|Stuck on You
starring Greg Kinnear and Matt Damon
review by Stephen Notley
The Farrelly brothers, the fellas behind movies like There's Something About Mary, Me, Myself and Irene, Shallow Hal and now Stuck On You, are known for their gross-out humor and willingness to probe uncomfortable nerves by making fun of weirdoes, fatties and retards.
But there's another side to the Farrellys, which is the curious respect and dignity they afford the various bizarroes who populate their films. They typically cast retards to play retards, for instance, and you'll notice nobody makes fun of those guys in a Farrelly movie and gets away unpunished. Whether it's the crowd of freaks buzzing around Mary (including the nice guy who's just as much of a freak as any of them) to Jim Carrey's split-personality cop who's oblivious to his non-fatherhood of his three huge black sons, Farrelly characters just go along, living their lives as normally and with as much dignity as they can. We're all freaks, the Farrellys seem to be saying, we all get made fun of. Join the party.
It's kinda sweet, really, which brings us to Stuck on You, featuring Matt Damon and Greg Kinnear as Siamese --sorry, conjoined-- twins. Here's a movie that's so sweet and inclusive, so comfortable in its bizarreness, they forgot to include jokes.
Matt Damon and Greg Kinnear make a curious couple. For two guys literally joined at the hip, they lead very different lives. Kinnear plays personable, outgoing Walt while Damon backs him up as shy introverted Bob. Walt aspires to be an actor; Bob is terrified of the stage. Walt is a huge hit with the ladies; Bob never gets laid and spends his time pining over his longtime internet girlfriend.
In other words, these guys are totally normal except that they happen to be stuck together. They're regular guys, well-liked, and since their whole lives revolve around their elaborately maintained fiction of normality, it quickly becomes normal. Never for a second does Walt feel that having another human being attached to his body makes any of his dreams unrealistic, so neither do we.
This is mostly Kinnear's movie, and he keeps it above water, always bright, cheerful, Farrelly oblivious to his supposed limitations, while Damon plays a pretty good sulky straight man to Kinnear's flamboyant Walt. As a brother-relationship story there's some awkwardness and closeness and fighting and working as a team as there should be. We get to watch as Walt decides to move to LA to make it big as an actor, dragging Bob along so he can finally meet May, his internet hottie. We see Walt get cast by Cher in her lame TV show so that she can get out of her contract only to have the show go on and become a hit, and we see Bob shyly trying to get to know May while lamely hiding the fact that he's stuck to Walt.
It's amusing, and well-observed at times, but somehow it never actually
rises to the level of *comedy*. It's like the Farrellys are so sympathetic
towards their characters that they're unwilling to inflict pain on them,
and pain is the core of funny. We see the brothers shamble along and bumble
through their problems just like we would, but since they never really
lose their dignity or their normality, where's the joke? Stuck on You is
a nice enough movie, and in fact that's the problem. It's simply too nice
to be funny.