who have shown the ability to do outrageous comedy and somber drama equally well, where most actors would probably have fumbled miserably.
While I am recommending Stuck on You for being an intelligent dumb comedy, I do feel the need to reiterate that those Farrelly Brothers fans that have been waiting for them to return to pushing the limits of the R rating again will still be frustrated that toilet matter and bodily fluids aren't being splashed across the screen at every opportunity. Personally, I am thankful. While not doubled over in laughter (or dry heaves), I found myself snickering through many scenes, and in comparison to other comedies out there, that's better than most. The comedy here is in the funny bone of the beholder, as many viewers are probably just as likely to find it unfunny as funny, so this is reservedly recommended. Just remember to keep the expectations low.
©2004 Vince Leo