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Duplex (2003)

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BARRYMORE
Image credit: Duplex: Darren Michaels
BARRYMORE

Details Release Date: Sep 26, 2003; Rated: PG-13; Length: 88 Minutes; Genres: Comedy, Mystery and Thriller; With: Drew Barrymore and Ben Stiller; Distributor: Miramax

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.

Originally posted Aug 11, 2003 Published in issue #724-725 Aug 22, 2003 Order article reprints