Are the triple demands of work, family, and home too much for you
lately? Ever find time for yourself? How often do you get to practice
your golf game?
Director Harold Ramis (GROUNDHOG DAY) has just the tonic for you -
more time through the miracles of cloning. One of you not enough? How
about three more to help you out? Be warned, however, there are a few
pitfalls to this wonder cure to your chronic exhaustion.
In MULTIPLICITY, construction supervisor Doug Kinney (Michael
Keaton) is suffering from massive overload just like you. He laments
that, "my whole life's an emergency." Ted (John De Lancie) and his
coworkers are workaholics whose mottoes include, "if you don't come in
on Saturday, don't bother coming in on Sunday."
No problem, says Dr. Leeds (Harris Yulin), all Doug needs is a
clone. In fact the good doctor already has one which allows him to
travel while the clone works. Although Doug is worried that his clone
will be half human and half insect as in THE FLY, number two is a
perfect duplicate with the same memory as Doug. As it turns out, two
is tougher and harder working than Doug which is fine with number one.
His wife, Laura (Andie MacDowell from FOUR WEDDINGS AND A
FUNERAL), says she wants to go back to work, but Doug will have to help
out. She doesn't know about the cloning. Doug is overwhelmed by the
domestic chores so gets a number three to take care of the kids and the
house. Since number three turns out to have more of Doug's gentler and
domestic side, this looks pretty ideal. As number one puts it, "I've
been working since I was twelve; it's break time."
Eventually, number two gets tired too and clones himself to get
number four. Four is, well, not exactly perfect. As three puts it,
"we made a copy of number two. You know, sometimes the copy isn't as
sharp as the original." That's an understatement.
With this great setup and with Michael Keaton's comedic skills, it
would be hard to make a bad movie. MULTIPLICITY, while far from a
great comedy, did provide this critic with a lot of laughs and made for
a thoroughly enjoyable time at the movies. Yes, there are several
periods devoid of humor, and some of the physical comedy is a bit too
outlandish. Nevertheless, this is one funny movie.
The script by the committee of Lowell Ganz, Mary Hale, Babaloo
Mandel, Chris Miller, and Harold Ramis comes up more with situations
that are funny than with witty dialog. The housing development Doug is
working on, for example, is proclaimed in the billboard to be Vista de
There are some gems in the script. Number one keeps reminding the
others of rule number one, "nobody has sex with my wife but me." In a
small line I like, Doug's young son's football coach tells Doug how
clueless his players are, "I've got kids who couldn't identify their
parents in a line-up."
The acting by Michael Keaton is excellent albeit not as good as
some of his performances. In a secondary role, Andie MacDowell holds
her own. Her acting gets better and better as the movie unfolds. I
admire the talent of both these performers and since they have almost
all of the lines in the show, I got to see a lot of them. Left
unanswered by the credits is who played numbers two, three, and four.
MULTIPLICITY runs a fast 1:55. It is rated PG-13. There is no
sex, nudity, violence, and the language is pretty mild. I suspect the
reason it got PG-13 rather than PG is because there are a few sexual
situations. The film would be fine for most kids ten and over. I
recommend the show and give it ** 1/2.
Copyright © 1996 Steve Rhodes