Welp, this review was basically over before it began, because on the binary scale of movie watching, the new Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig Dram-Com (??) ‘The Skeleton Twins‘ gets a wholehearted and resounding 1.
Oh, you didn’t know there was a new SNLesque comedy coming out? Well that’s because it’s really, really not an SNL movie. It just happens to have cast in the starring roles two of SNL’s most prolific (and beloved) cast members, and TBH the actors’ long standing relationship is one of the greatest assets of this movie about troubled, recently de-estranged siblings coming to grips with the reality of their lives as adults.
Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig are just as enjoyable to watch on screen together as you’d expect. The improvised moments of Hader-Wiig sass, fun, and silliness feel like a gift the television gods have delivered to a thirsty audience that’s been wandering in the desert ever since Seth Myers took over Weekend Update. And, I’ve also gotta give a somewhat boring nod to their individual dramatic performances. People are always surprised when comedians can deliver in dramatic roles but, c’mon. A good comedian knows how to connect with people and bring the lolz. A great comedian can connect with people no matter what. But, ya, they were both great. And it was their performances (individually and as a team) that elevated the movie from pretty good if not sometimes cliché indie drama with comedic moments to a movie about suicide (+ moar!) that manages to be entertaining, touching, real, and even hilarious.
To credit the film itself, this story had layer upon layer that enriched the characters and the storyline with unexpected and understated turns. For every “difficult childhood” trope there was a brashly appalling (and brave) coping mechanism; for each too-coincidental encounter there was a moment of realism where you couldn’t help but emit a relieved or caught-off-guard breath of air.
I don’t want to give you specifics of these plot turns or dialogue bits, because it was the surprising script and characters’ layers and small moments that made this film great. Hader and Wiig brought the story and characters to life but the script and supporting characters played by Luke Wilson and Ty Burrell were also instrumental in allowing both comedy and drama to shine in concert. ‘The Skeleton Twins’ is a movie for people who are ok with seeing both sides of the coin at the same time—in life and film—and who understand that that’s how things really are, anyway.
‘The Skeleton Twins’ plot arch feels somewhat familiar, and even cliche at times. But Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig are such a pleasure to watch navigate this heart-wrenchingly real and funny story about complex people dealing with trauma and family that the familiarity of the tropes doesn’t matter. ‘The Skeleton Twins’ hits theaters September 12th, 2014. Go see it and prepare to feel just all sorts of feelings… you won’t be sorry.
I had the pleasure of seeing ‘The Skeleton Twins’ at a screening and Q&A from #BuzzFeedPresents. Thanks to Buzzfeed for the great event (and sassy-but-sensitive interview questions!)