Stuck On You
The Farrelly brothers mean to tell a heartwarming and comedic story about conjoined twins in Stuck on You, but their good intentions are ultimately lost in amid crude, sophomoric sensibilities--a Farrelly trademark that is wearing very thin.
Brothers Bob and Walt Tenor (Matt Damon and Greg Kinnear) have never left each other's side--because they've been conjoined at the hip from birth. Sure, these days they have had the option of getting surgically separated, but because Bob has about 90 percent of their shared liver and Walt's chances of surviving the operation are slim, the brothers decide to stick together instead. Figuratively speaking, they are about as close as two brothers can be, and they never let their condition stop them from leading productive lives: They become legends in the small town of Martha's Vineyard and run the bustling local burger joint. Stuck on You would have been OK if only the story had ended there, but alas, there's more. As the more extroverted of the two, Walt yearns for a career as an actor and convinces the reluctant Bob to take a trip to Hollywood to see if he's, er, if they've, got the stuff to make it. As luck would have it, Walt hits the big time when he lands the lead in a lame TV series opposite Cher (playing a bitchier version of herself), who wants out of the series and thinks Walt might be her ticket. Her plan backfires, however, when the show--and Walt (with Bob)--become an instant hit. Meanwhile, Bob finds romance with a longtime cyber-pal but can't quite bring himself to tell her his brother, who is always right next him, is actually attached. The pressure builds and the brothers end up deciding to split, thus changing their lives forever. But they realize in the end that nothing can ever truly keep them apart.
It's a good thing Damon and Kinnear have great chemistry to keep things moderately entertaining or this film could have gotten a lot more ugly than it already is. They don't seem to mind being physically attached to each other for the duration, either. Clearly Kinnear has the most fun, hamming it up as the outgoing Walt, flipping burgers, doing a one-man show as Truman Capote and sweet-talking the ladies--all while having another human being attached to him. Cher camps it up as well, displaying the diva-esque behavior we all know she's capable of (''I'm an Academy Award winner, for chrissake!'') but redeeming herself slightly in the end. Only Damon--as the introverted, panic attack-prone Bob, who lives, sometimes literally, in his brother's shadow--seems a bit ill-suited for this broad comedy, his first venture into the genre. Farrelly favorite Ben Stiller might have been a better choice. The most heartfelt kudos go out to Meryl Streep, however, who makes an uncredited cameo performing with Walt in a musical version of Bonnie and Clyde at the end of the film and kicking the proceedings into high gear; it's just too bad she does it at the end of the film.
Peter and Bobby Farrelly started out on fire with films such as Dumb & Dumber and There's Something About Mary, taking toilet humor to great heights and instilling their own particular, envelope-pushing brand of comedy. Since then, however, the brothers have slowly lost steam, and now their choices in material border on ridiculous and veer into the offensive. Their last effort, Shallow Hal, had enough fat jokes to make the audience feel uncomfortable; now, it's conjoined twins. Honestly, conjoined twins? How can that not come off as a one-note and not very funny joke--at the twins' expense? For example, Bob and Walt face unprecedented rejection from the entertainment industry when one casting agent tells them, ''We want the viewers to want to chew the gum and double their pleasure. Not get a genetic defect.'' Yet the movie itself hearkens back to the days of the carnival barker: ''That's right, folks! For a small fee and a comfy seat in a theater, you too can see how one conjoined twin deals with the other having raucous sex! See two grown men connected at the torso try and beat each other up! It's all in fun, really; we would never hurt anyone's feelings, folks!'' Please. And to top it off, Stuck on You is actually pretty tame compared to the Farrellys' standards. You won't find any of There's Something About Mary's ''frank and beans'' jokes or special hair gel concoctions in this one--just an outrageous premise and an uninspiring--and unfunny--story.
Except for a few bright moments with its cast, Stuck on You doesn't stick with you in any way other than to remind you the Farrelly brothers have lost their touch.