Four mental patients on a field trip in New York City must save their caring chaperon, who ends up being taken to a hospital in a coma after accidentally witnessing a murder, before the killers can find him and finish the job.
Construction worker Doug Kinney finds that the pressures of his working life, combined with his duties to his wife Laura and daughter Jennifer leaves him with little time for himself. However, he is approached by geneticist Dr. Owen Leeds who offers him a rather unusual solution to his problems - cloning. Written by
Jonathan Broxton <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Though nowhere near as good as Groundhog Day (director Harold Ramis's previous movie) this is still a solid comedy with several big laughs. Though its situation of a man cloning himself in order to make his life more manageable would have been an interesting one to play with a serio-comic focus, Multiplicity - despite some token moralizing - is pretty much content to play its premise for wacky farce. As such, however, it does an expert job: the timing in the scenes is impeccable and the interplay between the main characters is sharp and memorable. This is especially amazing since the "main characters" here are almost exclusively played by Michael Keaton. His ability to not only delineate between the four versions of himself, but also to play each of these "selves" off convincingly against the others is nothing short of superb. In my mind, this represents a much more awesome achievement than does Eddie Murphy's similar multiple role-playing in The Nutty Professor - and here it's not just pointless showboating (there was no reason besides vanity that Murphy had to play every member of his family), but absolutely intrinsic to the movie's success. Essentially, the film rides on Keaton's ability to do precisely what he does as well as he does. Multiplicity represents his funniest film work in years, and perhaps his best ever.
A couple of scenes in particular stand out as howlingly funny set pieces - such as the one in the restaurant and the one where the clones are left alone with Keaton's wife, played by Andie McDowell. It's a shame her character wasn't at least a little bit more sketched in by the writers (compare this, for example, to her wonderfully three dimensional role in Groundhog Day) - it might have made the film a little fuller. In fact, none of the supporting characters are really given much to do here, making it solidly a one man show. But what a show! With Keaton truly hitting every comic grace note available, you don't really have much time to notice or care about the lack of secondary characters. I have seen this film four times and it has yet to lose one iota of its hilarity or charm. Hey, how much more can you demand from a comedy?
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