Although their productions have declined since the twin hits of "Dumb and Dumber" and "Something About Mary" (as well as the little-seen, yet screamingly funny "Kingpin"), there's still something sweet about a Farrelly Brothers feature, as the two continue to manage to make gross-out, low-brow comedies that somehow manage to wedge in a good helping of heart (despite an occasional overdose of sentimentality.)
While "Stuck On You" continues the formula, the Farrellys have written themselves into a corner with a screenplay that's essentially a one-joke (and somewhat uncomfortable one-joke, at that) bit: Bob and Walt Tenor (Matt Damon and Greg Kinnear) are brothers. They also happen to be conjoined twins, one confident and charming, the other nervous and prone to panic attacks.
The two have become sort of the toast of their little town, running a restaurant together and famed for their prior successes in local sports. When Walt (Kinnear) wants to persue an acting career in Hollywood, Bob has little choice but to follow him along. Walt also reasons that Bob can finally meet his internet pen-pal (Wen Yann Shih).
Things don't go entirely well, but the film's middle act does have some amusing business as Cher (playing Cher, and seemingly having a really good time doing it) hires Bob and Walt to try and tank a sitcom that she wants to get out of. Of course, the sitcom becomes a hit, while Walter gets a romantic interest (Eva Mendes) and Bob finally comes face-to-face with his pen pal.
The two twins do present an interesting look at both sides of people and it's to the script's credit that the personalities of both are clearly defined. However, the script has a sort of uneasy balance between drama/sentimentality and comedy, never quite succeeding at either. There are some very funny moments here where the Farellys actually don't resort to gross-out gags, but there's also a fair amount of bits that flop or only get a chuckle. A couple of subtle bits (Robert Evans jokes and a Meryl Streep cameo) go over okay. The sight gags aren't too much better, aside from a rather brilliant bit where Bob and Walt turn their attachment to each other into an aid during a barfight. The casting is a little off, too: while Damon and Kinnear do a fine job playing brothers who care about and look out for each other, Damon really never seems too comfortable with the comedy. Woody Allen and Chris Rock were among the rumored original casting choices.
The film's most noticable flaw, however, is that it's simply too long (a problem with most Farrelly films.) At nearly 120 minutes, it could have easily lost 20. Still, while the film could have been noticably tighter and some of the gags punched up a little more, there's a good-hearted quality to the picture that's enjoyable and the two lead performances are generally good.
VIDEO: "Stuck on You" is presented by Fox in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen (pan & scan version also out there, unfortunately). The presentation quality is just pretty good. The Farrellys are working this time with cinematographer Dan Mindel, who has previously done excellent work on "The Bourne Identity". However, Mindel doesn't bring the sort of warmth to the images that former Farrelly collaborator Mark Irwin did, nor does the material allow him to do anything really elaborate, aside from a couple of mild camera moves. As for the DVD presentation, sharpness is generally fine, if not exemplary. The picture also just seems ever-so-slightly dark looking.
Edge enhancement is occasionally present in scenes, but it remained slight and hardly noticable. Compression artifacts aren't present, nor were any print flaws. Colors generally seemed natural and nicely saturated. This was a fine enough presentation.
SOUND: The film's Dolby Digital 5.1 presentation is generally a "comedy" mix. The surrounds are pulled in occasionally for some echo-y reinforcement of the music, but aside from that, the rear speakers are really never put to use. Dialogue remained clean and clear sounding.
EXTRAS: Directors Peter and Bobby Farrelly provide a running commentary for the DVD. Famous (infamous?) for managing to spend entire commentaries merely pointing out all of their friends (telling us their aunt's cousin's neighbor's uncle's sister is the extra in the scene), the track for "Stuck On You" is no different. After a while, some more actual information about the production does start to arrive, but the two still throw in the occasional shout-out to their friends in the picture. The two also admit that they're not at their best, as they're recording the commentary after filming all night on their next picture, "The Ringer" (which they're exec producing). "The Ringer", written by "Family Guy" writer Ricky Blitt, is apparently about two guys who rig the Special Olympics.
"It's Funny - The Farrelly Formula" is a 15-minute discussion of how wonderful the Farrellys are. The featurette trots out interviews with nearly every major actor that has worked with the directors in the past, all of whom pour out their souls thanking some higher power for the chance to work with the brothers. Seriously, it's just a kind of pointless piece where we don't get any real insight, just hearing how great the two are.
Mildly better is "Stuck Together", a "making of" piece that offers some behind-the-scenes clips, discussions of casting and chat about the process that the script - which has been in the pipeline for years - finally went into the production stage. Rounding out the DVD is a featurette on the make-up effects, a lengthy blooper reel and trailers for "Stuck On You" and other Fox titles. On the main menu is an "Inside Look" featurette, which provides promos or brief "making of"s for 4 upcoming Fox theatrical releases.
Final Thoughts: There's some funny bits throughout and the performances aren't bad, but "Stuck On You"'s mix of comedy and sentimentality sometimes gets awkward and the picture really could have gotten to the point faster. Fans of the directors' prior films may want to try a rental. Fox's DVD edition provides fine audio/video quality and a decent helping of supplements.
The Film ** 1/2