Short Takes: The Skeleton Twins, The Drop & The Hundred-Foot Journey

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The Skeleton Twins- Any enthusiasm I have for Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig’s dramatic and comedic chemistry in The Skeleton Twins is drowned out by the rest of this unrelentingly sloppy movie.  Hader plays Milo, who returns home to live with his unhappily married sister Maggie (Wiig) after attempting suicide.  There are, of course, dark family secrets, vast pools of resentment, a dead parent, a shitty parent and plenty of other dysfunctional family cliches.  The script, co-written by Mark Heyman and the director Craig Johnson, shifts tone so abruptly that it’s impossible to be invested in the story they’re trying to tell.

Hader and Wiig have undeniable chemistry and cast a wide net of emotions to try and make this script work.  A couple of times they are successful.  There’s an absolutely hysterical scene where Milo goes to the dentist’s office where Maggie works and they get high on laughing gas and ramble.  It’s also one of the few times where the movie’s deep undercurrent of sadness actually contributes something to the story and doesn’t seem overdone. When they talk to each other in this scene, their problems seem unforced because Johnson lets it unfold organically.  The other conflicts largely stem from sex, which Milo has with his old high school English teacher and Maggie has with her scuba instructor.  It’s aggressive, unearned, empty misery.  Grade: C-

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