Stuck on You
Directed by Bobby Farrelly, Peter Farrelly. Starring Matt Damon, Greg Kinnear, Eva Mendes, Jessica Cauffiel, Jay Leno, Wen Yann Shih, Cher, Meryl Streep, Griffin Dunne, Seymour Cassel. (2003, PG-13, 118 min.)
REVIEWED By Marc Savlov, Fri., Dec. 12, 2003
The buddy movie taken to its literal end, Stuck on You is the Farrelly Brothers’ ode to brotherly love, and then some. At once ridiculous, obnoxious, and poignant, it recaptures the difficult middle ground between gross and sweet that There’s Something About Mary managed so well. It’s unmistakably Farrelly, from the Martha’s Vineyard locale (the brothers are, or were, Rhode Islanders) to the bizarre visual and verbal non sequiturs that pop up now and again and, as always, the handicapped and the special that come in for some ribbing, only to stand revealed as being far more normal, whatever that is, than the average schmuck. Like a lollipop from a hunchback, it’s strangely sweet, and a pleasure to see. Damon and Kinnear play Bob and Walt Tenor, a pair of conjoined twins who operate a short-order grill in the aforementioned Vineyard. Joined since before birth, their symbiotic relationship affords them special abilities in their chosen profession, namely the ability to make big orders really, really fast, slicing and dicing and whirling about in a way that would drive the comparatively Neolithic Emeril to distraction. But all is not well in the land of sibling revelry: Walt, who puts on an annual one-man show (this year it’s a Truman Capote revue called, endearingly, Tru) at the local theatre, harbors dreams of Hollywood fame. Having vowed long ago never to hold one another back, the pair head out to Los Angeles with a pocket full of dreams and one liver between them. There they meet aspiring starlet April (Mendes, of Once Upon a Time in Mexico), secure an agent for Walt (Bob doesn’t act, and instead just hangs around having panic attacks) in the form of Seymour Cassel’s Morty O’Reilly, and land a deal with Cher for a cheesy television crime show. Bob, meanwhile, finally gets the chance to meet the object of his longtime Internet dating affections, May (Shih). Problems arise because Bob hasn’t told May he’s a conjoined twin, and Cher uses her new show with Walt (she’s convinced it’ll be a sure-fire failure) in a catty attempt to get out of her contract. And if that’s not enough absurdist humor for you, there’s also Meryl Streep. In a Farrelly Brothers’ film. The mind reels. One of the reasons the Farrellys have become as popular as they are is that their films have so much obvious heart. True, it may be surrounded by sophomoric humor, but the heart is there nonetheless. And for those not paying attention, their stories are always love stories. Kingpin, Mary, and Me, Myself & Irene were all, at their core, old-fashioned romantic comedies done up in the tropes of Cracked magazine (they’re not quite up to Mad’s pseudo-intellectual standards), and Stuck on You is similarly enamored. Damon and Kinnear have the all-important chemistry between them, or beside them, or wherever there’s not a fleshy connection to get in the way; Damon, particularly, stands revealed as a comic ace. His Bob is prone to telling the most outrageously awful jokes when nervous, and then having to hyperventilate into a bag to calm down when the panic attacks strike. (Walt, confident in the ways of love, has no such problems.) As a duet that’s short an organ or two, it’s goofily charming. Moreover, it’s the best Seymour Cassel film in years.