14 January 2004 | ruby_fff
Comedy beyond Something About Mary or Dumb & Dumber -- it's very much a human story with abundance of heart
The Farrelly Brothers' "Stuck On You" is sincere drama with lots of heart -- of course, along with their smart quips and earnest observations not diminishing. I even gone teary-eyed towards the end. Bobby and Peter Farrelly brothers wrote, directed and produced this movie and they are never sloppy. There is much attention to detail and exudes empathy and earnestness. (I'd say their 2001 production of "Shallow Hal," with Jack Black and Gwenyth Paltrow, contained moments of poignancy also.)
Watching Matt Damon (as Bob) and Greg Kinnear (as Walt) single-handedly flipping burgers and buns in syncopated rhythm -- 'tis an acrobatic act in itself! (The art of 'Quickie Burgers in less than 30 seconds' is such a theme!) The pairing is godsend. Both Damon and Kinnear are talented actors who had many fascinating roles. Kinnear's portrayal of Bob Crane ("Hogan's Heroes") in Paul Schrader's "Auto Focus" 2002 has pretty much established him -- since his debut role in Sydney Pollack's remake of "Sabrina" 1995 and coming through acting opposite Jack Nicholson in Albert Brooks' "As Good As It Gets" 1997 -- as one who can handle roles in depth. Damon, besides his writing quality, has shown his versatile capability in Ed Zwick's "Courage Under Fire" 1996 (psychological/military), John Dahl's "Rounders" 1998 (intense/suspense), Kevin Smith's "Dogma" 1999 (fun/satire), Anthony Minghella's "The Talented Mr. Ripley" 1999 (multiple personality/mystery), Billy Bob Thornton's "All the Pretty Horses" 2000 (romance/western), Doug Liman's "The Bourne Identity" 2002 (action/thriller), Steven Soderbergh's remake of "Ocean Eleven" (ensemble cast/heist), and Gus Van Sant's "Gerry" 2002 (mystical/hypnotic) which Damon scripted and acted with Casey Affleck -- yes, he can handle any role, indeed.
The story introduces, matter of factly, the things these two stuck together brothers do in their everyday life -- it's down to earth and comes across downright normal. The plot evolves when Walt wants to pursue his acting career, just like any Hollywood dreams and Bob wants his brother to succeed. The Farrelly brothers can sure weave a heartwarming story, and here they follow through the emotional curve and happenings (cause and consequences) between these two brothers, and their friends and neighbors along the way. It's a thoughtful and creative script, and the brothers (almost a pun here) manage to include a musical, too. Cher is in a supporting role playing her fun self. The two corresponding girl friend roles are played delightfully by Eva Mendes as April, and tenderly by Wen Yann Shih as May. Veteran actor Seymour Cassel has a riotous time with his wig. There's a heartfelt cameo by Meryl Streep -- it's beyond being brief. The use of songs and lyrics was complementary to the various moods at hand. (Gilbert O'Sullivan's 1970 hit "Alone Again, Naturally" included.) From the production notes, we learned that the conjoint-ness was made possible by a makeup team led by Tony Gardner, special makeup designer, who collaborated with the Farrelly's before -- he enabled Gwenyth Paltrow's 300-lbs physique in "Shallow Hal". Damon and Kinnear were 'stuck together' 14 hours a day for 3 months. It is amazing how Farrelly brothers and their capable filmmaking friends and collaborators realized this genuinely caring human drama-comedy. It's guaranteed enjoyable movie experience for everyone.