Rummage around in the Farrelly brothers' office and you'll probably find three things: a blindfold, a dart and a dartboard covered in mostly punctured Post-It notes. Each will have a short scrawl biro-etched onto it: "clinical hyperobesity", "severe personality disorder", "incest", "the mentally challenged"... And, of course, "conjoined twins".
Funnily enough, it's actually been some time since the Farrelly brainstorm arrow pierced that particular Post-It: Stuck On You was originally hit upon after the filmmaking duo wrote Dumb & Dumber. Of course, the reason why it took so long to come to fruition was because the pitch had most studio suits spurting espresso over the meeting table...
Understandable, really. But, despite the touchy subject matter and the Farrellys' apparent determination to be oh-so-boldly politically incorrect, Stuck On You isn't quite the offensive travesty you might expect. There are rankles: Walt and Bob's condition is too conveniently photogenic (it's not like they're grafted at the forehead); they strive for `normality'; and the inclusion of genuinely disabled cast members smacks of scrabbling for a get-out clause.
On the other hand, the eminently likeable Walt and Bob are hardly paraded as `victims' - in fact, their "blood pact" to never hold each other back makes them twice the man either could have been on his own, meaning the joke is more on the people who dismiss them as freaks than the `freaks' themselves. Also, both Damon and Kinnear deliver an excellent twin performance worthy of the best buddy comedies. Not only do they achieve an astonishing fluidity of joint movement, but also craft a believable, sometimes touching relationship, portraying two very different personalities that are defined by and defy their lifelong proximity.
The rest of the cast, though, don't quite measure up. Eva Mendes is merely limb-decoration for Kinnear, while Cher proffers her feeblest turn to date - - as, ironically, herself. More pertinently, Stuck On You is never really that funny. The occasional line (""I'm the designated walker"") or visual gag (Walt having sex while Bob e-mails his pen-pal) will tickle; but don't expect any of the belly-laugh set-pieces that defined the likes of There's Something About Mary. Just like the plotline, the Farrellys appear to be running out of steam. Time to take the dartboard down and have a proper think.
Watch the trailer
Damon and Kinnear both provide performance highlights but, really, it's about time the Farrellys climb out of the "gross-out" pigeonhole...