Michael Keaton is a protean comic talent, and this ambitious but uneven farce gives him plenty of opportunities to put that talent to use. Keaton stars as Doug Kinney, a workaholic construction foreman who is watching his life fall to pieces. His job cuts into his roles as husband to wife Andie MacDowell and father to his young children. That’s when Doug decides to have himself cloned. You heard me.
Obviously, director Harold Ramis, who collaborated on the script with four other writers, is playing fantasy games in a manner similar to the mischief he stirred up in Groundhog Day, with Bill Murray’s character being forced to relive the same day again and again. Multiplicity isn’t able to sustain the cleverness of that film. After Doug clones himself one, two, three and four times, the joke grows tired.
Keaton, happily, does not. He is hilarious enjoying his first incarnation, sending off the working Doug while he plays with his kids and pays attention to his wife. MacDowell is beguilingly bemused in the role. By the third clone, Doug starts getting jealous — only the original Doug is supposed to sleep with the wife. By the fourth clone, played as a babbling simpleton, Keaton has exhausted the gimmick and the audience. I’d trade a dozen Dougs for one Beetlejuice.