Keaton does Clone Wars
With the pressure of work and family responsibilities, construction boss Doug Kinney (Michael Keaton - My Life) is feeling stressed out and needs a miracle to help him get through. The miracle comes in the form of scientist Dr. Owen Leeds (Harris Yulin - Murder at 1600) who offers him the chance of cloning himeself so that whilst his clone deals with work Doug can deal with the family, except it's never going to be that easy is it.
Despite being a technically flawed storyline, the actual idea behind "Multiplicity" is quite appealing, well at least for me as I could foresee various funny scenes which could occur thanks to the various clones and to give it credit some of the scenes happen. The trouble is that it takes so long to really go anywhere that you can quickly lose interest and the opening scenes which attempt to build up the storyline of Doug struggling to keep on top of his work and family duties are pretty tedious. Despite attempts to perk up these opening scenes with a little humour it never really works making it feel a little like a lack lustre family drama, an uneasy one at that thanks to some misplaced humour.
It takes so long for "Multiplicity" to get going that when the comedy element finally kicks in it feels quite strange in contrast to the start of the movie. Thankfully the comedy on its own works and we get various predictable, yet enjoyable scenes as confusion bounds between the various versions of Doug. It's certainly not clever comedy and many of the elements can easily be predicted but what makes it funnier is the personas of the clones, from the butch No. 1 through to the slightly camp No. 2 and the whacky No.3. This is why I say Keaton does a marvellous job as each one of these is brilliantly portrayed in a caricature sense that works.
Of course whilst all this drama and comedy is going on, often in a very uneven blend, "Multiplicity" actually spoils things further by trying to deliver a message about the importance of life and family. Now don't get me wrong, messages are usually a good addition to a movie but here the delivery of it is like an in your face after thought where the writers have suddenly tried to give the movie some sort of deeper meaning. It really doesn't need it or at least not one which is thrown at you towards the end of the movie in such an obvious manner.
What is for certain is that "Multiplicity" despite a couple of supporting performances is a Michael Keaton vehicle through and through. The strange thing is that although I think the balance and pacing of the movie is pretty poor I have to say Keaton's performance throughout is pretty decent. In those early scenes he is more than believable as the stressed out Doug but is even better when it comes to the comedy side of the movie and playing the various versions of Doug. You can't but help love when the camp version of Doug is in a scene especially when he is forced to attend the construction site.
What this all boils down to is that "Multiplicity" whilst being quite a good idea for a movie ends up failing to work due to the uneven balance of drama and comedy. It's out of odds with itself and takes so long to really get going that it is easy to get bored of it. Its saving grace comes from the performance of Michael Keaton who is a riot playing the various clones.