Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Twins (1988)

WARNING:  This review does give away some details, including details about the ending.


Comedies are often less limited by reality than dramas.  With a drama, you usually have to explain things in greater detail.  In Twins, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito play Julius and Vincent Benedict, respectively.  What’s so hard to believe about this?  They’re the titular twins.  We are given minimal background in that they were the result of an experiment.  The idea was to take sperm from six men, all of them being great in some way, and use the genetic material to impregnate Mary Ann Benedict.

What the scientists expected was Julius, the epitome of what a human could be.  He grew up to be perfect.  What wasn’t expected was Vincent, who was formed from the genetic backwash when the twins’ cells split.  Whereas Julius became strong and intelligent, Vincent was unremarkable.  Whereas Julius was sent to live on a tropical island with one of the scientists, Vincent was dumped in an orphanage.  The project itself was shut down and sealed off.

On their 35th birthday, Julius is told about the existence of Vincent.  Julius sets off to find his long-lost brother, sensing that Vincent might be in some sort of trouble.  Oh, does Vincent have trouble.  Julius has to get Vincent out of jail by paying countless parking tickets.  Shortly thereafter, Julius meets some thugs sent by a loan shark Vincent owes money to.  Add to this the fact that Vincent has stolen a car with a valuable prototype in the trunk.

Vincent’s plan is to deliver the car and collect the $5,000,000 payment, leaving Julius alone for a few days.  The catch is that Julius has found one of their fathers living nearby.  The father tells Julius of Mitchell Traven, who is living in New Mexico.  Since New Mexico would be on Vincent’s way, it wouldn’t be difficult for them to stop by.  Before Vincent can leave Julius behind, Linda Mason shows up with her sister.  Linda is Vincent’s girlfriend.  She and her sister decide to join the twins on their journey.

One other aspect of a comedy is that, despite all manner of problems, there’s usually a happy ending.  You would expect everything to work out for the Benedict brothers.  Will they find their mother?  Probably.  (Read:  Yes.)  Even if something happened to their mother, you can at least assume that the brothers will form a permanent bond and grow as individuals.

The main gag is that Schwarzenegger and DeVito could be twins.  Everything else feeds off of this.  Vincent is reluctant to believe Julius until he sees opportunity.  Julius is able to get Vincent out of jail and to fend off the loan shark’s collectors.  Julius is able to provide Vincent with hope of finding their mother.

One plot hole that always bugged me was how Julius had money.  We can assume that the scientist raising him would have access to funds, either his own or someone else‘s.  (He’s doing something, either for himself or for a third party.)   If the scientist doesn’t have some sort of benefactor, he would at least have some money from working for the government.  At the very least, he probably earned a lot working o the secret experiment.  Either way, I doubt he would have let Julius leave without some sort of plan, especially since Julius had to pay for a plane ticket to The United States.  Since Julius is assuming his brother is just like him, it’s doubtful that he’s expecting his brother to have untold parking fines.  It was fortunate that Julius had that much money.

The movie was pretty evenly paced.  Julius leaves the island pretty quickly and manages to track down Vincent in short order.  There wasn’t a part of the movie that dragged.  It’s a simpler story, as you might expect.  There is character development, but not much.  At the end, Julius is still as na├»ve as he was at the start.  Vincent is just as ready to pull a quick one as ever.  They do, however, have family now.

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