Michael Keaton’s hard work pays off in the sci-fi comedy Multiplicity. Directed by Harold Ramis, coming off the smash-hit Groundhog’s Day, this clever and expensive looking tale is carried by three major set-pieces that are well handled by star and director. The special effects heavy production is able to overcome it’s goofy premise and still deliver laughs.
Doug Kinney (Michael Keaton) is an over-worked, under-appreciated father of two, with little time for his family and less time for himself. That’s until he meets Dr. Leeds (Harris Yulin) on a job site at a Californian laboratory. The man offers Doug the opportunity to clone himself and get twice as much done. This frees up time for both work and family chores. Still needing further help, Doug creates a third clone for domestic chores, and as a friend for the second clone. The fourth clone is a goof, who isn’t integral to the story in any major way.
The clones give Keaton the chance to show off his range even within the confines of a high-concept studio comedy. Doug #2 is a macho workaholic. Doug #3 is a fay, homemaker with a touch of OCD. Doug #4 is a mentally handicapped imbecile not to be trusted with sharp objects.
Keeping the clones from view of his concerned wife Laura (Andie MacDowell) is a constant juggling act. She can’t explain the lapses in behavior, attitude, or emotional investment. Her sexual encounter with each of the clones is the film’s one major misstep. It’s an uncomfortable sequence that leaves the viewer feeling slightly depressed for Doug #1.
Outside of the 118 minute length and the unfortunate sexual sequence Multiplicity is a solid comedy that should be more fondly remembered for its special effects and Keaton’s performance. Ramis’ taste for mixing humor and special effects heavy movies seem to have been influenced by the style of his frequent collaborator Ivan Reitman.
Director: Harold Ramis
Stars: Michael Keaton, Andie MacDowell, Eugene Levy