Reviews

Stuck on You (2003)

Bill Gibron

While the initial twins material is weak, the Hollywood lampoon barely gets off the ground, and the love story is so lightweight, it practically floats.


Stuck on You

Director: Bobby Farrelly
Cast: Matt Damon, Greg Kinnear, Eva Mendes, Cher, Seymour Cassel
MPAA rating: PG-13
Studio: Fox
Display Artist: Peter and Bobby Farrelly
First date: 2003
US DVD Release Date: 2004-04-30

It must be nice being Peter and Bobby Farrelly. After milking the success of Something About Mary into a spot on Hollywood's A-list, the guys can get away with putting friends and family into their big budget comedies and have any old idea greenlit. Yet, the formerly funny filmmakers have apparently given up on feces and farts as their primary punch-lines. Their recent output -- the tame toilet humor of Osmosis Jones (2001), Shallow Hal's (2001) love story -- have been more dull than disgusting. And now, with 2003's Stuck on You (new to DVD from Fox), they show they're still stuck in saccharine-ville.

When mining comedic veins for potential plotlines, how far down the funny food chain does the concept of conjoined twins dwell? With Stuck on You, the rapidly fading Farrelly brothers attempt to mix sideshow with sentimentality, both to champion and chuckle at physical disability. Walt (Greg Kinnear) and Bob (Matt Damon) are swell fellas who happen to be bound at the torso. Having long since learned to live with their condition, they run a diner in idyllic Martha's Vineyard, where they are loved and respected by the townsfolk. Walt performs one-man shows at the local theater. His thespian ambitions inspire that tired old chestnut of a plot point: he wants to run off to L.A. to seek his fortune.

While the initial twins material is weak, the Hollywood lampoon barely gets off the ground, and the love story between Bob and his worldwide web woman, May (Wen Yann Shih), is so lightweight, it practically floats. The brothers story lacks insight or detail. Apparently, this was the intention of the Farrellys all along. On the DVD commentary track, they mention (when they pause from identifying their nepotistic casting) that they decided to handle the conjoined issue as if it was merely a minor glitch in Bob and Walt's lives. So, we are treated to scene after pay-off-less scene showing they are great athletes or deft short-order cooks. Instead of inspiring awe, they look like well-paid Hollywood actors going through special effects motions.

Bob and Walt's "difference" only comes to the fore when love is in the air. The lumbering romance between Bob and May turns on the fact that he is hiding his brother from his broadband babe. After the kind of overly coincidental convolutions that pass for introductions in a Hollywood film and a couple of farce-like misrepresentations, we get to the big reveal. May's initial panic suggests that the film might actually manage some topical commentary on prejudice. But her almost immediate change of heart makes any such issue disappear, and we are back inside Cornball City limits.

Perhaps Stuck on You would have worked better had its superstar cameos become the twins' love interests instead. Meryl Streep and the scene-stealing Cher provide the only mildly successful send-ups in the film, riffing on their own famous personas. Cher, especially, in all her collagen glory, barges in and tears the movie away from its makers. Forced to star in a stinker of a TV series, she undermines the network by demanding they hire the Tenors as the leading "man." The idea of the former Ms. Bono throwing a hissy fit about her self-perceived importance (complete with an expletive-filled line about winning a certain statuette) is ripe with possibilities. Repeated references to her cradle-robbing sex life are priceless, but they're few and far between.

At nearly two hours, this movie is far too long, padded with unnecessary scenes (and after seeing some of the funnier deleted bits in the DVD's bonus material, it's hard to champion the bloated running time). It forgets details it raised elsewhere (like the employees at the diner, or the L.A. hotel owner's shrew of a wife) and repeats tiresome clichés (Hollywood Executives being bullshit artists).

The Farrellys' recent string of films suggests they have all kinds of quixotic ideas floating around in their heads. If they would scuttle the ultra-high concepts (seeing "inner" beauty, overcoming physical or mental disability), they might come up with a delightful romantic comedy. They call Stuck on You their second in a trilogy of "sweet" films (along with Shallow Hal and the in-production The Ringer). When Stuck was originally announced (around the time that Mary spread spunk in her hair for the 150 millionth time), rumors had Jim Carrey and Woody Allen taking the roles of Bob and Walt. In hindsight, the decision to stick "straight" dramatic actors in roles that cry out for crackerjack timing and improvisation is one big reason this movie misses its mark. Had it remained a story of a "freak" making it big in show business, it might have been another craven, crass hit for the Farrellys.

Music


Books


Film


Recent
Books

In 'Wandering Dixie', Discovering the Jewish South Is Part of Discovering Self

Sue Eisenfeld's Wandering Dixie is not only a collection of dispatches from the lost Jewish South but also a journey of self-discovery.

Music

Bill Withers and the Curse of the Black Genius

"Lean on Me" singer-songwriter Bill Withers was the voice of morality in an industry without honor. It's amazing he lasted this long.

Film

Jeff Baena Explores the Intensity of Mental Illness in His Mystery, 'Horse Girl'

Co-writer and star Alison Brie's unreliable narrator in Jeff Baena's Horse Girl makes for a compelling story about spiraling into mental illness.

Music

Pokey LaFarge Hits 'Rock Bottom' on His Way Up

Americana's Pokey LaFarge performs music in front of an audience as a way of conquering his personal demons on Rock Bottom.

Music

Joni Mitchell's 'Shine' Is More Timely and Apt Than Ever

Joni Mitchell's 2007 eco-nightmare opus, Shine is more timely and apt than ever, and it's out on vinyl for the first time.

Music

'Live at Carnegie Hall' Captures Bill Withers at His Grittiest and Most Introspective

Bill Withers' Live at Carnegie Hall manages to feel both exceptionally funky and like a new level of grown-up pop music for its time.

Music

Dual Identities and the Iranian Diaspora: Sepehr Debuts 'Shaytoon'

Electronic producer Sepehr discusses his debut album releasing Friday, sparing no detail on life in the Iranian diaspora, the experiences of being raised by ABBA-loving Persian rug traders, and the illegal music stores that still litter modern Iran.

Television

From the Enterprise to the Discovery: The Decline and Fall of Utopian Technology and the Liberal Dream

The technology and liberalism of recent series such as Star Trek: Discovery, Star Trek: Picard, and the latest Doctor Who series have more in common with Harry Potter's childish wand-waving than Gene Roddenberry's original techno-utopian dream.

Music

The 50 Best Post-Punk Albums Ever: Part 2, The B-52's to Magazine

This week we are celebrating the best post-punk albums of all-time and today we have part two with the Cure, Mission of Burma, the B-52's and more.

Music

Emily Keener's "Boats" Examines Our Most Treasured Relationships (premiere)

Folk artist Emily Keener's "Boats" offers a warm look back on the road traveled so far—a heartening reflection for our troubled times.

Music

Paul Weller - "Earth Beat" (Singles Going Steady)

Paul Weller's singular modes as a soul man, guitar hero, and techno devotee converge into a blissful jam about hope for the earth on "Earth Beat".

Games

On Point and Click Adventure Games with Creator Joel Staaf Hästö

Point and click adventure games, says Kathy Rain and Whispers of a Machine creator Joel Staaf Hästö, hit a "sweet spot" between puzzles that exercise logical thinking and stories that stimulate emotions.

Music

The 50 Best Post-Punk Albums Ever: Part 1, Gang of Four to the Birthday Party

If we must #quarantine, at least give us some post-punk. This week we are revisiting the best post-punk albums of all-time and we kick things off with Gang of Four, Public Image Ltd., Throbbing Gristle, and more.

Music

Alison Chesley Toils in Human and Musical Connectivity on Helen Money's 'Atomic'

Chicago-based cellist, Alison Chesley (a.k.a. Helen Money) creates an utterly riveting listen from beginning to end on Atomic.

Music

That Kid's 'Crush' Is a Glittering Crossroads for E-Boy Music

That Kid's Crush stands out for its immediacy as a collection of light-hearted party music, but the project struggles with facelessness.

Books

Percival Everett's ​​​'Telephone​​​' Offers a Timely Lesson

Telephone provides a case study of a family dynamic shaken by illness, what can be controlled, and what must be accepted.

Reviews

Dream Pop's Ellis Wants to be 'Born Again'

Ellis' unhappiness serves as armor to protect her from despair on Born Again. It's better to be dejected than psychotic.

Music

Counterbalance No. 10: 'Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols'

The Spirit of ’77 abounds as Sex Pistols round out the Top Ten on the Big List. Counterbalance take a cheap holiday in other people’s misery. Right. Now.

Film

'Thor: Ragnarok' Destroys and Discards the Thor Mythos

Taika Waititi's Thor: Ragnarok takes a refreshingly iconoclastic approach to Thor, throwing out the old, bringing in the new, and packaging the story in a colourful, gorgeously trashy aesthetic that perfectly captures the spirit of the comics.

Music

Alps 2 and Harry No Release Eclectic Single "Madness at Toni's Chip Shop in Wishaw" (premiere)

Alps 2 and Harry NoSong's "Madness at Toni's Chip Shop in Wishaw" is a dizzying mix of mangled 2-step rhythms and woozy tranquil electronics.

Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews
Features
Collapse Expand Features
PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.