Director: Harold Ramis
Cast: Michael Keaton, Michael Keaton, Michael Keaton, Michael Keaton
Have I Seen it Before: “We’re going to go eat a dolphin, Steve” was a common refrain in my house growing up.
Did I Like It: Math dictates it is terrific. Allow me to elaborate.
The text of this review appeared previously in a blog post entitled “How Could No One Else Like These Movies? Part Two, But With No Electric Boogaloo.” published 04/30/2017.
Speaking of 1996 films featuring multiple roles played by the stars of Batman (1989), this movie is pretty great, too. Directed by the late, great Harold Ramis, Michael Keaton plays a man slowly realizing he doesn’t have enough hours in the day to meet all his obligations. After taking a contracting job with a lab working on experimental cloning procedures, he finds the perfect solution. With two of him around to work and take care of the kids, everything should be fine. It isn’t enough, and another clone is needed to pick up the slack. Then the clones feel like they’re overworked, and they start cloning themselves. Hilarity ensues. Actually, as the 90s nostalgia industrial complex is now in full swing, a more horror-based remake of the same concept might actually work.
Some might claim that everyone involved has done better work—Ramis probably put the high-concept comedy genre to bed with the one-two punch of Ghostbusters (1984) and Groundhog Day (1993) but do not let this take diminish from the film’s accomplishments. The special effects—while not overwhelming—still hold up. Often when one actor has to interact him or herself, the eye-lines never quite line up. It’s clear that the scene was shot at two different times, and the film has been processed to within an inch of its life. Just watch any episode Star Trek: The Next Generation wherein Data’s evil twin brother, Lore, shows up for great examples. In Multiplicity, it really feels like Keaton is sharing the frame with himself.
Which brings me to my real argument for why this film is loved far less than it ought to be. Now, I’ve had a theory going for a number of years that the presence of Michael Keaton in a motion picture automatically adds 15% quality to the final product. Now, this movie has 4x Keaton. Rotten Tomatoes currently has the film at a dim 42%. Therefore, with four Keatons running around, the movie actually deserves a 102% rating. If you are not interested in the only movie that garnered a 102% on the tomatometer, then I don’t know what to do with you anymore.