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Wick's Review

Created Sep 26, 2014 09:29PM PST • Edited Mar 19, 2015 12:38AM PST

  1. Quality
  2. Great 4.0

    Modern Family-style gender and role confusion provides ample grist for 90 minutes of scintillating cinematic fare in The Skeleton Twins. More sisters than brother & sister, said twins are played by Bill Hader & Kristen Wiig, confirming they’re the most talented SNL alumni on the scene today.

    They inhabit emotionally sub-adult, self-absorbed, sexually-driven misanthropes. He’s a complete loser, prone to sabotaging himself & others. She holds it together by a thread, convinced she should be married when it doesn’t suit her. He defines himself by his sexuality, with the rest of his life subservient to it. She’s nearly as sexually driven, just not with her husband. They’re each a hot mess and frequently funny as hell.

    The Skeleton Twins is a bit cheesy at the end, which holds down its quality score a skosh. Otherwise, Craig Johnson’s film is a paradox: both perceptively realistic and elegantly literary. Damn funny too.

  3. Really Great 4.5

    Kristen Wiig & Bill Hader are the two most brilliant SNL alumni in movies today, capable of playing straight drama as well as sublimely silly comedy. So it’s a treat seeing them work together, especially in a well conceived film like The Skeleton Twins.

    Hader’s performance is the transcendent one, playing a self-pitying gay man with strong transvestite impulses. Devastatingly funny, deeply revealing, often outrageous, this performance is worthy of Best Actor attention. Happily-married Hader can play anything, apparently.

    Kristen Wiig often plays comedy-drama, so we’re used to seeing her blend unawareness with understated outrageousness. Still, she’s so deft that it’s a treat to watch, even as we cringe at her character’s choices.

    Luke Wilson delivers one of his better recent performances as her too-good-of-a-guy husband. Wilson’s trademark energetic genuineness is ideal for the role.

    Joanna Gleason surprises as the self-absorbed mother of Hader & Wiig’s characters. Gleason demonstrates superbly understated comic chops herself in the role.

    Ty Burrell really impresses as a small town man trying to avoid getting dragged back into his troubled past.

    A couple of minor roles are well played by Boyd Holbrook & Kathleen Rose Perkins, he as an amorous diving instructor and she as a slipshod mother.

  4. Male Stars Perfect 5.0
  5. Female Stars Really Great 4.5
  6. Female Costars Great 4.0
  7. Male Costars Great 4.0
  8. Great 4.0

    Craig Johnson’s film – written with Mark Heyman – lays bare many self-absorbed peccadillos of contemporary liberal society, yet respects the persons who engage in them. These not-all-minor offenses include arrested development, self-absorbed parenting, teacher-student sex, impulsive adultery, etc. Yes, statutory rape is on that list.

    This great film brings to mind two perfect ones.

    • It mines the troubled relationship between adult siblings as well as A Simple Plan – high praise.
    • Its adult reunion of siblings who shared a tragic childhood brings to mind the distinctly less funny though even more admirable You Can Count On Me.
  9. Direction Great 4.0
  10. Play Great 4.0
  11. Music Really Great 4.5
  12. Visuals Great 4.0
  13. Content
  14. Risqué 2.3

    The movie starts with realistic suicide attempts, the first bad choices in a movie full of them.

  15. Sex Titillating 2.0
  16. Violence Fierce 2.0
  17. Rudeness Profane 2.8
  18. Glib 1.3
  19. Circumstantial Glib 2.0
  20. Biological Natural 1.0
  21. Physical Natural 1.0


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