'Stuck On You' Review By B. Alan Orange
Silence of the clams: A once great institution, last seen on the brink of bankruptcy, has finally up and folded.
Fads come and go, like trucker hats and Wacky Wall Walkers. But one fad needs to make a serious comeback. Otherwise, the filmmakers of today won't know to what extent they're actually stinking up the place. Yes, folks, we desperately need to reinstate the use of the "BOO!" Especially at the end of films prone to sucking the lead paint off of every theater wall. I've been doing it for a while now, especially when a "free screening" audience applauds politely at a pile of crap they've just been forced to suffer through. You can tell they don't want to, but they do it out of courtesy for the studio in attendance. My "boo" breaks through and brings a laugh. And, sometimes, more boos follow in its footsteps. That's a good thing. Don't give in to the wanton need of a mesh cap adorned with an aging company logo. Buy the much cheaper "boo" instead, then double your investment tenfold each time you use it. A good place to start would be at the end credits of Stuck On You (a title stolen from a much funnier, Lloyd Kaufman directed Troma Film), just make sure you get it out before they bring on the speech by the retarded guy. Booing him might seem a little inappropriate. Or maybe not. I mean, the Farrellys have put him there to insure us that what they're doing, in terms of "feel good films for the retarded," is perfectly acceptable. So, hey! No hate mail for Peter and Bobby, okay? Pandering to the lowest common denominator isn't offensive; it's just not very laughable in its exiled execution.
Despite committed performances by its three Oscar-worthy participants and a rather game Meryl Streep, Stuck On You is long, boring, and not at all funny. What happened? Here's yet another winning foundation that has self-sabotaged its once sturdy comedic claim on life. This house of cards has crumbled in a heap of misbegotten blandness. The Farrellys' great "go-for-any-laugh" attempt at bringing cinematic farce to a higher plain, having thus created a branded genre of "gross-out" joke flicks in the process, has faltered to a "please everyone at all times" esthetic that makes their latest effort seem jaundiced at best.
Stuck On You plays like an ARC-sponsored community therapy session. It's a two-hour After School Special that teaches its non-prejudiced ways with an iron fist of straight-faced assurance. "We're not handicapped, we're handicapable!" It seems to scream from the cheap seats. That's all great and good, and I've got nothing against the disabled. But I don't go to a Farrelly Brothers movie to see a feature length dissertation on the well-meaning, physically proficient attitudes of those individuals we might otherwise have a problem adapting to in the workplace. If it made me laugh, I'd have no problem with it. But it doesn't. This is like an HR produced training video one might be forced to endure after calling the Down Syndrome kid in the cafeteria a "f*cking retard" for taking sips out of your Coke before he serves it to you. That's not what I paid for.
This whole picture doesn't jive with what the Farrellys have set-up in the past as their repertoire. When they first hit the scene, they came carrying a couple heavy hitters which, to this day, remain as gems in the Comedy genre. Dumb & Dumber solidified Jim Carrey as a comedic super star, and it was followed by one of the funniest films of the 1990s, King Pin. Then, they seemed to redefine the whole scene with There's Something About Mary. It literally "took no prisoners", declaring war on every varied type of person and subject matter. It held no taboo too sacred to parody; not for entertainment's sake anyways. Yet, it had "heart." Something their follow-up failed to provide. Yes, Me, Myself & Irene dunked its head in the grease of "gross-out", abandoning all else in the process, and it came away a loser.
When critics first started talking about the idea of "heart", it seemed genuine and conceptual. And the Farrellys must have read every review. For their last film, Shallow Hal, they took the concept of "heart" and ran with it, driving it straight into the ground. "Heart" suddenly became this big clich