Multiplicity is so plainly driven by particular psycho-social anxieties
that it's hard to know where to begin talking about it. Given that it's a movie
about cloning, it makes sense that it has a kind of schizzy sensibility, but I
couldn't help feeling vaguely uncomfortable while I was watching it, like I was
privvy to someone's intimate psychic stuff, you know, like this was more
information than I needed.
A broadly conceived comedy of contemporary
manners, Multiplicity is structured as a series of schtick-ops. It
doesn't much matter that the script (credited to four people, which, as a
general rule of thumb, bodes ill) is erratic, or that the movie settles for
some feeble special effects (too many generations make key images noticeably
grainy), or even that no one has a part worth a damn except Michael Keaton, who
has four. What does matter is the organizational gimmick--Keaton
multiplied--and its presumption that it speaks to and for a "universal"
grounded in the notion that it's a fast-track, postmodern, insurmountable
jungle out there, one with which we can all empathize, no problem.
premise is deceptively simple. Doug Kinney (Keaton) is feeling squeezed by all
the demands on him--as construction foreman, husband, and father of two--so
he clones himself, three times by the time he's through. Genre-wise, the whole
shebang might be filed under the modern-man-in-distress formula that
director/co-producer Harold Ramis used before in Groundhog Day, the
formula where a more or less "normal guy" gets himself into preposterous
situations which lead to wacky antics...
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