Blu-ray Review: The Skeleton Twins

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The Skeleton Twins plays out like a series of reenacted diary entries that lasts 93 minutes without ever gelling into a cohesive whole. Saturday Night Live alums Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader star as Maggie and Milo, non-identical twins that haven’t spoken in a decade. Both are depressed and suicidal. Milo slits his wrists in a bathtub in Los Angeles. Maggie, about to swallow a handful of pills at her upstate New York home, receives the call that her brother is in the hospital recovering from his attempt.

So begins the healing process between the two siblings. Maggie is married to Lance, a brash but likable jock. How these two ever made it past a first date, let alone survived two years of marriage, is a question never addressed. Milo immediately senses that Maggie isn’t happy. As the twins explore the sources of their mutual misery, they put on makeup, lip sync to Starship, and get high at Maggie’s dental clinic. Along the way we learn about Maggie’s chronic infidelity and Milo’s illegal relationship with a former schoolteacher. The latter probably should’ve been the actual focus of the aimless screenplay (co-written by director Craig Johnson and Mark Heyman).

Skeleton Twins 2 (380x157).jpgThe Skeleton Twins attempts to coast by on atmosphere and the understated charm of its two stars (Luke Wilson is strangely underutilized). The problem is, despite the likeability of Wiig and Hader as performers, the characters they’re playing are repellent. By the end, it’s hard to believe we’ve witnessed any true progress. The message, however misguided, seems to be that these twins only need each other to get by.

Skeleton Twins 4 (380x158).jpgLionsgate’s Blu-ray looks and sounds fine for a very low-budget film. The look of Reed Morano’s cinematography is deliberately drab, presumably to complement the drab lives and surroundings of its characters. The DTS-HD MA 5.1 mix is solid for what it is. The soundtrack doesn’t need to do much more than present clear dialogue. It may not be much to look at or listen to, but it’s on par with other recent releases of this nature.

Skeleton Twins 3 (380x158).jpgTwo commentaries are included, both with writer-director Craig Johnson. For the first he is joined by Wiig and Hader, for the second he is joined by co-writer Mark Heyman and producer Jennifer Lee. Johnson also contributes optional commentary to 15 minutes of deleted scenes. “The Making of The Skeleton Twins” also runs 15 minutes. The gag reel is a true rarity in that it’s actually funny (the movie itself could’ve benefited from some of this comic energy). There are some additional outtakes and a featurette called “Sweet Moves” (which itself is kind of a gag reel, albeit focused on Wiig and Hader dancing). The package also includes a downloadable digital copy.

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Chaz Lipp is a Seattle-based freelance writer whose focus is music and film. As “The Other Chad,” he has written for the online magazine Blogcritics since 2008. When he’s not writing, Chaz can be found trolling jazz clubs, attempting to find somewhere to play his sax (whether anyone wants to hear…

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