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movie reviewmovie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: Multiplicity

Starring: Michael Keaton, Andie MacDowell
Director: Harold Ramis
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 117 Minutes
Release Date: July 1996
Genres: Comedy, Drama

*Also starring: John de Lancie, Harris Yulin, Richard Masur, Eugene Levy, Ann Cusack, Brian Doyle-Murray, Julie Bowen, Katie Schlossberg

Review by Steve Rhodes
2½ stars out of 4

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 Nada.

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

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