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Duplex is a 2003 dark comedy film directed by Danny DeVito and starring the dynamite duo of Ben Stiller and Drew Barrymore. The screenplay, penned by Larry Doyle, exuberantly displays a blend of black humor and slapstick comedy that makes for an enjoyable viewing experience. The cast also includes delightful British actress Eileen Essel, who further spices things up with her eccentric performance.

The story revolves around a successful young couple, Alex Rose (Ben Stiller) and Nancy Kendricks (Drew Barrymore), who are living in New York City. Alex is a novelist, and Nancy works in the media industry - seemingly, the perfect modern, urban couple. The dream apartment they find furthers this perfection - a beautiful, spacious duplex quietly nestled in Brooklyn. The icing on the cake is the sweet old lady, Mrs. Connelly (Eileen Essell), living in the rent-controlled upper floor of the duplex. With rent so affordable for such an ideal New York home, and with Mrs. Connelly as their only neighbor, Alex and Nancy jump at the opportunity and purchase the property.

However, what looks like a sweet deal soon turns into a comedy of horrors. Mrs. Connelly may seem harmless, but she quickly becomes the couple's worst nightmare with her eccentricities and seemingly never-ending needs. As the two try to stay afloat amidst her constant requests and strange behaviors, they realize that their lives have taken a surreal turn.

Acting up to the peak of their comedic prowess, Stiller and Barrymore portray the anxiety and awkwardness of novice homeowners dealing with their intrusive neighbor. Barrymore's portrayal of the chirpy yet affected Nancy and Stiller's enactment of the panic-ridden Alex bring an enticing charm to the film. The undercurrent of the couple's increasing desperation is hilariously and eloquently communicated, giving Duplex an infectious humorous vibe, despite its slightly dark undertone.

Eileen Essel's acting is the real surprise though, as she brilliantly juggles the dual-impressions of a sweet, old lady and a somewhat diabolic character with relative ease. Essel's Mrs. Connelly is a character that remains etched in one's memory for her unforgettable quirks. Mrs. Connelly's character is certainly one of the most engaging parts of the film.

The intricate set design and the vibrant imagery of the film create a striking backdrop for this comedy. The duplex itself becomes a character in the movie, contributing immensely to the atmosphere of the story. The use of light and dark, combined with the breathtaking interior of the apartment, adds depth to the comedy and sets the mood perfectly for the narrative.

Danny DeVito’s direction really stands out as he takes a simple premise and expands it into a wild, hilarious and entertaining storyline. The film contains DeVito’s characteristic black humor and is superbly paced to maintain the audience’s interest. His adept handling of characters and situations gives the movie a distinct flavor.

Furthermore, the poignancy of the screenplay cannot be sidelined. Marketplace topics like housing deficits, the generational gap, and the dreams and aspirations of young urbanites make the ludicrous storyline unusually authentic. The exhausting journey of this couple as they strive to gain peaceable possession of their dwelling is a humorous satire that mirrors urban predicaments and frustrations, effectively making Duplex a social comedy.

On the whole, Duplex is a sly, comedic gem that is highly entertaining and full of pleasant surprises. The ensemble cast's fabulous performances, coupled with the expert direction and intelligent scripting, make this film a noteworthy entry in the world of dark comedy. Despite its sinister twist on homeowner horror stories, Duplex invites viewers to sit back, laugh, and above all, enjoy the chaotic ride.

Duplex is a Comedy movie released in 2003. It has a runtime of 89 minutes. Critics and viewers have rated it moderate reviews, with an IMDb score of 5.9. It also holds a MetaScore of 50.

How to Watch Duplex

Where can I stream Duplex movie online? Duplex is available to watch and stream, buy on demand, download at Kanopy, Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play, Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent Duplex for a limited time or purchase the movie for downloading.

Danny DeVito
Ben Stiller, Drew Barrymore, Eileen Essell
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