Thursday, February 27, 2014

Duplex (2003) Review:

Ben Stiller is one of Hollywood's most talented comedic actors and has proven in other films that he has the ability to make some really great and funny films. But I am extremely confused to how this idea for a story ever sounded hilarious. Never have I witnessed such mean spiritedness to such likeable characters, and to make matters worse have those likeable characters stoop to a level that is degrading enough that it crosses the line between what is funny and what borders on the edge of lunacy. And to top it off, Danny DeVito directed it; this comedy should've worked.

The couple and the old woman
The story is about a young happy couple (Ben Stiller & Drew Barrymore) who decide to buy a bottom floor to a duplex. While on the top floor is an elderly woman who seems fine enough to live with. Hah! It's  a shame to see this movie come to full circle, it's so sad to the point where you regret knowing how things will turn out in the future. Just why? How is it funny? What were they thinking? The only credit I'll give to this movie is for the actors attempting to make the movie funny. That's it. The main actors try and so do some other less important actors but it feels so difficult to accept how low brow the comedy became.

The problem is once the couple has moved in, the old woman on the top floor is everything nobody wanted in their life,...EVER. She consistently asks for help on impossible tasks, forgetting names, playing the television during all hours of the night. You know, something every old person does? It's understandable that stereotypes can be funny but it doesn't work here. All this will do is annoy viewers and feel just as restless as the couple on screen dealing with the same senselessness. And it doesn't get any better. In fact, the comedic elements become so derivative, that at a point in the movie it qualifies the subject of MURDER as an ok thing to do. What? Even Ben Stiller's directed film, The Cable Guy (1996) didn't drop to those immoral levels.

This cop is so gullible!
And with all the time and money spent on trying to rid the duplex of this old woman, the couple could've moved out a long time ago and found a much more suitable place to live. Instead, things become so out of control that it would make the viewer question, "Who in the world would want to live here now?". It's baffling. Also, even though the actors play their characters the best they can, the logic and reasoning behind some of the situations are absolutely absurd - especially if one person is making an accusation against two people and they both witnessed what happened and the situation being described is nothing like the one they took part in. Who is this thickheaded to be convinced of it? How is it believable? How? How? How? Other than this, the production is fine and David Newman's score is ok although it's just another unreleased set of music. It tries but fails badly.

What seems to be a decent comedy turns out to be an extremely incompetent mean spirited story. It also could send out the wrong message about senior citizens.

Points Earned --> 2:10

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