Michael Keaton is one of those actors that everyone loves, no matter what type of movie he is in. He's just a good actor, he plays to the role and commits 100 percent, which not a lot of actors will do. Michael Keaton is also not afraid to take on roles to expand his acting chops. Take a look at Jack Frost, Need For Speed, Jackie Brown or even Birdman.
Multiplicity is one of those movies that, while not exactly great, shows Keaton's ability to show a wide range of characters. Even in a comedy setting, in the 90's doing multiple personality characters required a lot of reshoots for each scene, which is a lot of work for actors. It shows Keaton's commitment to the project and for director Harold Ramis, it shows how thorough he is when it comes to his movies, no matter how simple or complicated they may be.
Multiplicity is the story of Doug Kinney, a construction worker that doesn't have enough time for his family because of his job keeps getting in the way of being with them. While on a site, adding a wing to a scientific facility, Doug meets up with a scientist, Dr. Leeds (Harris Yulin), Doug dumps all of his problems on Dr. Leeds while at the site and Dr. Leeds, being sympathetic to Doug's issues, tells him that there is a solution to his problem. Leeds tells Doug that they can clone him, although it's an experimental process and that it should only be done once, because the clones can become defective.
Doug decides to clone himself so that he can spend more time with his family and names the clone "Two". The clone names itself "Lance", and even though it has all of the memories and experience that Doug has, the clone has taken on the more "macho" personality of Doug. The problems begin when Doug has to start hiding his clone from his wife (Andie MacDowell), because he doesn't want anyone to see that he made a duplicate of himself to make his life easier.
A few more clones are added in to the mix, and the problem of making life easier for Doug becomes more complicated, especially when he finds out that one of the clones, cloned itself, resulting in a defective version of Doug that's more childlike than anything else. As the story moves along, Doug leaves for a boating trip and the clones are all left to their own devices. This causes problems within the family as Andie MacDowell doesn't realize that she's dealing with four different people. She doesn't understand why Doug doesn't remember conversations with her or why Doug is acting crazy, or angry, or is always emotional and crying over the slightest little thing.
This movie, while technically amazing, is just another story about misunderstanding and communication. There are moments of hilarity (mostly because of the defective clone) and cringe worthy moments where you ask yourself "why didn't he just tell her?". It's just a preposterous story. How can one guy who's cloned himself, keep it a secret when the other clones are out and about, in public, and no one seems to question the distinct personality changes between them.
It gets to the point that one of the clones get's Doug fired from his job, which ends up being the best thing to happen to him, but it's also caused a lot of issues at home, including his wife leaving him, for a moment, because she just doesn't want to deal with the craziness anymore. But, the Hollywood ending (tm), is garbage, Doug and his wife get back together, stronger, because of the adversity and the clones go on to success as Pizzeria owners.
It's an odd movie, but there are some good things about it, overall, it's not one of Harold Ramis' best pictures.
PG-13 | 1h 57min | Comedy, Romance, Sci-Fi | 17 July 1996 (USA)
A man who never has enough time for the things he wants to do is offered the opportunity to have himself duplicated.
Director: Harold Ramis
Writers: Chris Miller (short story), Chris Miller (screenplay)
Stars: Michael Keaton, Andie MacDowell, Zack Duhame