by Natasha Theobald
I couldn't resist watching things about this movie before I was able to see it in the theater, but I really wish I had. I had seen too much of it before I got there, knew too much. I broke my rule and regretted it. Damn you, Comedy Central, for hiring Michael Ian Black to do the interviews. It was funny, yes, wacky, zany, etc. Luckily, in addition to the funny clips offered upfront to sell the film, there is also a sibling love story at its heart, a character core that resonated a bit beyond the laughs.Bob (Matt Damon) and Walt (Greg Kinnear) are conjoined twins who have forged a very successful life side by side as a team against the world. They are good athletes. They are excellent short-order cooks. They are brothers whose bond is closer than any other. They are literally and figuratively connected, and, for a long time, it was all that either of them wanted or needed.
"A funny treat with a sweet, gooey center."
Now, though, Walt, a smash year after year at the local playhouse, would like to take a shot at the big time on the left coast. He convinces Bob to take the leap for his brother, as well as to meet his internet lover of three years, May (Wen Yann Shih). They arrive, find lodging, find representation, and toil toward Walt's dream. While doors are getting slammed in their faces professionally, they are able to make friends with various poolside cronies from April (Eva Mendes) to Moe (Terence Bernie Hines), the hilariously lazy hotel manager. It is only with a bit of luck and serendipity that the brothers are brought to the attention of Cher, with whom Walt gets a chance to make a real go of things. On a personal level, though, for the first time, Bob and Walt each begin to feel held back by attachment to the other.
The Farrelly brothers were wise to choose to cast actors instead of comedians in the roles of Bob and Walt. While there is lots of funny stuff to do, it takes the talents of Matt Damon and Greg Kinnear to get the audience on the side of the brothers and of the film. Some may complain that Farrelly movies are supposed to be pure comedy, but I don't think the added element of something more is a stretch or a mistake for them. Funny people through the ages, from Jackie Gleason to Chris Farley, have infused their comedy with a bit of heart and soul, to the delight of everyone. I like this turn of events and applaud it wholeheartedly.
In the same vein, the Farrelly brothers populate this movie with all different kinds of people, including people we aren't necessarily used to seeing on film. They are not self-congratulatory about it by putting people on display. There is nothing exploitive or crass about it. They just seem to know that people of special talent and ability are all around us, in many guises, and I respect the inclusion of that awareness in this movie about differences and love.You will laugh at this movie, make no mistake, but you may also come away with a feeling of deep affection for the story and characters, or for someone to whom you are inextricably linked. Either way, it is worth seeing for the solid performances and script. This isn't a story that had to be told, but I'm glad it was and done well.
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originally posted: 01/21/04 00:47:40