Gross-out humour is the acknowledged trademark of the Farrelly brothers. So what would it be like if they directed a film about conjoined twins? The cries of the outraged were ringing across California even before this film was released. But it’s really not as simple as laughing at people with disabilities – thankfully.
Matt Damon and Greg Kinnear play unidentical twins Bob and Walt who, for 32 years, have literally been joined at the hip. But their life of “flipping burgers” in backwater Martha’s Vineyard is set to change when Walt declares his intention to pursue an acting career in tinseltown itself – which, coincidentally, is where Bob’s email love of three years resides. And she has no idea he’s a conjoined twin.
Bob, prone to panic attacks, points out the obvious to his brother – which casting agent is going to hire an actor stuck to another person?
Luckily for Walt, the blundering duo bump into bitchy Cher, sending herself up something rotten as Oscar-winning icemaiden from Hell. She’s attempting to wriggle free from a contract to appear in a flagging TV show, and hits upon hiring Walt as a way to get the studio to cancel the series. All does not go as planned…
There are plenty of other cameos throughout, notably from Meryl Streep, but as time and again the audience is left to laugh at the brothers they at least provide distraction. Damon is huggably sweet (though terribly butch these days) as Bob, lacking the confidence of his suave brother. Kinnear is on the way to being a revelation as the lovey half of the double-act.
But while we might sympathise with the brothers, and despite attempts at making the pair normal guys whom it’s okay to laugh at, what grates is being expected to laugh at their disability. The jokes, after the first few spins of the recycling machine, lack amusement (thank goodness for those cameos).
But the real problem with this film is lack of planning. It seems as though it started out as a comedy, and half way through everyone realised that it’d be better to make a sentimental, touchy-feely drama of the story instead, but by then it was too late. And yet despite that, audiences will laugh at this – once. It’s diverting, but hardly classic stuff.