There were key movies in my life that helped to make me who I am today. Movies that I have loved from the moment the opening credit rolled and still love now. This blog series is about those, My guilty pleasures, my favorites, my escapes. Some were very popular, others not so much. Some of these will have some real life take-aways, others are just for fun.
Today we discuss Multiplicity.
Today’s Key Movie:
Have you ever wished you could just clone yourself so you could get more done in your life? Imagine it, you could have a clone for the office, a clone for chores, a clone to do the things you really don’t want to do. Would be great wouldn’t it? Everything would be so much simpler except for one thing, what if those clones had a mind of their own?
That is what our movie today considers as we follow Doug Kinney (Keaton) as a man who agrees to participate in a cloning experiment only to have things not quite work out as planned. With an all star cast including Andie MacDowell, John Delancie, Eugene Levy and directed by Harold Ramis this is Multiplicity.
Why this movie?
As I mentioned in the review for Mr. Mom, Keaton could do no wrong as far as we were concerned. Having already proved himself in comedy (and as Batman himself), Michael Keaton had quickly become one of our favorite actors and it this film was a shoe in for us to watch. The thing that attracted me to this film wasn’t just Keaton in the lead but the premise of cloning itself. We had already explored the catastrophic nature of the technology a few years earlier with Jurassic Park so a light hearted take was just too irresistible to pass up.
I remember going to the theater to see this one with a date and, while I don’t remember if she enjoyed it or not (that particular relationship didn’t last long), I do remember loving the film myself and eventually bought a copy on VHS some time later.
You like it, but is it really a ‘good’ movie?
In many ways this is a spiritual sequel to Mr. Mom with Keaton in a very similar role of a man who finds himself struggling to find a work life balance only to find himself realizing just how much his spouse does when he is not home. The answer to his problem this time is not to triple down on being a good house-husband but instead to clone himself in order to find time for himself. All of this under the direction of classic comedy director Harold Ramis and honestly, you can’t lose.
The story itself is pretty basic but, for comedy, that is a good thing. What I like about the story is that it is a very clean blend of Scifi and Humor done in a way that simply states that cloning is possible and, pretty easy. In fact, in this universe cloning is an unregulated event that pretty much involves xeroxing a person. There is no fuss with growing a human in this version, literally just a scan and POP, you get a clone. Now, for any hard core scifi fans this will come as a travesty but if you think about it, it actually works for the purpose of the story. This is a comedy first and a scifi a distant second so it had to remain a relatively simple affair, even though I do have a few questions renegading the initial production of the clone and some clearly missing parts.
Keaton not only plays double duty in this one but quadruple duty as multiple clones of the same person. The thing I love about his performance is that each iteration of Doug Kinney has very distinct and individual personalities each of which Keaton pulls off incredibly. You would think it would be hard to tell the various clones apart but, Keaton manages to differentiate them all not only in style (and a number behind their left ears), but also in mannerisms, speech and tone. From an ultra-manly version to a rather derpy one, it is almost as if there are actually multiple Keatons working together on the set. Sure some of the duplication effects are a little dated to today’s standards but, acting wise, he is spot on.
Co-starring with Keaton in his multiple personalities is 90’s staple Andie MacDowell as Laura Kinney, Doug’s wife. It seemed that Andie was in everything back then and to see her along side Keaton in this film was a delight. Like most films she is in she owns every scene she is featured in and is the perfect ‘straight man’ to Keaton’s multiple comedic performance. There is something comforting and familiar about Andie in every roll she has giving her a very relatable nature that makes her perfect in roles like this.
When I said that this film had everyone I wasn’t kidding, rounding out the cast are some of the 90’s most recognizable actors like John DeLance, Richard Masur, Eugene Levy, Brian Doyle-Murray and even a cameo from Glenn Shadix returning to work with Keaton again after his time on Beetlejuice. Each actor does a terrific job filling out the world perfectly. It’s not like Ramis to select a bad cast and he certainly picked a perfect one for this film. On a side note, for some reason I remembered Richard Attenborough in the role of the genetic scientist giving my mind a loose connection to Jurassic Park. On my viewing for this review I discovered that Attenborough was not involved at all instead, in that role, was Harris Yulin. Not to detract from Yulin’s performance but in a way I have to admit I was a little dissapointed to have remembered it incorrectly. Or maybe that casting was in a alternate universe…who knows.
Overall, this is a great 90’s classic comedy that is honestly pretty tame overall. Sure there is a rather awkward scene involving Andie MacDowell’s character unknowingly sleeping with all of the clones. I mean, it is a throwaway scene that at the time was pretty humorous but now, well, it’s a little disturbing at best. Outside of that, and the simplistic cloning process, well, this film has really held up and frankly I was glad to watch it again for this blog series.
OK, where do I get this movie?
I picked up my copy on Vudu as part of a sale but you can find it on DVD for around $10 pretty much anywhere videos are sold.
Of course, the trailer:
Late To The Game 9/12/2019
If you would like to read more reviews please check out the rest of the Key Movies Of My Life that comes out every Thursday.
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