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Duplex Movie

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Summary:
Alex and Nancy have it pretty good. They are a young, vibrant couple in New York City with bright futures ahead of them. But one thing is missing: a home of their own. When they find one, it comes with one feature they didn't expect--an upstairs tenant, Mrs. Connelly, who lives in a rent-controlled apartment, and who isn't quite as easy-going or frail as Alex and Nancy originally anticipated. As their blissful life begins to seriously fray around the edges, their dream home rapidly turns into a nightmare and they decide that they must get Mrs. Connelly out of their lives.

Review:
Dark comedies are always hard to gauge. On one hand they aren't meant to be slapstick or conventionally funny. They rely more on an underlying cynicism to create a funny satire. This is where the problem becomes evident (especially in this film). Although television stations spew out similar sitcoms on situational/slapstick comedy formats and succeed year in year out, this isn't the case for satires or dark comedies. Although media moguls can gauge what people will find funny through conventional comedy, their is no standing precedent for what people find satirically funny. In case in point, Cable Guy was a dark comedy and it bombed in the theaters and almost ruined Jim Carrey's career. Before this particular film Jim Carrey rode a meteoritic ride to fame with slapstick routines. Following the failure of this film he went on to push the same slapstick routines but in different packages and has become one of Hollywood's top leading men.

Death to Smoochy by Danny Devito was a brilliant film and the perfect premise for a satire/dark comedy. It showed the ugly behind-the-scenes side of children's shows such as Teletubbies and Barney. But Duplex which is another Danny Devito film follows another format entirely in my opinion. It utilizes a normal premise and tries to create a subtle satire about normal characters. I mean they could've called these characters John and Jane Doe. Ben Stiller plays Alex, the writer, really common profession in B movies nowadays and Nancy (Drew Barrymore) portrays an editor for a magazine which is a really common position for women (Message in a Bottle, Lois Lane in Superman, etc). Now this is my criticism for this particular film that it's characters aren't creative enough to create a satirical enough setting for the movie. But, I guess Danny Devito could be going after the dark subtleties or everyday people.  I personally find this to be boring and pointless especially with the casting. I think Ben Stiller and Drew Barrymore do a great job at playing creative characters with lots of flavor rather than boring reporters and writers. I mean Ben Stiller's big films have him playing a male nurse in Meet the Parents and a fashion model in Zoolander. Drew Barrymore is well known for producing and starring in the Charlie's Angels movies. Futhermore the movie through the script and awful direction try to suppress these actors/actresses natural ability to make people laugh and it is agonizing to watch. I mean they do everything they can to make sure that Ben Stiller keeps his lid and doesn't go crazy where that's probably what he does best. 

In the end I personally found this film to be absolute torture to sit through and I almost asked for my money back. But, on the other hand I can easily see how some people might actually like the movie if they have similar life experiences in a big city. Satires are sometimes effective devices when the people watching the film have gone through similar or have heard of similar instances in the past. Office Space was a very popular movie (although it wasn't an absolute satire) since many people work in offices and they identified with the characters. But unless you identify with these characters through personal experiences, you will find this film to be absolute agony and might scratch your eyes out in the process.

See this movie if you're a fan of:

Danny Devito (Actor/Director, Twins, Death to Smoochy)

Ben Stiller (Actor, Zoolander, Meet the Parents)

Drew Barrymore (Actress, Charlie's Angels, E.T., The Wedding Singer)

Dark comedies 


star

Box Office Info:

Cast:
Ben Stiller (as Alex)
Drew Barrymore (as Nancy)
Eileen Essel Justin Theroux (as Cooper Sinclair)

Directed By: Danny DeVito
Written By: Larry Doyle & John Hamburg
Produced By: Miramax

Release Date (US): September 26, 2003

Length of Movie: 1h 29min

MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sexual content, language and some violence.

Filming Locations: New York City (NY), Los Angeles (CA), Brooklyn (NY).

Budget: $

Opening Weekend: $4,417,000

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