Stiller and Barrymore, as Alex and Nancy, are a young married couple who are
the proud owners of a grand old apartment in Brooklyn. About the only possible
thing wrong with it is that it's a duplex. The second floor of the apartment
houses the world's peskiest tenant, Mrs. Connelly (Eileen Essell), who must
have lived there since the last ice age given that her rent is firmly fixed at
eighty-eight dollars a month.
Mrs. Connelly makes her landlords' life a living hell, blasting her TV all
night long and demanding that they help her on everything from her shopping
trips -- where she counts and recounts every single pill and grape -- to her
self-inflicted plumbing problems. Alex is a "mid-tier" writer busy working on
his crucial second novel, which, if he doesn't finish it on time, will cause
him to be summarily fired. Nancy works at a magazine that has one
high-pressure deadline after another. Needless to say, they don't have the
time to pamper their psychotic neighbor, who prevents them from sleeping at
night and Alex from working at home during the day.
Mrs. Connelly loves to ridicule Alex. "He takes more naps than a newborn pup,"
she tells Nancy. "What's he writing about? Sheep?"
Although I could have done with a few less gross-out jokes, the film is funny.
Basically a three-person comedy, it does have a few good subplots involving
other characters. In one, a hit man has a legitimate day job in order to cover
up his life of crime. What does he do? He's a proud pornographer with some
catchy DVD titles like ASS PATROL. Think he might prove to be of some use
later to Alex and Nancy? You're way ahead of me.
DUPLEX is blessed with a nice ending, which isn't easy to come up with given
how many times similar stories have been told.
DUPLEX runs 1:30. It is rated PG-13 for "sexual content, language and some
violence" and would be acceptable for kids around 12 and up.
The film is playing in nationwide release now in the United States. In the
Silicon Valley, it is showing at the AMC theaters, the Century theaters and the
Copyright © 2003 Steve Rhodes