Stuck on You review by Mike Long

Logic says that as one does something over and over, they should become more proficient at it. But, we know that this isn't always true, for as neurotic humans, we tend to over-think certain activities and can then sabotage our own performance. This seems to be the case with filmmakers the Farrelly Brothers, whose films have gotten progressively deeper and progressively worse over the years, with the latest example being Stuck on You.

Bob (Matt Damon) and Walt (Greg Kinnear) are conjoined twins who live in a small town on Martha's Vineyard. They run a restaurant, play sports, and are well-liked in the community. Walt puts on a play at the local theater each year, and longs to become a professional actor. So, the two travel to Los Angeles so that Walt can follow his dream. This sits well with Bob, as his long-time internet girlfriend lives in L.A., and he wants to meet her in-person. When the pair arrive in California and begin to try and find work for Walt, they learn that L.A. contains people who are much more unusual than them.

It's ironic that a film about two men whose ability to move around is limited because they are attached to one another could be so all over the place. Stuck on You's supposed goal is to take a very serious subject (conjoined twins) and create a comedy, not by making light of this condition, but showing how this men tackle life. Instead, we get a film which is so determined to tell a heart-warming story that it forgets to be funny. With their first three films (Dumb & Dumber, Kingpin, and There's Something About Mary), the Farrelly's proved that one could make a laugh-out-loud gross-out comedy and still tell a story that had some sort of feeling. But, since the run-away success of Mary, the Farrelly's have seemed determined to emphasize the dramatic story sides of their films and have gotten away from the comedy. Me, Myself & Irene was wildly uneven, Shallow Hal was a one-joke movie that beat the viewer over the head with its message, and now we have Stuck on You, a movie which is so determined to take its main characters seriously that it takes all of the air out the humorous portions of the film.

Yes, there are many humorous moments in the film, and I'd be lying if I said that I didn't laugh out loud several times. But, most of these moments are quick visual jokes which show how Bob and Walt adjust to sharing a body. (The writers clearly put a lot of thought in how two-people-in-one could do certain mundane everyday activities and what humorous potential these tasks had.) However, for the rest of the movie, I found myself either looking at the clock or feeling very uncomfortable by some of the situations that Bob & Walt encounter. There are no classic tears-in-your-eyes scenes here, such as the dog-fight scene in There's Something About Mary, but simply a string of sight-gags. At nearly two-hours, the movie is way too long and certainly takes its sweet time getting to the conclusion. One gets the feeling that the movie is very self-indulgent when a number during the finale goes on seemingly forever. Stuck on You is a comedy that plays it too straight and thus provides very few laughs. Those of you hoping for another "I can't believe I laughed at that" classic from the Farrelly's will be let down.

So, the fact that the once-great Farrelly Brothers have made another lackluster comedy is a disappointment, but it goes deeper than that, as Stuck on You could have been great. The film is written in a very clever manner, whereas Bob & Walt talk to each other as if they aren't conjoined, as they've become accustomed to allowing one another to (in a way) live his own life. This makes for some good ideas that never come to fruition. Not only is this frustrating, but a great cast goes to waste here as well. Damon and Kinnear are both great as the conjoined twins who have distinctly opposite personalities. Kinnear is allowed to be breezy and over-the-top, while Damon plays it straight and delivers his funny lines with good timing. Cher clearly has a ball playing herself in the film, and Eav Mendes is good as a bubbly actress who is attracted to Walt. As stated above, Stuck on You isn't a total loss, but with the talent involved and the film's unique premise, it should have been much better. One can only hope that the Farrelly's will begin to come around and begin going for the comedic jugular once again.

Stuck on You travels to DVD courtesy of 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment. The film is coming to DVD in two separate releases, one full-frame and the other widescreen. For the purposes of this review, only the widescreen version was screened. The film has been letterboxed at 2.35:1 and the transfer is enhanced for 16 x 9 TVs. The transfer is quite good, as the image is sharp and clear, showing only a hint of grain. I only noticed one or two defects from the source material. Edge enhancement is noticeable if one looks closely, but it's kept to a minimum. There is some pixellation in the flesh-tones at times, but not enough to be overly distracting. The colors are fine and the image is well-balanced. The DVD's Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track provides clear dialogue with no hissing or distortion. The film's music sounds great and the surround sound effects used for crowd or street scenes is effective.

The Stuck on You DVD contains numerous extras, some of which, like the film, are disappointing. We start with an audio commentary from Peter & Bobby Farrelly. As with most of their commentaries, they spend a great deal of time pointing out the family and friends which they've put in the film. On top of this, they do occasionally talk about locations and the story. The DVD contains 8 deleted or extended scenes (a "Play All" selection is offered) most of which are throw away, but one does feature the great comic Dane Cook. "It's Funny: The Farrelly Formula" is a 16-minute featurette which focuses on the Farrelly Brothers. This is like a "Greatest Hits" package from other featurettes, as it contains interviews with the duo taken from several different time periods ("Watch as the haircuts change!") We also get comments from the many actors who have worked with the Brothers over the years. "Stuck Together: Bringing Stuck on You To the Screen" (13 minutes) is a "making of" featurette which offers a great deal of behind-the-scenes footage, as well as comments from the cast and crew. The problem with these two featurettes is that they are far too fluffy and never dig deep enough. For example, both mention that the Farrelly's typically put the mentally or physically challenged in their films, but never explain why. Every time I watch one of their movies, I wonder what the story is behind this unique practice is, but these segments don't divulge that information. "Making it Stick: The Makeup Effects of Stuck on You" (9 minutes) fares somewhat better as special effects makeup artist Tony Gardner explains how Damon & Kinnear were connected on-screen. Time-lapse photography shows the 8 hour makeup process. We also get a look at how the two actors learned to work as one. The 7-minute blooper reel included on the disc is quite good and offers more laughs than the movie itself. Finally, we have two trailers for Stuck on You, the teaser is letterboxed at 1.78:1 and the theatrical trailer is letterboxed at 1.85:1, but neither are anamorphic.

5 out of 10 Jackasses

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