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"Duplex"
Reviewed by: Wayne Klein
Genre: Comedy
Video: 1.85:1
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1
Languages English, French,
Subtitles English, Spanish
Length 97 minutes
Rating PG-13
Release Date 3/2/04
Studio Walt Disney Home Video
Commentary: Director Mike Figgis
Documentaries: None
Featurettes: "Behind the Scenes".
Filmography/Biography: None
Interviews: None
Trailers/TV Spots: Theatrical Trailer
Alternate/Deleted Scenes: Deleted scenes
Music Video: None
Other: None
Cast and Crew: Ben Stiller, Drew Barrymore, Harvey Fierstein, Justin Theroux, Eileen Essell, James Remar, Swoosie Kurtz, Wallace Shawn
Written By: Larry Doyle
Produced By: Drew Barrymore, Ben Stiller, Larry Doyleand Stuart Cornfield
Directed By: Danny Devito
Music: David Newman
The Review:

Alex Rose and Nancy Kendricks believe they've found the home of their dreams. It turns out that they've entered a surreal comedic nightmare more vivid than a Dali painting. It seems the petty, slightly demented upstairs neighbor (Eileen Essell) is the Devil in disguise as a little old lady. Her demands and annoying behavior lead this happy-go-lucky couple to consider helping Mrs. Connelly vacate the premises and the planet permanently. ***

Everyone has had a neighbor from hell. Which makes "Duplex" a bit more universal than most comedies of this sort. Callling this a comedy stretches the imagination as Larry Doyle's screenplay continually misses the mark. I'm surprised given that director Danny Devito was at the helm of the film but with co-stars and co-producers Stiller and Barrymore "fixing" the film with last minute re-shoots and re-editing, "Duplex" was compromised from the start. Stiller does a variation on the characters he's played in "There's Something About Mary" and "Meet The Parents" and, sadly, his manic energy and comic inventiveness can't overcome the end result. Barrymore gives a sweet comic performance that, again, revitalizes some of the scenes she plays with Stiller. It's just not enough. The film has its moments and wouldn't be a bad rental on a rainy afternoon when you're sick in bed. You can even nod off between scenes and not miss much. The best scenes were, honestly, in the trailer.

Image and Sound: Looks great but that doesn't make up for the lack of satisfaction that viewers will feel after having wasted two hours of their life. There are some edge enhancement issues but overall the film looks solid. The sound has an annoying, grating, shrill scream throughout it's two hours that makes it impossible to hear the dialogue. Just kidding, actually that would have been a relief during some of the scenes of the film. ---
The Extras: Just a standard "Behind the Scenes" featurette and deleted scenes. Clearly no one wanted to put much more effort into this misfired comedy. ---
Commentary: None. Clearly Clearly no one wanted to own up to being involved in this film. In reality, it's pretty clear no one associated with the production wanted to waste two hours of their life watching it again. Perhaps UCLA film professor Howard Suber could give a lecture about why this is a bad comedy. It would certainly be more interesting than watching the film with the sound on.
Final Words: If it was a rainy afternoon, my car was broken down and I was sick in bed I might consider watching this on HBO or Network television. With the sound off and very loud music. Or while reading a book. You certainly wouldn't miss much. Watch the trailer and you've seen the best parts of the movie. You'll thank me for saving you two hours of your life. Trust me on this.

 

 
 
 
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