Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Maybe good isn't your thing.

At least for the first one, I can remember exactly where I was when I found out my wife was pregnant. I can vividly recall when, weeks later, we went and got an ultrasound. There's this moment where everything goes from Oh, this is sooo exciting to the room being frighteningly quiet. The technician was a pro, so she was real cool, but in the seconds it took to find the baby's heartbeat, I remember feeling that my own heart had gone quiet, too.

But there it was, loud and clear, and I could exhale...slightly. There was something else that the tech was looking for, and I would have died had she found it:

Another beating heart. 

I'm not sure what compelled me to watch The Skeleton Twins, just as I'm not sure how I feel about now that I've finished it. Starring the (un?)likely duo of Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig, and telling the story of two highly-dysfunctional twins, writer-director Craig Johnson's second feature is at the very least, intriguing (possibly a nice way of saying shockingly uneven).With arguably the funniest pair the recent SNL alums leading the way, you'd rightly think this is a comedy. 

Well, it isn't. At least...not really.

Hader plays Milo, the estranged brother to Wiig's Maggie. After a botched suicide attempt, Maggie flies to L.A. to bring her brother back to Nyack, New York, the pictureseque town where they grew up. Maggie seems to have everything figured out, as she has a steady job, a nice house, and of course, a great husband (a fairly rad Luke Wilson).

Initially it appears that this is going to be a movie about Milo, an out-of-work actor and full-time asshole. But while we quickly peg him as the mysterious f--k-up, it turns out that Maggie might be even worse than he is. Much worse.

While I appreciate the effortless rapport between Wiig and Hader, I never really bought them as twins. Siblings, sure, but at times even that seems a stretch, as it becomes increasingly more apparent that the only people who could love these two are, well...these two. Incestuous is too strong a term, but their relationship is oddly close. And, for me, generally irritating. Maggie and Milo are routinely mired in some serious shit, and after a cross look and maybe a stern warning, they're back to auditioning for f--king clown college. 

The ground wasn't the only thing their dad nailed: He was good at nicknames, too.
Behold: The Gruesome Twosome.
Also annoying and hard to laugh at, are the Yays and Boos. These two were actually born at the same time as well, but I don't think we can call them twins. Though...they're both pretty ugly. Just like their father.

  • Even though I refuse to call him anything other than Phil Dunphy, Ty Burrell shows up and delivers and effective performance as Possibly Gay Child Molesting Bookstore Guy.
  • Milo's return from Dyke Night was pretty funny. I especially enjoyed how Lance (Luke Wilson) handled it.
  • Speaking of Lance, he delivers a pretty sweet monologue about his wife dropping landmines all over the place. The result? His nuts get blown off. So much truth here. 
  • Okay, even though the twins can be totally f--king annoying, the scene in the dentist office veered into pure magic. Bonus points for shooting water at each other with the waterpik (just as me and my brothers did the last time the three of us went to the dentist...at the same time).
  • Milo's 'peaked in high-school' speech was very well done. And sadly (around these parts) rather timely.
  • And finally, there is a pretty intense argument at the end that was f--king brutal in the best way. Some shit that was said would stab you in the heart no matter who said it. But having it come from the mouth and mind of your twin sibling? Ouch.

  • Dueling suicide scenes minutes in? What the f--k?
  • I guess at that point is doesn't matter, but c'mon, that's a pretty shitty suicide note. A little effort would be nice.
  • Milo walks around Nyack like he's just landed on the moon. It's been awhile, I get it, but chill the f--k out, bro.
  • Scuba Steve (Irwin). Fine, that's not his name, but Maggie's scuba instructor is a real a-hole. 
  • Speaking of unlikable characters, let's throw some tomatoes at Mom! My goodness, she's the worst. Almost as bad as Maggie, actually. Almost.
  • Is it me or does Wiig lock in on that awkward thing waaay too much? When she starts making her sad-face and shrugging her shoulders...it gets hard to take her seriously. She is a talented woman, no doubt...but sometimes? All I can think is Gilly? Gillllyyyyyyyyyyy.
  • Maggie and Milo have this major confessional. Milo, who's gay, admits to going down on a woman. That bastard! Maggie? She admits to taking birth control pills while she and her husband are 'trying'. That bitch! Oh, and also because she f--ks just about everyone she sees. This scene was okay, in an awful way, but seconds later? These two f--kers just laugh it off and have a good time! You think that's funny?
  • That epic lip-sync battle of Starship's Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now was hilarious. Well, it would have been. If I didn't want to spin-kick Maggie in the vagina.
  • Maggie turns on Milo on more than one occasion, and I was so furious I almost said something. Aloud. While my daughter slept in her crib. Ask any parent of a sleeping child. They wouldn't scream help if the house was on fire, just to keep the kid asleep a minute longer. But Maggie's bullshit? I almost went for it.
  • What little kid flips his mom off? And what mom returns it?
  • Lance and Maggie have a pretty sweet house. In New York. Maggie's job? Dental hygienist. Lance's job? He picks up sticks. (I'm not kidding)
  • And finally, the ending. Yeah, I guess that's the way this story should end, but between you and me? I was kinda bummed about it. Not THAT bummed, mind you. Yikes.
Honestly, my wife and I have been quietly kicking around the idea of maybe, possibly...um, exploring the idea of whether we might want to have another kid. But as my beautiful (and utterly cunning) little daughter reminds me every single day, they all don't come out as easy going goofballs like my son is. This next one? It could be a girl, too. In fact...

...it could be two of them.


  1. Great review! I liked this film quite a bit, actually. I wasn't expecting to because I hate Kristen Wiig. She was still the worst part, but she wasn't as unbearable as I expected her to be.

    Milo coming in to save his sister at the very last moment was a little too cheesy for me though.

    1. I thought you had mentioned how you hate Wiig, so it boggles my mind that you could even make it through this one. And yes, she was the worst part. I didn't buy for a second that Wilson would be into her. Nope.

      I know, right? The guy's on a bus out of town, reads the note, and then - BAM. Jumps in the pool like a gay Aquaman. Well, gayer Aquaman.

  2. HA! I wanted twins so badly, until we had our first daughter and I realized that two at the same time would cause my wife and I do commit dual suicides.

    This movie seems completely polarizing. Every review I read is either a rave or a...WTF.

    Great work, as always!

    1. For real. As much as it's cute to have two fricking babies, I'm also assuming that it doubles your chances of jumping off a cliff. And can you imagine triplets? Holy shit.

      Put me in the WTF camp. I didn't hate it, but so much of it was too f--king weird. Hey, I'm cheating on my husband and I'm a dirty skank, but look, I'M DOING SOMETHING FUNNY WITH MY BROTHER!

      Ah, thanks. As always...

  3. I really liked this movie. Quirky dysfunctional family dramas are one of my drugs of choice.

    1. It's not that I didn't, I just found it very hard to like the people in the film, namely Maggie. And to an extent, Milo too. Everyone has got their problems...but these two were kind of snotty little shits...even as (alleged) full-grown adults.

      Maybe, just maybe...a little too much quirk for ol' m.brown.

  4. Owww, shame you didn't like it more! It was one of my favorite films from last year, Hader was amazing here

  5. Eh, I liked Hader for the most part, acting-wise, but his character was a bit of a dickhead. Honestly, my problem was with the two mains: they were selfish a-holes.

    I know it doesn't make the movie bad, but for me, it made it hard to like.

  6. Great review! I liked this movie, but I didn't love it; I think I wanted a little more. However, that lip sync scene had me smiling for days!

    1. Well, thank you. That scene was tremendously well done, but they are such assholes! C'mon, I can't laugh at you when I want to choke you, you know?