The Clones of Michael Keaton

Three (3), count 'em, three (3) Michael Keaton's in one (1) car.

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"

condition, one

grounded in the notion that it's a fast-track, postmodern, insurmountable

jungle out there, one with which we can all empathize, no problem.

The

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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