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In Danny De Vito's "Duplex," Ben Stiller and Drew Barrymore play a
young couple who buy a "dream apartment" in Brooklyn whose amenities
include everything two upwardly mobile yuppies could possibly want:
ample space, solid wood floors, three glorious fireplaces, and, above
all, a quiet environment where Alex, a budding novelist, can spend his
days writing in uninterrupted peace and quiet. Or so they think
unfortunately, the place also comes replete with what turns out to be
the tenant from hell, a doddering old woman who lives on the second
floor and who makes life miserable for the two of them with her
continually blaring television and her constant intrusions into their
daily lives. Finally driven to the breaking point, Alex and Nancy
decide to take matters into their own hands in order to rid themselves
of this human pest in any way they can.
"Duplex" is, essentially, a one-joke comedy and, as such, it does
suffer from the occupational hazard common to all one-joke comedies of
built-in repetitiousness. However, the writing has a surprisingly dark
edge to it that lifts the film above the
run-of-the-Hollywood-comedy-mill. I must confess to having a certain
weakness for dotty old lady comedies, counting among my favorite films
the original British classic "The Lady killers" from 1955. Eileen Essel
is so delightful as the bete noire of the piece that it's hard not to
fall under the spell of both her character and the film itself. De
Vito, in a return to the black comedy form that served him so well in
"The War of the Roses," keeps the comedy tough and brutal, even if it
means bludgeoning the audience over the head a bit in the process.
Stiller does his usual shtick as the put-upon Everyman, while Barrymore
is able to use her customary cutesiness to full advantage as the sweet
little ingénue driven to murder to save her own sanity.
"Duplex" is certainly not everyone's cup of tea, and I imagine that it
would not win the stamp of approval from the AARP. Still, if you're in
the market for something different in a mainstream comedy, "Duplex"
just might fit the bill.
Tags for Duplex Full Movie
, Drew Barrymore
, Eileen Essell
, Harvey Fierstein
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