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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Movie review: 'Skeleton Twins' is a trip

Kristin Wiig and Bill Hader in The Skeleton Twins/Roadside Attractions

If the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal gave it good reviews and each newspaper published an interview with the star, Bill Hader from Saturday Night Live, plus it does well (84%) at Rotten Tomatoes, it must be good, right?

It is.  For mostly arty types.  (Will someone, please, remind me to restrain myself from making a mad dash to the movie house to see a film praised in high terms by major newspapers?  They are seldom worth it, but this one was worth it.)

A lip sync scene in The Skeleton Twins with Hader and co-star, Kristen Wiig, another former SNL star, is unforgettable and quite funny, and it's likely you'll not hear Starship's "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now" again without Hader coming to mind. 

In a script which has something for all (hetero and homo sex), humor, and a serious side, Hader and Wiig deliver convincing jobs unfolding their story of estranged twins who reconcile after 10 years, and catch up while trying to adjust to life they have largely dealt themselves which means healing their own self-estrangements.  Of course, ad nauseam, the mother (Joanna Gleason) is at fault for much of her children's problems, and her unannounced visit, courtesy of Brother Milo, undermines the credibility of the story even if it is, sadly, quite funny. You just don't do that, scriptwriters. Besides, Gleason looks far too young to be their mother. 

Poor Kristen Wiig's husband (Luke Wilson). You have got to be kidding:  Are there any husbands that nice and naive? (The film was written by men.) He's like a small Golden Labrador (a line suggested by someone), and you just want to hug and shake him at the same time: Get some moxie. He was too good to be true and needed a bit more drama. 

What else is wrong with the film? 

1.  It frequently borders on melodrama, with an overboard ending.

2.  Wiig's character is rather listless, like her hair, except when she has a fit to meet the stereotype.

4. Speaking of stereotypes, I am tired of "mean mother," "cheating wife" movies.  Can't there be balance?  It's not always the woman's fault.  I think the Garden of Eden story could stand rewrite. Suggested title:  Garden of Meneden.  (Where are the naked men?  Per normal, we see breasts in Twins.)

3.  The title.

4.  It's probably a little too shrewd and a trifle chick flicky for the shoot'em up, macho-macho moviegoer. 

Costuming (Mikaela Wohl) and sets (Lauren DeTitta) work well for today's climate, and the music (Nathan Larson) is memorable. 

Skeleton Twins is enjoyable and entertaining enough, and what more do you want from a movie?


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