In my ambitious, awesome, and amazing journey to blog about all of Greg Kinnear’s movies, we are up to the series’ third movie, Stuck on You. AKA the movie that connects Kinnear with acting icons Matt Damon, Meryl Streep, and Eva Mendes; music icons Cher and Rihanna; and medical/political icon Ben Carson. Stuck on You isn’t on Netflix or Hulu (shame on them!), but you can rent it for $2.99 on Amazon. You could also buy a used copy for as low as $0.78 (worth it!) or be like me and pick it up at your local library.
Stuck on You (2003)
Before Judd Apatow came along, Bob & Pete Farrelly were kings of the “wonderful” genre of profane comedy. Farrelly Brothers’ movies ruled the 90s, highlighted by Dumb & Dumber (1994) and There’s Something About Mary (1998). But fart jokes can only carry you so far, and the “Farrelly star” faded in the 2000s. Even so, they had enough street cred to recruit Cher, Eva Mendes, Meryl Streep, Matt Damon, and Greg Kinnear in 2003 for Stuck on You.
The premise of Stuck on You is that Matt Damon and Greg Kinnear are conjoined twins named Bob (Damon) and Walt (Kinnear). Behold:
Surgery to separate Walt and Bob would be life-threatening, so they must remain conjoined. Bob (Damon) has most of the twins’ shared liver so Walt (Kinnear) ages faster, explaining the obvious age difference between the actors. In what little semblance of a plot there is, Bob is the quiet, athletic half while Walt is the outgoing, ladies-man half who aspires to be an actor. The twins own a burger joint in Martha’s Vineyard where they are also the chefs. Walt convinces Bob to move to Los Angeles where Walt stumbles into a role in a TV show starring Cher (as herself).
There are (of course) love interests for both Walt and Bob. Walt is keen on Eva Mendes’ April, the hot aspiring actress, while Bob is keen on Wen Yann Shih’s May, a more sensible woman who has been his long-distance pen pal. But Bob never mentions to May that he is a conjoined twin and instead just “keeps Walt close” on all his dates. When the truth is revealed, this–along with other problems–leads to Bob and Walt opting for surgery to be separated.
Not so much a profane comedy, Stuck on You relies mostly on the body humor of placing conjoined twins in every humorous scenario possible. These scenarios include:
- All the sports: baseball, hockey, football, surfing
- Line chefs flipping burgers in tandem
- A hilariously choreographed bar fight
- Walt’s TV show scenes that fail to completely ‘cut out’ Bob
- Sex, but only one scene. (This movie is not as raunchy as the trailer suggests).
- “Phantom half” scenes after Bob & Walt are separated but function as if they are still conjoined.
Stuck on You is enjoyable if you sufficiently lower your expectations, and Kinnear has a lot of fun with his role. However, the movie is most memorable for Ben Carson’s cameo and Greg Kinnear’s great musical skills.
A Doctor IRL and on TV
The doctor who performs the surgery to separate Walt & Bob is none other than successful neurosurgeon-turned-failed politician Ben Carson playing himself:
Carson was chosen for the role by the movie’s producer because he was the first surgeon to successfully separate conjoined twins, in 1987. He adds major street cred to this part of Stuck on You and acted for free, opting instead to have proceeds from the film’s premiere in Baltimore donated to two charities. Ben Carson, you’re a kind man with a very solid acting cameo.
That said, Carson seems to misunderstand the movie he’s in, sincerely describing it as a sensitive comedy that will help open people’s eyes to the difficulties conjoined twins face. (The trailer doesn’t mis-represent the movie that much). And his cameo re-surfaced because he thought he’d try his hand at being president. Oh, Ben.
Stuck on You’s Star Singer
The most magnificent part of Stuck on You is that we learn that Greg Kinnear can sing!
In an early scene on the snowy shoreline of Martha’s Vineyard, Walt has convinced Bob to move to LA so he can pursue acting. As the two start to walk back, Walt starts singing “We’rrrrrrre.” There is a delay as Walt/Greg drags out this word, and the audience doesn’t know what to expect. After a few seconds, Bob joins in and the two start singing “We’re off to see the wizard!” as they skip down the path. It’s unexpected, fantastic, and the movie’s first laugh-out-load moment. But this is only a prelude, an appetizer to whet our palette, to Kinnear’s greatest performance in the final scene.
In this scene, Walt has returned to Martha’s Vineyard where he is directing and starring in a Bonnie & Clyde musical with Meryl Streep. Yes, that sentence just happened. Meryl Streep plays herself in Stuck on You and there is a short, wonderful Ringer article dedicated to her performance. For the final scene, Kinnear learned Billy Stewart’s ‘Summertime’ and delivered an epic performance. You can skip Stuck on You, but you must watch this:
I didn’t know it was possible to enjoy Greg Kinnear this much. Or, in his own words, “I got to do a scene with Meryl Streep and musical theater and Bonnie & Clyde, man. I’m done. I could be done.”
But even if Greg was done, the music industry wasn’t done with him. In 2011, Rihanna used Kinnear’s “Summertime” as a backtrack for her song “Cockiness (Love It).” You can listen to the song (it’s explicit, but a funny juxtaposition to the original Kinnear performance), or watch this absolutely delightful interview with Jimmy Fallon where Greg talks about it:
Essentially, GK had high hopes that being sampled by Rihanna would make him “cool dad” in the eyes of his teenage daughters. But then he listened to the opening lines and realized he would never, ever play this song for his girls.
Bringing this post full-circle with a fun personal fact, Greg’s oldest daughter, Lily, was born in 2003 two months before Stuck on You was released.
- Stuck on You is an unremarkable comedy, but one that is quite enjoyable if you sufficiently lower your expectations.
- Kinnear has a lot of fun with his role, so much so that he sings. It is now my greatest hope that GK will star in a musical, and I will be first in line to see it!
- The Rotten Tomatoes Score of 61% for Stuck on You is quite fair, and the movie is below both Brigsby Bear and Sabrina in my Greg Kinnear Movie Cannon.
- Next up I’ll review Flash of Genius which I watched with my mother-in-law. It’s on Netflix if you want to get a head-start.
- Next post I will also unveil the “Kinnear Meter,” the graphic I will use to rank all his movies. Get pumped!
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