Multiplicity Movie Review

I hate it when a film sounds like it's going to be great, has a hilarious teaser-trailer, stars some wonderful actors, features a small role played by the daughter of one of my film review subscribers, and ends up falling a bit flat on the screen.

Such is the case with Multiplicity, the new Harold Ramis-Michael Keaton comedy about a guy who clones himself in order to get a little free time.

Doug (Keaton) is a construction contractor with way to much responsibility at work and not enough time to do it. His wife (Andie MacDowell) never sees hubby, and neither do the kids. Doug's stress is getting so severe that he seems on the verge of a breakdown, and eventually he does so -- a couple of times -- before being talked into having himself cloned by a doctor in Malibu.

Doug #2 (Keaton) is a gruff mensch who takes over Doug's job and never looks back. Deciding that still isn't enough, Doug opts for another in #3 (Keaton), who takes on the personality of a fey househusband obsessed with soufflés, Tupperware, and the non-crumpledness of aluminum foil. And when #2 and #3 decide they don't have enough time themselves, they get together to clone #4 (Keaton), who doesn't turn out quite as sharp as expected, shaving his tongue and keeping pizza in his wallet.

Yes, it does sound funny, and Keaton does some of his best work here, hamming it up to an extreme -- particularly with the fall-down funny #3: the Martha Stewart inside all of us.

But what to do about that darned script? Rewrite after rewrite has taken its obvious toll, and the thing comes off as shredded as a bowl of cole slaw, with very funny moments (watch for "Vista de Nada") interspersed with lifeless exposition. Keaton does his best, but it isn't enough to maintain more than a mild chuckle-average during the course of the film.

Also of note: Multiplicity has the dubious honor of being the second movie in a row that Andie MacDowell stars in that she did not single-handedly ruin (the first being Unstrung Heroes). Let's hear it for Andie!

But I found the most interesting part of the movie's premise painfully avoided, and I'll ask it here for the reader to ponder: Just how much does it cost to get a clone?

And Kari, you were great.


Multiplicity Rating

" OK "

Rating: PG-13, 1996


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