THE VIRGINIAN-PILOT Copyright (c) 1996, Landmark Communications, Inc. DATE: Saturday, July 20, 1996 TAG: 9607190054 SECTION: DAILY BREAK PAGE: E2 EDITION: FINAL TYPE: Movie review SOURCE: BY MAL VINCENT, MOVIE CRITIC LENGTH: 55 lines
FOR THOSE who are stressed out, ``Multiplicity'' is a playfully superficial and ultimately silly comedy about a rather serious subject that concerns most working adults.
Doug Kinney is a workaholic construction foreman who doesn't have much time for his family. He's being given more and more work, but at the same salary. (``Hon, I think it's probably more of a prestige thing,'' he tries to explain to his doubting wife.) In desperation, he resorts to modern science to clone himself.
The film is a comedic response to everyone who has wanted to be twins in order to get everything done.
Before it's over, there are three clones, all of whom look like amiable star Michael Keaton, but all have different personalities, and different problems. Of course, one of the more prominent problems are arguments about which one is going to sleep with wife Andie MacDowall.
As a ``gimmick'' comedy, ``Multiplicity'' is better than most. It's primary charm is that it never quite goes too far in its gimmickry - although it repeatedly comes close. Keaton, who gives an edge to befuddling situations, suggests subtle character changes within his four roles. He could have gone overboard and done a slapstick version of the four faces of Doug. Pleasingly, he chose a gentler touch.
The first clone is a macho type who is highly competitive on the job. Another does housework and is a wiz at organization. The final one, who is a bit too much and would have been better left out, is a blurred copy that acts more like Jerry Lewis than Doug.
MacDowell, one of the few Southern natives in Hollywood who keeps her accent, is delightful as the straight woman for all this comedic folly. And yes, there is the inevitable scene that is directly out of French bedroom farce - the night when, with doors slamming and identities mistaken, she sleeps with all three clones, and one real husband. It seems all quite innocent to the tune of a PG-13 rating, because, theoretically, they're all the same man.
On the strength of Keaton's finely delineated performances, and the seamless special effects that allow him to talk to himself, the film is a diverting pleasure. It is doubly welcome because the summer has been notably lacking in comedies, particularly comedies aimed at adults. ILLUSTRATION: Graphic
Cast: Michael Keaton, Andie MacDowall, Harris Yulin
Director: Harold Ramis
MPAA rating: PG-13 (comic seduction, some language)
Mal's rating: three stars< by CNB