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Awesome: 20.59%
Worth A Look: 14.71%
Just Average: 17.65%
Pretty Crappy: 14.71%

2 reviews, 22 user ratings

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by Rob Gonsalves

"One of the great overlooked comedies; Keaton deserved an Oscar."
5 stars

Michael Keaton has always been a crowded house of an actor: pacing, restless, his mind perpetually elsewhere. Think of his idea guy in 'Night Shift,' or, more recently, his distracted metro editor in 'The Paper.' Even as Batman, he suggested two personalities at war with each other. So Keaton's clone comedy, 'Multiplicity,' makes perfect sense. And it's a measure of his great talent that four of him isn't too much.

Keaton is Doug Kinney, a construction manager caught in the classic late-20th-century American dilemma: He can't balance his demanding job and his equally demanding family life. The phrase "There aren't enough hours in the day" was patented by people like Doug. So was its companion phrase, "I need another me." Multiplicity is about what happens when Doug gets what he thinks he wants: more hours in the day and more Dougs.

A sympathetic geneticist (Scarface's Harris Yulin in a neat double cameo) sees Doug's problem and offers to solve it. Before long, Doug meets Doug 2, who assumes work duties while Doug 1 takes over at home. Then Doug 1, exhausted by his kids and panicked by his wife's (Andie MacDowell) urge to find her own job, creates Doug 3 to take over at home while Doug 1 goofs off. Meanwhile, Dougs 2 and 3 create their own clone -- Doug 4, a bad copy whose philosophy is "I like pizza."

Sound confusing? It might have been, if the versatile Keaton weren't on board. Richard Edlund's seamless cloning effects are amazing enough, but I still don't quite know how Keaton manages to play off himself (and sometimes off three of himself) so deftly. And he makes each Doug instantly identifiable. Doug 2, whose life consists entirely of work, is a babes-and-brewskis guy. Doug 3 is a puppyish cross between Martha Stewart and the Anal-Retentive Chef. Doug 4 ... well, he likes pizza. As for the original Doug, he becomes blurry and indistinct, which is the point: Doug is losing himself.

Multiplicity was directed by Harold Ramis, who has carved out a useful comedy niche: fantasies dealing with identity crises. (He had a hit in 1993 with Groundhog Day, which could have been called Perpetuity.) Ramis' Animal House co-writer, Chris Miller, devised the story and worked on the script with Mary Hale, and then Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel (Night Shift). Unlike four Keatons, maybe four writers are too much. Certain intriguing ideas -- such as a clone thinking that he's the original -- aren't developed, and the ending is a bit too pat.

But those are nitpicks. Largely due to Keaton, the movie is consistently funny, and one sequence in a restaurant made me laugh myself into a mild headache. (Bring some aspirin.) And you really need to see it on the big screen. At times, Ramis fills the frame with all four Keatons, arguing and interacting. On video, in a mangled pan-and-scan version, at least one Keaton will be left out of your TV frame. The Keaton quartet is like a one-man Marx brothers. His virtuosity in 'Multiplicity' deserves to be seen in its entirety.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=588&reviewer=416
originally posted: 01/15/07 19:53:53
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User Comments

5/21/12 roscoe good idea, keaton grat, but ffew laughs and overlong 4 stars
1/25/10 R Lan It's the definition of an average comedy. Funny at times, but not great. 3 stars
8/25/05 ES Charming and funny, Keaton adds personalities to his characters that make them come alive 4 stars
4/17/05 Jeff Anderson A great idea & Keaton is a great sport in all of this, but a depressing & unfunny comedy. 2 stars
2/11/04 Joe Greathouse Doug has to lie to his wife about cloning himself. DIVORCE ALREADY! 1 stars
4/12/03 Jack Sommersby Keaton's typically wonderful, but the material just isn't there. 2 stars
1/17/03 mans0n thought it would be terrible, but i was strangly interested in continuing to watch......... 3 stars
11/23/02 Charles Tatum More concerned with effects than laughs 2 stars
4/24/02 Butterbean I love how the clones broke the "house rules". But it's nothing to see over and over. 3 stars
4/06/02 spaz nice movie , micheal keaton good and funny actor, nice house 4 stars
11/28/01 The $1.98 Pyramid "No sex with my wife!" really funny, but why a fourth clone? I cared less about that goof. 3 stars
11/22/01 Andrew Carden The Movie Can Be Quite Funny At Points, but McDowell Is Very Dull. 3 stars
4/30/01 Sarah Sample This movie is very funny and I could watch it over and over and it's still funny. 5 stars
2/16/01 Jake My stupid roommates rented this crap. Bad idea. 1 stars
11/27/00 Cristopher Revilla would have been better, but it wasn't, still, just see it for the idiot doug 3 stars
3/05/99 mikef the retarded keaton makes me laugh. watch it for him and only him. 4 stars
1/24/99 Chloe Marie Elestenogoph (clatter@hotmail.com) This bit the big one. Andy McDowell is a real fuckin' sucky actor. 2 stars
9/30/98 katherine ugh. how stupid. 1 stars
9/09/98 Miss Stress this movie completely blows ass 1 stars
9/09/98 MikeF This movie was just average untill they make the retarted keaton. that dude is funny. 4 stars
8/25/98 Mister Whoopee Utter wank. Shit. 1 stars
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  17-Jul-1996 (PG-13)



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