The Skeleton Twins DVD Review
What’s it about? Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig star as Milo and Maggie Deane, estranged twins who are struggling with their lives, on opposite sides of the country. They’re unexpectedly reunited and forced to confront where their lives went so wrong. The key to fixing their lives may lie in accepting their past and mending their relationship.
Verdict: Saturday Night Live alums Wiig and Hader have starred in their fair share of comedies (even together in Adventureland) but this marks their breakthrough dramatic performance.
Whilst funny in places, this is a certainly a drama, not a comedy. It’s bleak – touching on suicide, depression, feelings of being unfulfilled, and failure. When they do come, the funny moments are credible and don’t downplay or undermine the drama as they so easily could have. The film remains authentic throughout, and much of that has to be down to the two leads who have great chemistry (and are also totally believable as twins).
The standout scene, comedically at least, is a brilliant lip-synching of Starship’s ‘Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now’, which is downright hilarious – it’s brilliant without context like an SNL sketch or YouTube clip – but isn’t really representative of the film or its humour as a whole. Most of the laughs in the film come from nice character moments between the twins, and Milo’s constant sarcasm.
Though she is at times the straight person to Milo’s ‘gay cliché’ (his words), Wiig’s role is more subtle but just as nuanced and complicated.
Also adding to the very comedic cast are Luke Wilson and Modern Family’s Ty Burrell. Wilson plays Maggie’s always-positive husband – he’s great at that puppy dog-like enthusiasm, but when called upon to show more depth behind this he’s also great. Burrell plays the complicated love interest of Milo, and shows incredible aptitude as a dramatic actor. He’s a real stand out here, and it will be interesting to see ‘Phil Dunphy’ delve further into dramatic territory in future roles.
The whole film has a beautiful washed-out aesthetic that matches the bleak themes, and it’s accompanied by a great soundtrack – beginning with Blondie’s Denis as Milo tries to end his life. This scene, with its soundtrack, immediately sets the dark yet quirky tone.
Ultimately this isn’t an ‘indie comedy’; it’s a bleak and thoughtful drama with great performances – far more touching and ultimately uplifting than it could have been.
Extras: There’s a plethora of extras to accompany the feature, including two commentaries, both featuring the director, writers and stars, as well as all the usual making of, deleted scenes and gag reel features.
Final Words Anybody wanting the equivalent of a 90-minute SNL-sketch may come away sorely disappointed, but it’s hard not to get invested and swept away by this poignant and affecting drama and its leads.
The Skeleton Twins is out on DVD and Blu Ray now.