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So as you know, I stopped writing lengthy reviews on this site this year, keeping the blog as more of a film diary of sorts.  Lo and behold,...

Friday, March 13, 2015

Movie Review - The Skeleton Twins

The Skeleton Twins (2014)
Starring Bill Hader, Kristen Wiig, Luke Wilson, and Ty Burrell
Directed by Craig Johnson

In the opening moments of The Skeleton Twins, we witness two Saturday Night Live alums Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig play characters who both try and kill themselves...and right off the bat, we know that we're in for a film that we may not have expected given our preconceived notions of the comic actors.  Neither suicide attempt was successful -- Milo (Hader) didn't slit his wrists deep enough and his twin sister Maggie (Wiig) was thwarted when she received a phone call that Milo was in the hospital.  Needless to say, both of the Dean twins have some emotional issues that they need to work out.

Milo moves in with Maggie, but the duo were estranged for several years following an incident that occurred in their home town, shattering their relationship.  They warm up to each other quickly, but things have definitely changed for both of them.  Maggie is married to Lance (Luke Wilson), a really nice construction worker who wants nothing more than to be a loving father and a doting husband.  Maggie repays that kindness by cheating on Lance with pretty much anyone who will look at her longingly.  Milo, meanwhile, meets up with Rich (Ty Burrell), one of his old flings from when he lived in the small town, but soon realizes that Rich may have buried his homosexual leanings in favor of heading a "typical" American household.

A dark comedy, the film works best in its opening half as the troubled Milo and Maggie get to know each other again and try to help each other out of their difficult times.  Unfortunately, as the flick progresses and the siblings are forced to face their suppressed psychiatric issues, the film's sense of darkly whimsical humor vanishes and director Craig Johnson's film becomes a bit too weighty for its own good.  That isn't to say that The Skeleton Twins doesn't work -- it just becomes a bit less enjoyable to watch.  Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader do some excellent work here, balancing these tricky characters' roller coasters of emotion, with Hader in particular showcasing that he's got some dramatic chops that I didn't expect in the slightest.  Luke Wilson also proves to be entertaining as a guy that the audience can't help but root to succeed.  Overall, The Skeleton Twins is a solid piece, but one that doesn't quite balance its humor and pathos in quite they way it should.

The RyMickey Rating:  B-

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