Filmmaking brothers Peter and Bobby Farrelly have pushed the boundaries of taste with hit comedies including Dumb And Dumber and There's Something About Mary. They are at it again with a new film about two brothers who HAVE to stay together, no matter what. Alan Silverman has a look at Stuck On You.
Bob and Walter Tenor are joined at the hip . . . literally. They are conjoined twins who, rather than risk surgery that could cost one of them his life, have chosen to stay together. Well, actually, they have no choice but to stay together. So when aspiring actor Walt, played by Greg Kinnear, decides he wants to leave their Massachusetts home to give Hollywood a try, Bob, played by Matt Damon, reluctantly goes along.
Damon, who shares a screenwriting Oscar for Goodwill Hunting and has distinguished himself in such dramas as Saving Private Ryan and The Talented Mr. Ripley, admits he was concerned for his career when his agent called about playing a conjoined twin in Stuck On You.
"Yes, there was that," admits Damon. "I think there was a long pause after the pitch and I said 'Has it come to this?' But once I read the script, I laughed through it. It was a really sweet movie and talking to Pete and Bobby about what they wanted to do with it, it was pretty much a no-brainer."
Pete and Bobby are the Farrelly brothers, who collaborate on both writing and directing their movies; and the other half of the twins, Greg Kinnear, says working with them was the big attraction for him.
"I just think they have a really individual and clear voice in terms of directors and I've always tried to look for interesting directors or ones who stand out," he says. "Different people are going to like different movies that they make and not everyone always agrees with their sense of humor; but no one questions the individuality and originality of the kinds of stories that they tell and I think that's unique. In a town where there's a lot of homogenized stuff coming out, you don't get that. This isn't going to be the kind of movie where you go 'oh, not this story again.'"
"We'll try anything, but we really don't know where it's going to work and where it's not," Bobby Farrelly says. "Some of the stuff you try just doesn't work, but the audience eventually tells us."
Bobby Farrelly says he and brother Peter always try to find a good heart in the stories and characters; and in this film they even avoid the raunchier elements that have marked their earlier comedies.
"I think we're losing a little off our fast ball, but it looks like we're growing, so we're going to run with that angle," he says.
The Farrelly brothers do not have the physical connection of their Stuck On You leads, but Bobby Farrelly says they have been a bit surprised by suggestions that it is their most autobiographical film.
"After we made this movie and showed it to our friends they were saying 'That's great you guys finally made a movie about yourselves; that's you two guys.' We started thinking that there are some similarities," he admits. "We are very close and we do everything together; but it was all unintentional. We didn't think 'Oh, let's do this because it's close to what we're like.'"
They do have a lot of fun poking fun at Hollywood types, especially the pampered, spoiled diva with pop music icon and Oscar-winning actress Cher playing herself ... much to her surprise.
"Going into this project I didn't know I was playing myself. In the script it just says 'actress' and my agent was smart enough not to say 'They want you to play yourself.' So our first meeting was a little strange because they were talking about one thing, I was talking about something different and it took us a long time to figure out that we weren't talking about the same thing," Cher says.
In the end, though, Cher says the heart of the comedy and its underlying theme of what makes a relationship won her over; and it was something co-star Eva Mendes was happy to find in her character, a vapid would-be starlet named April.
"I had a lot of people to draw from for her. She's extremely stereotypical in a way," she says. "She does the really fake dark tan and the really blonde highlights [in her hair]; but what makes her different and what contradicts all that is she has such a good heart and is so honest about her feelings and there's an innocence about her."
Stuck on You is filled with the Farrelly brothers signature sight gags; and, in what's become another of their trademarks (and perhaps the best example of the good heart in their comedies), the cast includes a number of actors with physical or mental disabilities playing everyday characters who share in the humor, but are not the objects of the jokes.