Directed by Harold Ramis

Starring Michael Keaton and Andie MacDowell

This film is on the Worst of 1996 list.


Opened: Wed., July 17, 1996 | Rated: PG-13

"Why aren't the clones in love with Andi MacDowell too?" I asked myself over and over again as I watched "Multiplicity," an underdeveloped, over-reaching comedy starring Michael Keaton as an overworked husband who clones himself. (McDowell plays his wife.)

Even though one clone becomes mostly macho and another becomes awfully femme (which is a whole other unexplored question), why wouldn't they all be jealous of the fact that some guy who looks just like them (the original Keaton) gets to live with their wife? And why don't they feel hurt by being separated from their kids? I mean, after all, they are all copies of a father and husband.

The answer, of course, is that to explore these feelings would be extremely burdensome on the comedy and the plot, so the filmmakers chose to ignore them. "Multiplicity" ignores just about every question that would naturally come to the movie-goer's mind.

Playing four identical guys named Doug, cloned to make more time in his hectic life, Keaton juggles all the characters well providing distinguishable personalities (although he barely shows their similarities), especially for the fourth clone -- a sloppy copy of a copy made from clone number two -- who is missing a few screws.

But why does Doug completely abandon his job, leaving it to one clone? Why, if the whole point was to make time to spend with the family, does he make the second clone just so he can spend time alone? Why don't the clones rebel after each is locked into a solitary function (work only, housework only).

Once director Harold Ramis ("Groundhog Day") starts giving story to the clones, the film becomes a mess of an episodic jumble, winding up the only place it can -- in a cop-out Catch-22 ending that again only inspires a question: "Why did I waste my time and money on this movie?"

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