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film criticism by maryann johanson | since 1997

Duplex (review)

Dreary, tedious, and mean-spirited. And those are its good points. Two smug yuppies with an overdeveloped sense of entitlement buy a beautiful Brooklyn brownstone dirt cheap, and never imagine that the small catch — the unevictable tenant in the upstairs apartment — will turn out to be the old lady from hell (Eileen Essel). If only Alex, a writer (Ben Stiller: The Royal Tenenbaums), and Nancy, a magazine designer (Drew Barrymore: Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle), had any idea they were in a movie Directed by Danny DeVito, he with the penchant for throwing mamas from trains and threatening death to Smoochys, they might have caught a clue early and avoided this situation altogether, which eventually shows them up as self-centered enough to blame each other for the bitchy manipulations of their neighbor, a truly horrid woman, and stupid enough to attempt to rig a gas explosion in their own house in a plan to get rid of her. New York City’s absurd and oppressive rent laws are ripe for satirizing, but not with this kind of sledgehammer.


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MPAA: rated PG-13 for sexual content, language and some violence

viewed at a semipublic screening with an audience of critics and ordinary moviegoers

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