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STUCK ON YOU (director/writer: Bobby Farrelly, Peter Farrelly; cinematographer: Daniel Mindel; editors: Christopher Greenbury/Dave Terman; music: Tom Wolf; cast: Matt Damon (Bob Tenor ), Greg Kinnear (Walt Tenor), Eva Mendes (April), Wenn Yann Shih (May Fong), Seymour Cassel (Morty O’Reilly), Meryl Streep (Herself), Griffin Dunne (Himself), Cher (Herself), Frankie Muniz (Himself), Pat Crawford Brown (Mimmy), Ray ‘Rocket’ Valliere (Rocket), Terence Bernie Hines (Moe), Jackie Flynn (Howard); Runtime: 100; MPAA Rating: PG-13; producers: Bradley Thomas, Charles B. Wessler, Bobby Farrelly and Peter Farrelly; 20th Century Fox; 2003)
“More likable than disagreeable.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

A lighthearted yet twisty social issue loaded feel-good slapstick comedy by the mavens of bad-taste, the Farrelly brothers (“There’s Something About Mary”/”Shallow Hal”/ “Dumb and Dumber”). It’s about Siamese twins joined at the hip, who don’t look alike and have disparate personalities but have gotten used to their condition in their 30 or so years together and have made a success of themselves in their small-town in Martha’s Vineyard, where the locals have accepted them because they fit in and have become an integral part of the community.

Bob and Walt Tenor (Matt Damon & Greg Kinnear) are burger flippers in the fast-food restaurant they own, who were local football, baseball, boxing and hockey stars and are content with their lives despite their handicap and mild disagreements with each other. Bob has most of the liver, so a separation operation would endanger Walt–which is why Bob refuses the operation. They pride themselves in hiring a mentally challenged waiter named Rocket who stutters and is played by someone with this disability. The brothers also pride themselves on how they can fill orders in a quick set time and will give a free meal if they cannot meet that time. When an unpleasant touristy couple insults the help as freaks, they eject them without any hesitation to the approval of the regular restaurant patrons.

Walt is greeted with raves for his performance in the annual amateur theater production and has been bitten by the acting bug, while the shy Bob doesn’t like to perform and is content to not have a part while on stage. When Walt insists they move to Hollywood to pursue “his” acting career, he says that will also be good for Bob because he’s had a long e-mail correspondence with the Oriental Los Angeles-dwelling May (Wenn Yann Shih) whom he has fallen in love with through the Internet but has never met in person. The problem is that Bob never told May of his condition and the outgoing Walt is too naive to realize that out of his safe harbor the world might not look too kindly on a handicapped actor.

The Brothers sweetly mine a multitude of lowbrow sight jokes and create farcical complications that stem in part from the social mores and personal prejudices of the entertainment industry employers and May. By a fluke incident Walt is miraculously an overnight costar in a TV sitcom with the scheming bitchy Cher, who chooses him in the hopes that the show will bomb and she’ll get out of a bad contract. Surprisingly it becomes a hit, and when it’s uncovered that Walt’s a Siamese twin the studio cancels because of pressure from the sponsors but the public support forces the renewal of the show. Though Walt’s a star he still remains true to his common-man and working-class roots, and the twins remain living in the cheap motel. The twins celebrity is certified by an appearance on Jay Leno’s the Tonight Show. But Bob is rejected by a shocked May, and this speeds up the twins decision to have the uncertain operation. With its success, the thread of the conflicting psychological tale changes and a more conventional storyline comes into focus. Bob and May reunite and they return to the burger restaurant in Martha’s Vineyard, while Walt stays for a year in Hollywood. Both can’t function anymore on their own, as Bob can’t fix a fast burger by himself and Walt can’t act alone. To renew their strong psychological bond Walt returns with aspiring actress girlfriend, the busty, April (Eva Mendes), and they both get the hamburger joint operating at full speed. Walt satisfies his showbiz desires by writing and starring in a musical play of Bonnie and Clyde, where he gets Meryl Streep to costar in this amateur production. The twins bumped into her in a restaurant when Walt was an unknown and she politely said she would consider doing a show there. Also, sitting in the audience with the ordinary folks is an apologetic Cher, as the Farrelly brothers bring on a Hollywood sitcom happy ending by covering up all the deeper social issues they flirted with for most of the film.

Damon and Kinnear are both perfectly in tune with each other, inhabiting their codependent world together with believability and spunk. Griffin Dunne plays himself as a television director, which gives him a chance to look back at his short career as a starring actor with a soothing melancholy. Cher is positively monstrous as herself, and was a good antidote to all the sugar. Seymour Cassel as the cheesy agent in a motorized wheelchair delivers his shtick as expected and goes for the easy laughs his role is designed for. Nothing much comes out of any of the richer themes developed, but it scores with many laughs and is a pleasant comedy without the Farrelly brothers usual need for gross-out jokes. I found it more likable than disagreeable, but it played it too safe to be much more than a sentimental tale about brotherly love.

REVIEWED ON 12/21/2003 GRADE: B-

Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”