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movie reviewmovie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: Duplex

Starring: Ben Stiller, Drew Barrymore
Director: Danny DeVito
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 97 Minutes
Release Date: September 2003
Genre: Comedy

*Also starring: Eileen Essel, Harvey Fierstein, Amber Valletta, Robert Wisdom, James Remar, Justin Theroux

Review by Steve Rhodes
3 stars out of 4

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 Camera Cinemas.

Copyright 2003 Steve Rhodes

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