Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Film Review: TWINS (1988, Ivan Reitman)

Stars: 3.5 of 5.
Running Time: 105 minutes.
Notable Cast or Crew: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Danny DeVito, Heather Graham, Kelly Preston, Chloe Webb, Maury Chaykin (THE ADJUSTER), Frances Bay, David Caruso, Bonnie Bartlett, Peter Dvorsky. Music by Georges Delerue and Randy Edelman.
Tag-lines: "Only their mother can tell them apart. "
Best one-liner: "The pavement was his enemy."

When TWINS debuted in 1988, nearly 3,000 years of comedy- from Aristophanes to Dorothy Parker- culminated with Arnold sniffing a microwave dinner and exclaiming, "YUHMMY!" And somehow, I'm kind of okay with that. TWINS is a film about eugenics. It's a film about 'nature vs. nuture.' It's a film about Arnold wearing a bath towel and singing "Yakety-yak, don't talk back!" with reckless abandon. Here's 6 reasons why TWINS is better than your average fish out of water yarn:

#1. Gotta love that the entire movie is built around one joke (How could Arnie and Danny DeVito be TWINS?!), but somehow it's a tenable joke, and between Arnie's rubbery mug and DeVito's gleeful desperation, we are.

#2. An eclectic, talented supporting cast. It includes Chloe Webb (SID & NANCY), David Caruso, Peter Dvorsky (Harlan in VIDEODROME), Frances Bay (David Lynch's favorite little old lady), and Heather Graham.

#3. References to other Arnie movies- even ones that hadn't been made yet! ("Coookies!"- JINGLE ALL THE WAY, "I'll be back!"- THE TERMINATOR, "Mr. Ice!"- BATMAN & ROBIN, etc.)

#4. The latest salvo in the Schwarzenegger vs. Stallone rivalry: Arnie looks at a poster for RAMBO III, squeezes his own bicep in wonderment, shrugs off- Pshaw!- and playfully scoffs. It's even a greater slap in Stallone's face because it reminds us all that Sly never could quite nail intentional comedy (RHINESTONE, OSCAR).

#5. "You have no respect for loh-gic! And I have no respect for those who have no respect for lohgic!"

#6. Musical score by Georges Delerue and Randy Edelman. Georges did JULES AND JIM, CONTEMPT, and HIROSHIMA MON AMOUR. Randy did XXX, DROP DEAD FRED, and OSMOSIS JONES. I wonder who did the tranquil, reflective strings versus who did the zany honkeytonk piano with 80's reverb-heavy bass riffs?

Annnyway, if you're in the mood for double-takes, spit-takes, and other screwy antics, give TWINS a spin.

If you're not, may I recommend David Cronenberg's 1988 less-than-zany twin flick, DEAD RINGERS.

-Sean Gill

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