Stuck on You is one of the most personal films brothers Bobby and Peter Farrelly have made in recent years, but don't think the funny guys from Rhode Island are going soft on us. They are just running out of jokes.
Made with their patented mixture of lowbrow one-liners, the occasional high fastball, and their proudly provincial sentimentality, Stuck doesn't come close to There's Something About Mary, still the Farrellys' peak. But it's half a notch above Shallow Hal and a good deal funnier than Me, Myself & Irene.
That said, story lines don't come any more predictable.
Stuck is about Bob and Walt Tenor, small-town legends who excel at sports and are the proud owners of a fast-food restaurant where their hands work the grill at lightning speed. When the acting bug bites Walt (Greg Kinnear), he convinces Bob (Matt Damon) to honor their childhood pact to never hold back the other, and the brothers head west for the bright lights of Hollywood. Bob and Walt make fast friends with a sexy neighbor (Eva Mendes), who helps Walt land a grizzled agent whose idea of prime gig for Walt is a porn film. Things finally begin to look up for Walt when the boys encounter legendary diva and Academy Award winner Cher (playing herself). Looking to sabotage her new television series, of which she wants no part, Cher casts Walt as her co-star. Instead of dooming the show, Walt propels it to the top of the ratings, and the brothers became instant celebrities.
But their real adventure is only beginning, as Bob finds romance with a longtime cyber-friend and the brothers make a decision that will forever change their lives. Whatever happens to the boys, one thing is clear - nothing comes between them, and that joke gets old five minutes into the movie.
In Stuck, toss out any notions you may have about the biological impossibility of conjoined fraternal twins, and forget that Kinnear looks older than Damon, and you find yourself in Farrellyland, where there's an adorable mentally challenged actor to be both embraced and exploited around every corner.
Also, like always, it's nice to think that one Farrelly can't stand tall without the other brother there to prop him up. It's also nice to see them continue to cast everyone they ever went to school with as well as plow a particularly salty New England sense of humor ("Nantucket sucks" reads a t-shirt on an extra, and there's a Bill Buckner gag with a highly satisfying payoff).
But it's telling that nine films into their career, the Farrellys have yet to sustain a consistent comic tone across the length of an entire movie.
It's hard to be stupid and remain smart with today's audiences. Despite painful-to-watch jokes and over-acting by Damon, the Farrellys have a surreal view of the Hollywood film business. Late in Stuck On You there's a scene between Walt and Cher in which the actress seems barely able to squeeze the dialogue past her surgically modified Hollywood lips. The Farrellys don't make a point of it, and they don't have to. Everyone in the audience knows who the real freak is.
Stuck on You, rated PG-13 for crude and sexual humor, is being shown nationally.