|THE SKELETON TWINS (director/writer: Craig Johnson; screenwriter: Mark Heyman; cinematographer: Reed Morano; editor: Jennifer Lee; music: Nathan Larson; cast: Bill Hader (Milo), Kristen Wiig (Maggie), Luke Wilson (Lance), Ty Burrell (Rich), Boyd Holbrook (Billy, scuba instructor), Joanna Gleason (Judy); Runtime: 93; MPAA Rating: R; producers: Jennifer Lee/Stephanie Langhoff/Jacob Pechenik; Roadside Attractions; 2014)|
|"Heart-felt adult soap
by Dennis Schwartz
is the second film helmed by the actor turned
director Craig Johnson ("True Adolescents").
The comedy stars "Saturday
Night Live" alums Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig, who
try their hand at doing serious drama with comical
moments in this limited but heart-felt adult soap
opera. The major fault is that it ends too abruptly,
leaving plot points not fully dug out. It's written
by the director and Mark Heyman, who
blend comedy into the dramatic story of depressed
screw-ups trying to get their life together.
twins Milo Dean (Bill Hader) and Maggie Dean (Kristen
Wiig) coincidentally fail to take their
lives on the same day. He cut his writs and is
hospitalized. She fails to take a bunch of sleeping
pills when the hospital calls about her brother. Milo
is living in L. A. as a failed gay actor, who earns
his keep as a waiter. Maggie is an unhappy dental
hygienist, who for the last two years has lived with
ultra nice guy Lance (Luke Wilson) in her hometown of
upstate NY and is planning on marrying him. He is glad
that she agrees to have a kid, but she is secretly
taking birth control pills.
flies to see her estranged brother. The visit is
awkward since they have not been in contact since
their father committed suicide ten years ago. After
their awkward meeting, Maggie convinces Milo to stay
with her for awhile in their small town NY hometown.
get dicey when Maggie shows she's a slut by screwing
her Aussie scuba instructor (Boyd
Holbrook), something she knows would be devastating
to her saintly trusting overly optimistic boyfriend.
Meanwhile Milo contacts his former high school English
teacher Rich (Ty Burrell), now running a book
store. He's the married man who seduced him when he
was in his class. The two begin an affair again, even
as Rich admits to being a "pathetic pussy" and using
the relationship to get the deceitful Milo to show his
Hollywood agent his script.
to Maggie's distress, is Milo bringing their
superficial and uncaring New Age mom (Joanna
Gleason) home for dinner, without her
permission. Mom flew in from her home in Sedona to
attend a healing conference in nearby Woodstock. It
results in mom being called out by her daughter as a
selfish shit. Mom, before departing for Woodstock,
retorts to her neglected kids another meaningless
platitude about sending them "The Light" rather than
offering them real love.
final curtain the damaged goods twins are forced to
look at themselves in the mirror, and search for the
truth about themselves. That predictably moves them
closer to mending their torn relationship.
gets its title from a memorable Halloween party the
children participate in, where symbolic skeletons come
out of the closet as their dad dubs them the "gruesome
twosome" in the hopes they will bond together to
always protect each other. The childhood flashback
is a reminder of how close they once were, where
currently they are so distant. It all leads to a
sibling reunion, despite all their flaws, selfish
behavior patterns, life setbacks and misgivings
about each other.
The clever script deservedly won the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Prize at January's Sundance Film Festival.
REVIEWED ON 11/28/2014 GRADE: B
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ