|Stuck on You|
|Written by Paul Lingas|
|Tuesday, 27 April 2004|
The Farrelly brothers are well known for pushing the limits of bad taste, but they also seem to have a knack for creating endearing characters. This has been true of all of their films since “Dumb and Dumber” and “There’s Something About Mary.” The same formula holds true in “Stuck On You,” a funny enough but not hilarious look at two conjoined twins, Bob and Walt Tenor (Matt Damon and Greg Kinnear, respectively), who hail from Martha’s Vineyard and do everything from running a burger joint to playing hockey. Bob is the shy and practical one and Walt is the impulsive and fun-loving one. After we get to see how they live their lives in general, we are taken to a night of theatre, where Walt presents his one-man show, a yearly event in The Vineyard. The next day, heady from his success, Walt tells Bob that he’d really like to give acting a shot, suggesting that they move to Hollywood. Bob is initially reluctant but soon agrees, as Walt points out that they swore to never hold the other back.
Skip to Los Angeles, where Bob and Walt check into a cheesy motel and meet April (Eva Mendes), who is also trying to be an actress. She and the brothers quickly become friends, as she clearly has no problem with their conjoined status. This is not the case with the people in Hollywood, who consistently reject Walt’s pleas for an audition. Many of them laugh and others are just blunt when pointing the way to the door. Eva hooks Bob and Walt up with her sleazy former agent Morty (Seymour Cassel). For a small fee, Seymour gets Walt his first acting gig. Unfortunately, it turns out to be not the type of film that Walt was aspiring to and they leave. Shortly thereafter, Walt and Bob run into Cher, who plays a comically altered version of herself. Cher has been yelling at her manager, who hasn’t been able to get her out of a TV show she is slated to do. Cher realizes that Walt can be her leading man, thereby hoping to force the studio to let her out of her contract because of the sheer ridiculousness of having a conjoined man play the leading role on a major television show. Bob and Walt are of course thrilled and take this break seriously.
On a side note, Bob has been having an Internet relationship with a woman, May, who happens to live in Los Angeles. The problem is, he hasn’t ever told her about Walt, much less that they’re joined together. Bob and May’s first date is an awkward affair, as Walt tags along and they are forced to try and hide their condition. Between Bob trying to woo May while Walt tries to get his acting career off the ground, the film attempts to poke fun at Hollywood, explore the comedic situations that arise with conjoined twins, and provide a warmhearted look at two brothers who have learned to cope with one another in a variety of unusual ways.
While the film has its funny moments, it is mostly an awkwardly endearing examination of siblings who have been forced through their condition to learn to love and respect each other unconditionally. It also reflects a popular Farrelly theme, which is that everyone, no matter their physical or mental foibles, is a person worthy of respect and love. Bob and Walt are both great guys who happen to have a slight problem. The Farrellys state a few different times that they always take care to poke fun at those who would ordinarily belittle people with handicaps of any kind, rather than those who have the handicap. After all, those who ridicule others have more of a problem than those with the visible handicap. That being said, the best part about the film are the performances by Damon and Kinnear. Otherwise, the film sometimes gets bogged down in exposition and situations which are funny, but in a milder way than many fans of the Farrellys may be used to.
The Farrelly formula featurette is interesting because it draws on interviews from many of their movies, done at the time of that movie’s production. Ben Stiller, Jim Carrey, Chris Elliot, Jack Black, Gwyneth Paltrow and Renee Zellweger are among those who offer their thoughts as to what makes the Farrelly brothers who they are. It is an interesting way to provide an examination of how they work and those they work with. It’s especially effective and unusual because of the immediacy of the information. The makeup effects featurette is surprisingly interesting and has interviews not only with the head makeup wizard but also with Damon and Kinnear, who both give funny and painful anecdotes about being stuck to the other for hours on end for three months. “Stuck Together” tells the story not only of how the Farrellys were able to make the film, but more interestingly, how long it took them to do it and just what everyone was prepared to do to get it done. Perhaps the best part of the special features are the extended/deleted scenes and the blooper reel. This is where we get to see some of the absolutely zany behavior that must be a staple of every Farrelly brothers set.
The audio commentary by Bobby and Peter Farrelly really backs up what a lot of the special features indicate, that they are good-natured, friend and family-oriented men who have an unusual sense of humor. There are so many extras in the movie that they are friends with that a great deal of time is spent pointing out these people and how they know them. Rather than being an exercise, it’s actually a nice look into how loyal these guys are to their friends and how wholly collaborative a process filmmaking is. Of course, there are also some wickedly funny parts scattered throughout. They also provide a lot of interesting behind the scenes tidbits that prove to be really odd and funny. This is a sharp transfer, though there are some bits of dust here and there, and for a straightforward comedy, it looks fine. Tickling a pet peeve, there is no English stereo version, which I find baffling, considering this is a comedy that doesn’t need superior home sound. The 5.1 sound mix is competent but comes off sounding a bit canned at times, especially during heavy sound effects moments. Again, for the type of movie that it is, the picture and sound quality are good enough.
Those who are looking for a repeat of “There’s Something About Mary” or even “Dumb and Dumber” will not find the same absolutely ridiculous behavior and bad taste in “Stuck On You.” What they will find instead is a competent comedy that could have a few more laughs, but which also displays a defter touch in the portrayal of two brothers who can’t help but be close to each other.