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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Duplex
Duplex
Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment // PG-13 // March 2, 2004
List Price: $29.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Jeffrey Robinson | posted February 22, 2004 | E-mail the Author
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The Movie

Theatrical Release Date: September 26, 2003

Run Time: 1 Hour 29 Minutes

Actor and director Danny DeVito with a well known cast of Ben Stiller and Drew Berrymore tell the tale of a dark comedy about young married couple. This dark comedy is far from the works you'll normally expect to see Stiller in like Meet the Parents [review], Mystery Men [review], Zoolander [review], There's Something About Mary [review] or Berrymore in Never Been Kissed [review], Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle [review], The Wedding Singer.

One very important part of an early couple's development is finding a home of their own. A young New York couple, Alex Rose (Ben Stiller), a young writer working on his second novel and Nancy Kendricks (Drew Berrymore), who works at an ad agency find themselves searching the greater New York area for the perfect home. A real estate agent Kenneth (Harvey Fierstein) shows them what promises to be a lovely duplex in the Brooklyn area. The price is just barely in their price range and seems almost too perfect. However the catch is on the second floor of the duplex there's a dying old woman Mrs. Connelly (Eileen Essel), a long time resident of the building who has been there before the beginning of time. At the thought of owning a two story home, Alex and Nancy realize once the old withering Mrs. Connelly passes they'll have the perfect home.

Needless to say the couple purchases the home and after a long day of moving and unpacking the couple pays a visit to their tenant. Here the old woman takes a few jabs at Alex, telling him his profession of a writer is more a hobby, he gets coerced into eating some dip that's from 1997, and when he gets up from her couch a fart-like noise follows and he gets accused of breaking wind. Well after that trying engagement the couple cuddles together on their bed. Only to be disturbed by the blaring noise of the Mrs. Connelly's television and the theme song of Hawaii Five-O. Now if any of you have lived in an apartment, you know you bad that can get!

Alex's owes a draft of his book to his publisher very soon. So instead of spending his days in a crowded Starbucks with the other writers, he intends to stay at his new home to work in solitude. Unfortunately for Alex, Mrs. Connelly intends to keep him busy all day. Alex helps her with her garbage, carry way too much as the bags explode all over the stairs. Among the trash he finds Mrs. Connelly's under garments and gets accused of being a pervert. His day continues too go sour with very little work completed.

Well the story goes on pretty much the same, with Mrs. Connelly interfering and ruining the lives of Alex and Nancy. Both end up losing sleep, their jobs, and even their minds! Midway through Alex and Nancy decide that the only answer is to eliminate Mrs. Connelly. They don't seem to have another option to get rid of her and unless they do, they'll lose everything, figuratively, financially, and emotionally speaking.

The DVD

Spoken Languages: English, French

Non-Spoken Languages: English, Spanish, French

Video:
The video is presented in both 1:85 ratio widescreen and 1.33:1 ratio full frame. Each presentation is featured on one of two discs. The picture is very good with very slight color defects and a minor grain in the picture. However these issues with the picture quality do not interfere with the viewing of the feature.

Sound:
The audio is presented in English and French 5.1 Dolby Digital surround sound. The sound is quite good; all dialogue can be easily heard throughout the feature.

Subtitles:
The subtitles are presented in both the English, French, and Spanish languages. The English subtitles stay in sync with the English dialogue throughout the feature. The subtitles appear over the picture and are easily read, nor do they interfere with the feature itself. I don't speak/read French or Spanish, so I can't comment about them.

Extras:
The extras included in this feature include the feature presented in both full screen and widescreen, each respectively found on its own disc. The extra features include a very short four minute Behind the Scenes mini-featurette. Also included are three Deleted Scenes.

Final Thoughts:
When Duplex debuted it was given slightly mixed reviews, with some loving it and others hating it. Which camp do I fall under? Well I wasn't overly impressed with this feature, so I'd have to say I'm leaning over to the disliked camp. Why? There just weren't enough laughs. Being a dark comedy, the laughs tend to approach a crude and ill mannerism. I suppose if you enjoyed DeVito's Throw Mamma From the Train [review], then you might get a kick out of Duplex. Now for the rest of you who are looking for a great comedy with lots of laugh, look elsewhere, because this dark comedy probably won't have you rolling on the floor laughing. However since Duplex definitely has its moments, it's worth a rental.

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