Duplex: Darren Michaels
EW Staff
August 14, 2003 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Duplex

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
PG-13
runtime
88 minutes
Wide Release Date
09/26/03
performer
Drew Barrymore, Ben Stiller, Eileen Essell, Tim Maculan, James Remar, Justin Theroux
director
Danny DeVito
Producer
Ben Stiller
distributor
Miramax
author
Larry Doyle
genre
Comedy, Mystery and Thriller

We gave it a C-

Ben Stiller and Drew Barrymore dream the typical new York City dream: how to get rid of the old lady (Eileen Essell) who lives in the rent-controlled apartment upstairs.

It may seem a little demented to those who live outside of the Big Apple (i.e., in places where boxes are for shoes, not living), but Stiller insists the movie is universal in appeal: ”It’s more about having a neighbor who drives you crazy. It’s also about always wanting a little more, and how that can end up driving you crazy, no matter how much you have.” And while the characters’ motivations may not be admirable, Stiller says, ”Lovable characters are really overrated. Sometimes the most likable characters are the least lovable.”

The production was not without a degree of instability itself: The original director, Greg Mottola (”The Daytrippers”), unexpectedly left the project before shooting began. Danny DeVito stepped in and saved the day, but it’s been more than a year since he finished the movie. Let’s hope audiences don’t give it the eviction notice they gave DeVito’s ”Death to Smoochy.”

The Killer Moment Stiller’s character attempts to resuscitate, via CPR, his elderly neighbor, who misunderstands and thinks he’s trying to kiss her.

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