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Duplex  (2003)

 

Starring: Ben Stiller, Drew Barrymore, Eileen Essell

Director: Danny DeVito

Rating: PG-13

Distributor: Buena Vista Home Entertainment

Release Date: March 2, 2004
Review posted: March 3, 2004

Spoilers: None

 

Reviewed by Craig Younkin

 

SYNOPSIS

 

Alex (Ben Stiller) and Nancy (Drew Barrymore) are a recently married couple ready to settle down in a Manhattan duplex. But the tenant that lives upstairs from them is a frail and helpless elderly woman who leaves her TV on all night, river dances, holds orchestra practices early on weekends, and wants their help with everything from fixing the pipes to getting rid of what she thinks is mouse droppings. Her behavior soon drives them to the brink of insanity, where the only logical decision is to have her killed.

 

CRITIQUE

 

Danny DeVito is the king of guilty pleasures. The storytelling is dark and the comedy is low-brow and stupid, but no one manages to combine the two as masterfully as DeVito. The script is very short on plotting, but the hit or miss gags work more than they don't; one of the big reasons why is the extremely talented comic cast.

 

This includes the very, almost, Oscar worthy performance by newcomer Eileen Essell as Mrs. Connelly. She is so good as the sweet but annoying old Irish woman that you soon find yourself laughing hysterically at every scene she is in. She completely upstages Ben Stiller and Drew Barrymore, who both can play their roles in their sleep. The two stars are mainly placed in slapstick situations in order to get laughs.

 

Duplex isn't as funny DeVito's last film, the underrated Death to Smoochy, but it has big laughs, stars Stiller and Barrymore, and features a fantastic performance by Eileen Essell that should not be missed.

 

THE VIDEO

 

This is a 2-DVD set with one disc showing the film in a 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer, while disc two offers the film in 1.33:1 pan & scan.

 

THE AUDIO

 

Buena Vista offers the film in English Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound.

 

THE EXTRAS

 

Bonus features can be found on the widescreen version disc.

 

Behind the Scenes Featurette: There is nothing much to say about this one. It just focuses on a particular fire scene and not with any great detail either.

 

3 Deleted Scenes: The first one is the best part of the special features. It is a very funny scene where Mrs. Connelly counts all of her spare change, trying desperately to be exact with the rent money. The second really has nothing to do with anything, and the last one is an alternate ending that is (better or worse) than the actual ending.

 

FINAL THOUGHTS

 

If you loved DeVito's previous films, then this one is for you. It's funny, it's dark, it's got Stiller and Barrymore, and most of all it's got a fantastic performance by Eileen Essell. The special features are nothing special, and Im guessing the studio made that decision based on the fact that hardly anyone cared about this film as evidenced by the very poor box office reception. This is too bad because DeVito really makes this film a good guilty pleasure.

 

VERDICT: RECOMMENDED GUILTY PLEASURE

 

Home | Back to Top

 

:: The Disc

 

:: Disc Ratings

 

THE MOVIE

7

THE VIDEO

7

THE AUDIO

7

THE EXTRAS

4

OVERALL

6

 

:: Merchandise