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Skeleton Twins, The


Stars: Kristen Wiig, Bill Hader, Luke Wilson, Ty Burrell, Boyd Holbrook, Paul Castro Jr, Joanna Gleason

Director: Craig Johnson

Those familiar with Wiig and Hader as versatile comedy stars should be warned that this one, despite its catchpenny title, is not exactly a barrel of laughs.

Maggie (Wiig) and her gay twin brother Milo (Hader) both have messed-up lives, and the film opens with him attempting suicide and her contemplating it. It doesn't get much more cheerful after he comes to live with her and her husband (Wilson), about whose relationship there is clearly something amiss.

Milo tries to get back in touch with his old English teacher (Burrell), who first seduced him at 15, while Maggie drifts aimlessly into one of the regular affairs she seems helpless to prevent. Soon more skeletons are tumbling out into the open than we see tattooed on the shoulders of the two leading characters.

The performances are decent enough - and Gleason is excellent in a cameo as the siblings' never-there mother - but the film is such a relentless downer, right through to another suicide attempt at the end.

One of its lighter scenes is probably the best, as Wiig and Hader mime enthusiastically (and very well) to one of their favourite songs, Starship's Nothin's Gonna Stop Us Now. Alas, most of the film's 94 minutes hardly whizz by, although, on the plus side, it does have a great, toe-tapping music soundtrack. Perhaps buy the CD instead.

David Quinlan

USA 2014. UK Distributor: Sony (Stage 6) . Colour (unspecified).
94 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 1, Swearing 2.

Review date: 02 Nov 2014