So apparently the American government dabbled in genetic testing, impregnating the perfect host, Mary Ann Benedict, with the combined (somehow) sperm of 6 different fathers, each contributing traits that together would make the perfect child. But what resulted was a strange pair of twins (twins often come in pairs, you’ll find) – one of whom somehow inherited all of the desirable traits, and the other being, erm, well, the proverbial genetic trash pile. And things got even stranger because a) the program was deemed a failure, and the secret lab shut down, b) Mary Ann was told her baby(ies?) died at birth, while the children were told that their mother died in labour, and c) the perfect specimen twin, Julius (Arnold Schwartzenegger) was raised on an idyllic but remote island by I presume an Austrian scientist, which nearly explains away the accent, while the garbage twin (Danny DeVito) was abandoned in a California orphanage.
That’s just the back story, offered up in the first 30 seconds with what amounts to a cinematic shrug, even though I’m already baffled and offended. But let’s just, for the sake of argument, pretend that Schwartzenegger is indeed a perfect physical specimen, and has been well-rounded with plenty of knowledge from books but very minimal social interaction or what you might call “street smarts” or even “common sense.” On his 35th birthday he gets a rather lame gift: he finds out he has a brother. He probably asked for a bike and professor dad just cheaped out. Anyway, Julius flies to Los Angeles where he’s a big, hunkering mark, just a total naive noob with an outlook so sunny you want to punch him in the throat, if only you could reach it. And let’s accept that Danny DeVito is Schwartzenegger’s physical opposite, that he is somehow all the genetic leftovers that the first egg didn’t want, even though let’s face it: I find these two gentlemen to be equally attractive. Now Vincent (DeVito) has had a hard life. He has survived by fending for himself, dealing in the shadier side of life, and now he’s in debt to some pretty gnarly loan sharks. Vincent has never heard of a brother and he’s extremely suspicious but realizes this isn’t exactly the time to turn away a guy who could easily be mistaken for his body guard. Which is how these two strangers end up on a cross-country road trip with Vincent’s on-again, off-again girlfriend Linda (Chloe Webb) and her sister Marnie (Kelly Preston), whose fliratious advances confuse Julius, who, let’s remember, has likely never technically seen a woman before. So, um, hilarity ensues! Also quite a bit of homophobia.
The movie didn’t have enough budget to cover the usual fees, so DeVito, Schwarzenegger, and director Ivan Reitman agreed to take a portion of the profits instead, which turned out to be the best business decision any of them ever made; Schwarzenegger made more money from Twins than he did on any Terminator movie. Its surprise success is likely why there’s always been murmurings of a sequel. It was just getting off the ground when Schwarzenegger took a break from Hollywood to govern California, but it’s back on the table since the morning after his last day in office, and this time, they’d like to discover a third brother – Triplets is said to costar Eddie Murphy, though the there’s still no script attached. Incidentally, Jason Momoa has said he’d like to do a remake starring himself and Game of Thrones costar Peter Dinklage. So don’t worry folks: the 80s can still bring the cringe.
Oh, and confidential to Sean: it WAS Heather Graham! I told you it was! You owe me a zillion dollars. I don’t take cheques (from you). xo