Review: The Skeleton Twins

Directed by Craig Johnson (U.S., 2014)

Maggie (Kristen Wiig) and Milo (Bill Hader) are twins.  They have issues.  The preceding is your understatement of the week.  Milo is a disillusioned, failed actor who can’t let go of his affection for a man who took advantage of him when he was a teenager.  Maggie is a sex addict struggling through a failing marriage.  Both are suicidal.

Does that sound like a comedy to you?  Sure, this is a film about pathos, ennui, and the dread failure – but it’s also hilarious.  Wiig and Hader bring depth and emotional resonance to their characters.  They also bring one liners, goofiness, and saracastic observations. Throw in an assist from a hammy, doofy Luke Wilson just for good measure and an otherwise depressing picture is one of the better comedies of the year.

The acting is key here, as there isn’t really a “story” in the conventional sense.  We have an event that brings the twins together after ten years apart and then we follow Milo as he adapts to staying with his sister.

That’s pretty much the entire plot.There’s a lot of weight to the themes of The Skeleton Twins, and in the hands of lesser comedians it would be bleak and meaningless.  Thankfully it’s in the hands of Wiig and Hader.

You might like the Skeleton Twins if: You are up for a hilarious movie about usually non-hilarious topics.

You might not like the Skeleton Twins if: You like your pathos and your comedy to keep a ten foot distance from each other at all times.

(c) 2014 D.G. McCabe