Julius and Vincent Benedict are the results of an experiment that would allow for the perfect child. Julius was planned and grows to athletic proportions. Vincent is an accident and is somewhat smaller in stature. Vincent is placed in an orphanage while Julius is taken to a South Seas island and raised by philosophers. Vincent becomes the ultimate lowlife and is about to be killed by loan sharks when Julius discovers that he has a brother and begins looking for him.Written by
John Vogel <email@example.com>
The twins were told that their mother was at an artists' colony 200 miles north of Santa Fe. That would have put them in downtown Alamosa, Colo. (36 miles too far north to be in New Mexico). See more »
[On Vince's trail, Webster has come to his house, and finds it empty, save for Julius, the cat]
Well what have we here? What a cute little kitty! So, where's Daddy?
[Picking up the cat, he finds the information Vince wrote down in the trash basket. He holds it up to read it]
Well, well, well. Thank you very much...
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The Title "Twins" appears with two "i" (one of them is smaller than the other one) referring to the appearance of the two main characters. See more »
Danny and Arnie... or when comedies had warmth and innocence.
1953, a super-secret scientific experiment aims to make a perfect man out of six "contributors" who include Nobel Prize winners and athletes and a beautiful woman to be inoculated with the seminal milkshake. But as usual when men play sorcerer apprentices, science finds its way to trick them and when the super-baby raises his cute little nose, it's revealed a few seconds later that Mommy carried a clandestine passenger all along.
Life found a way in a little boy who's nothing like his big brother is (literally) and there comes another comedy relying on science and the mysteries of life from Ivan Reitman, after "Ghosbusters" and before "Junior". The title shot says it all, the big blonde baby is Arnold Schwarzenegger and the little one who kicks him in the leg is Danny De Vito, such a cute and tender moment for a blockbuster comedy... because it's a comedy. Boys separated at birth and reuniting for a vengeance has been an excuse for lousy action pictures but who needs action when characters are driven by family love.
What "Twins" accomplishes is remarkable in its simplicity, it takes the established comedic persona of Danny De Vito and associates it to one no viewer would have anticipated in 1988. Consider that in '87, Arnie had played one of his ultimate action roles in "Predator" and it was right after "Terminator", "Commando" and the "Conan" series. Just when he was about to be typecast, Arnie takes a 180° turn and plays a man who's strong and muscular all right but never at the expenses of his good nature, his endless love for his brother and his nerdy attributes. Remember that McBain gag in "The Simpsons" where he played a nerd, it's a credit for Arnie to never make his Julius Benedict a similar subject of ridicule, he's genuinely funny because he never means to. For the same reason, even the preposterous premise of having him pregnant in "Junior" worked beautifully.
But "Twins" accomplishes something more, it pairs up the most two different possible actors, body and personality-wise to make it part of the plot, it's one thing to make them brothers, but talk about suspension of disbelief when we're asked to believe they're twins. That's the stuff comedic gold can be made of and in the crucial moment where Julius reveals his identity to Vincent, from each sides of a visiting room, Vincent's reaction is priceless: "it was like looking in the mirror", "we're not identical twins" retorts Julius and Vincent's face is another credit to De Vito's talent, it says "oh that explains it all" with a hint of "no kidding?". And apart from a few moments that insist on their telepathic connections (scratching their bottom in the same time, Vincent naming his cat Julius and Julius naming his computer Vincent) the film never overplays it to the point it becomes a cheap gimmick, and in the 80s, it's quite an achievement.
I guess that's the third accomplishment of "Twins", it has a deep and touching warmth of its own that plays like a wonderful tribute to brotherhood that transcends the differences. Danny and Arnie share the screen literally as they never try to steal one scene from another. And when Julius tries to follow his brothers' steps: how to make up with girls, how to flirt, to dance, to prepare for the big night (because Julius is a virgin) it's funny and goofy but it's played with balance by Arnie who's got a lot of comedic potential, certainly more than his rival Stallone. I criticized Sly for being too "straight" even in comedic roles such as "Demolition Man", but that same year, Arnie delivered a great self-parodic performance in "Last Action Hero" and hints of that truetalent is displayed in "Twins". Take that scene when he's teased by the beautiful Kelly Preston, he knows he is but he plays his Julius as an embarrassed man, never embarrassing. Naturally, she stops playing with him and takes full rein.
"Twins" contains two romances, Arnie and Preston while De Vito is with the more jovial and ordinary-looking Chloe Webb and together they have a great chemistry. Heart is something that never deserts the film and contributes to some weirdly effective serious moments, Julius' childish joy meeting the athletic dad, Vincent learning that he was the undeserved one by the doctor prick followed by the heartwarming moment when Julius comforts him by reminding him that it's not just a matter of nature but nurture as well, he lived in a Pacific Island surrounded by love while he grew up in an orphanage thinking his mom abandoned him.
It's all natural that one brother would learn the tricks of modern life and the other to be a little less rough when it comes to handle the sweet aspects of life. Isolated they were alone and marginal, together they form a great duo immortalized by that iconic moment where they cockily walk across the street with the same suit, certainly one of the 80's most instantly identifiable moments. Of course, the crime plot is here to give some spice to the narrative but it never indulges to the basic clichés, no chase, no shootouts, and Arnie is only strong when necessary but despises violence. It all comes down to the real climax of the film not being about action or money but a magical reunion between a mother and her lost sons.
"Twins" takes me back to the early 90s when Saturdays evening featured comedies and comedies of that era had such an innocence I truly miss them (though Kelly Preston awakened one of my earliest pre-teen impulses and her presence is one of the things I most cherish about the film).
(and for the first time, I post the 100th review of a film)
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