It’s not easy to be nice and funny at the same time, but filmmakers Peter and Bobby Farrelly have done it. Stuck on You, an unorthodox, sweet tale of conjoined twins, takes the Farrelly’s trademark blend of comic themes with so-called freakish protagonists to a new and greater level. Best of all, the brothers succeed this time with a minimum of crude, lowbrow or plain old stupid jokes.
Sure, There’s Something About Mary, Kingpin and Dumb and Dumber are amusing, often hysterical. But unlike those comedies, which earn most of their laughs from the sheer audacity of their potty humor and situations bordering on tasteless, Stuck on You wondrously takes the high road and still elicits real laughs. At times, it’s downright inspirational.
Not that the Farrellys are contending to follow Woody Allen’s steps in the canon of American film. Stuck on You is, after all, about twin brothers who share a liver and about nine inches down the side. One of their sleeping positions–atop of each other on the side–is just one of the film’s dozens of brilliant sight gags.
Owners of, and masterful short order cooks at the friendly town burger joint, the fellows manage a darned good life in Martha’s Vineyard, where Walt (Greg Kinnear), the outgoing twin, is a respected local thespian. Even though the shy Bob (Matt Damon) gets massive stage fright, he generously appears alongside his brother in "one-man" shows such as Tru. (Another unforgettable bit: Kinnear, dressed in a white suit, glasses and hat, spouting aphorisms as Truman Capote while Damon, connected to him, sweats bullets as he tries to face away from the audience.)
Here’s where the metaphor comes in: Truly devoted, the brothers support and believe in each other in ways that all people–even regular, non-Siamese twin types (the guys even briefly address the use of that politically incorrect phrase) — should. This underlying assumption, and the general goodwill with which the community treats the twins, are what make Stuck on You an extraordinary treat. Everyone can relate to the twins, and understanding their predicament provides much better therapy than a self-help book.
Bob even agrees to move to Los Angeles, so Walt can try out a career in show business. Yet Bob, too, has reason to go. His online love interest of three years, May (Wen Yann Shih) lives there, and Walt, who does well with women, has plans to help the pair get together in person. After a few tribulations, the guys find their way. They make friends with the folks at the Hollywood motel where they reside, meeting April, a buxom aspiring actress (Eva Mendes) and Moe, the proprietor (Terence Bernie Hines) and hack screenwriter. Walt hires a two-bit agent, Morty (Seymour Cassel), who gets him hired on a porn flick.
Through a series of mishaps, Walt gets a co-starring role in a new TV show, which, of course, turns out to be a hit. It also stars Cher, who appears as herself. A handful of other star cameos pepper the movie with continuous surprises, as does the impeccable selection of perfect cheesy pop songs (another prime component of a Farrelly brothers’ film), from Starbuck’s "Moonlight Feels Right" to Bread’s "Baby I’m A Want You."
Damon and Kinnear push the humor by marvelously playing their roles straight throughout, prompting laughter with the brothers, not at them, and adding to the film’s resonance and power. "Power" may be a big word to describe a film written and directed by a team known for purveying stupidity, but it applies nicely in this case. Good-hearted and goofy, Stuck on You will stick with audiences for its soul as much as its silliness.
– Leslie Katz