'Stuck on You' *** 041205
DVD Review (2004)


The Work = ***
Peter and Bobby Farrelly have become famous for writing and directing so called “gross out” comedies. I want to begin this review by talking about a scene from what is probably the Farrelly's most infamous movie, 'There's Something About Mary'. In the film, a character named Tucker (played by Lee Evans) has a scene where he is talking to Mary (played by Cameron Diaz) in an office. Tucker walks with crutches, not the kind most often shown in movies (the large wooden ones with pads under your arm pits) but the metal ones with cuffs that go around your forearm. In the scene he dropped something on the floor, Mary offered to pick it up, Tucker declined, treacherously leaned down with the crutches, and picked it up himself. He lowered himself closer and closer to the ground wobbling back and forth like some performer in a vaudeville act.

The sequence made me laugh out loud (as did much of the film when I saw it) but after the fact it also made me tremendously jealous; up until my mid-teens I walked with crutches like those and went through a less exaggerated form of that comedic wobbling ballet just about any time something slipped out of my grasp and fell to the ground. (I never turned down an offer from someone else to pick it up though.) That experience is one of those little details that stuck with me. I planned to use it in a screenplay or story some day. It's one of those insights into an aspect of life that most people wouldn't think of or see.

I bring all this up because the Farrelly brothers are tremendously talented and often have amazing insights into life, especially some of the comedy/ drama that can ensue if someone has a disability. The problem is they can't seem to work their insights into a solid film. 'Stuck on You' is an ok movie but somewhere inside it is a great one.

It has a tremendously talented cast (the Farrellys always seem to get great casts, a testament to their talent.) Matt Damon and Greg Kinnear star as conjoined twins. Wen Yann Smith and Eva Mendes co star as their respective love interests. There is also a bunch of cameos from various celebrities and Farrelly brother friends.

Damon and Kinnear do a great job of carrying the movie with their endearing performances. In fact, all the actors do a wonderful job. The twins lives are in for a change as Kinnear's character decides he wants to be an actor in Hollywood. The film becomes a road movie of sorts as the two struggle to get Kinnear a role and Damon a date. There are some very clever jokes, many of which come from the brothers day to day lives. (Imagine having sex while a sibling is attached to you.)

I suspect that more than a bit of this film is, whether they realize it or not, autobiographical. The Farrelly's may not be conjoined but they are brothers that have been working closely together for sometime. They, like the twins are from the east and made a living out west in Hollywood. They are also known, by and large, as one working unit and I'll bet there was at least a short period in their lives where they were trying to find their individual personas.

Even if I am off about the autobiographical aspect, what remains is that this is a film where the Farrelly's throw everything at the audience. (Well everything that can be crammed into a PG-13 rating anyway.) My problem is that because they seem to have a sort of scattershot approach their, sometimes almost embarrassing, jokes bog down the film. These would not have stood out so much to me where it not for other scenes of touching drama and comedy.

Take Damon's character, Bob and his love interest May (Wen Yann Smith.) He meets her over the internet and becomes friends with her. For three years they communicate over the internet. It's implied this is not only the first friend but the first love interest that he has had completely separate from his brother. Naturally, being self conscious, he leaves his brother out and doesn't tell May. The Farrelley's make scenes that show the drama and comedy in Bob's predicament without being condescending. Then they have an over the top fight scene in a club where Bob and his bro kick some ruffians' booty to defend their honor.... Sigh.

So, there you have it. The over the top stuff took me out of the natural elements and it kept me from staying with the film. I almost wish, as ridiculous as this may sound, they could have collaborated with someone like Paul Thomas Anderson or hell, even the late Stanley Kubrick. I know that sounds ludicrous but those directors manage to find a tone and stick with it. Kubrick managed an off the wall comedy with a real world spin in 'Dr Strangelove'. Paul Thomas Anderson managed a romance film that was dramatic and funny and always interesting but never reverted to scattershot jokes to get the laughs with 'Punch Drunk Love'. Alright, so maybe those are extreme examples but you get the idea.

DVD = ***

The Look
'Stuck on you' is shown in a widescreen transfer of it's original aspect ratio of 2.35:1. The film gets a nice transfer. There weren't any digital artifacts that I saw and I didn't notice much edge enhancement.

The Sound
'Stuck on you' gets a 5.1 mix that sounded great, well as great as a movie that doesn't have a whole heck of a lot of fancy explosions can sound with out being overkill.

The Bonus
We get a commentary track from the Farrelly brothers. It's a good natured track and the brothers do keep talking. The problem is, very often it is just yelling out the names of their friends in the background of shots. While that will turn a lot of people off, if you can make it through they do offer up some behind the scenes info. If nothing else, they come off as nice guys who genuinely love what they do and make an effort to include everyone they can. I just wish there was more info on the production. There are a handful of featurettes, one on the Farrellys, one on the making of 'Stuck on you', and one on Damon and Kinnear being stuck together. These were mostly fluff, although they did have a few bits on the making of the film and also had some funny behind the scenes moments. I wish their was more info on the actual making of the film. Actually the featurette on Damon and Kinnear being stuck together (called 'Making it Stick: The Makeup Effects of 'Stuck on You') was probably the most interesting despite its short run time.

All Together = ***
I want to be clear, I enjoyed this film but it was disheartening to watch something that could have been great turn out to be just ok. The actors were wonderful. The Farrelly's have real talent and I am envious of their ability. Somewhere inside them is a great film. For now I recommend you try 'Stuck on You' for a light comedy with a few great moments. The DVD is ok, with slight supplements and a nice transfer. I say it is probably rental first material.


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