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Multiplicity

Movie review by
Lisa A. Goldstein, Common Sense Media
Multiplicity Movie Poster Image
Some sexy stuff in dated but entertaining '90s comedy.
  • PG-13
  • 1996
  • 117 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Lying to one's spouse is portrayed humorously, and though there are some lessons learned throughout the film, the lying character never fully comes clean. Stereotypes of male and female behavior figure into the humor heavily.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Three versions of Doug Kinsey have admirable traits -- though they rely heavily on stereotypes (one clone is super macho, another lisps and flutters his hands a lot). One clone is "special" and acts like a slapstick version of a mentally challenged adult. The original Doug eventually learns he needs to incorporate his different traits more gracefully into one self.

Violence

Humorous threats and slapstick. A character is threatened with a drywall hammer. Another character is picked up out of a Port-a-Potty by a bulldozer. A wife slaps her husband and other characters have anger issues.

Sex

Plenty of talk about sex, though nothing explicit. In one scene, the main character talks to his clones about having sex with his wife Laura and lays down "clone nooky rules." Later, clone #3 has sex with Laura, and then clone #2 does as well -- kissing, groping, and bare legs shown, plus some minor foreplay and post-coital scenes.

Language

Several curse words, including "s--t", "damn," and its cousin, "Goddamn." Plus a few uses of "doodyhead." A couple obscene gestures.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

There are a few beer drinking scenes and someone smokes a cigarette.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this entertaining 1990s comedy includes a fair bit of sexual content. There may not be any nudity (aside from some bare legs), but there is frank sex talk, kissing, groping, and post-sex snuggling between a married couple. The movie focuses on adult problems with marriage and time management -- not particularly teen-friendly topics. Duplicity is a running theme, and despite things being resolved positively in the end, the main character never comes completely clean about his deception. Expect a bit of language ("s--t" and "damn").

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What's the story?

Doug Kinsey (Michael Keaton), a contractor married to Laura (Andie MacDowell), feels like he’s being pulled in many different directions. When a geneticist tells him he can be cloned, he views this as an answer to his problems. Little does he expect that there will eventually be four versions of him. At first, it seems to work: #2 helps with work, #3 pitches in with the family, and they try to keep #4 out of the way because he’s a copy of #3 and a wee bit off. But just when Doug thinks his life will get easier, it starts to fall apart.

Is it any good?

Michael Keaton as Doug is a delight to watch as he plays four versions of himself; he truly embraces each character as if it’s a different role. It brings to mind his memorable role in the popular 1983 film Mr. Mom, which has a remarkable similarity to this one. Physical comedy? Check. Bending gender roles? Check. Spousal communication issues? Double check. Since this movie is set in the mid-'90s, however, Doug has the supposed benefit of cloning science and technology. Meanwhile, his beleagured wife Laura is the perfect calm, questioning foil to his energetic behavior. Between the two, no, five of them, there's plenty of action and sophomoric humor on screen.

While the action and humor may appeal to teens, who might also be able to relate to the difficulties of multitasking, other things about this movie may make it less appealing for them -- or you. Doug's problems start because he wants to spend more time with his wife and kids, and he gets into arguments with his wife about whether or not she can work outside the home -- not exactly teen-friendly material. That, plus the overt sexual content, dishonesty, and other niggling issues make this a mixed kind of movie for all involved.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about being pulled in different directions. How does Doug manage his different responsibilities? Do you ever feel split in too many directions? How do you manage multitasking? What steps can you take to reduce the pressures on your time?

  • Talk about male and female stereotypes. How do Doug and Laura fit into stereotypes of male and female behavior in our society? Do we see fewer gender stereotypes in contemporary movies? What role do movies and television play in reinforcing or challenging stereotypes?

  • How does this movie handle its sexual content? Does it seem appropriate to the story or gratuitous? What messages about sex and gender are communicated in this movie?

Movie details

For kids who love comedy

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