Multiplicity (film)

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Theatrical release poster
Directed byHarold Ramis
Screenplay by
Story byChris Miller (story writer)
Based on"Multiplicity"
by Chris Miller
Produced by
CinematographyLászló Kovács
Edited by
Music byGeorge Fenton
Distributed bySony Pictures Releasing
Release date
  • July 17, 1996 (1996-07-17)
Running time
117 minutes
Budget$45 million[1]
Box office$21,075,014[1]

Multiplicity is a 1996 American science fiction comedy film starring Michael Keaton and Andie MacDowell about a man able to duplicate himself by machine, each duplicate developing a different personality, causing problems. It was based on Chris Miller's short story "Multiplicity", published in National Lampoon magazine, Spring 1993.[citation needed] The film was co-produced and directed by Harold Ramis. The original music score was composed by George Fenton.

The film was released July 17, 1996. It received mixed reviews from critics, and grossed a worldwide total of $21 million at the box office, significantly less than its $45 million budget.


Doug Kinney works in construction in Los Angeles, and his job constantly gets in the way of his family. Working on a new wing of a scientific facility, Doug meets Dr. Leeds, a scientist who developed a method for cloning humans. He is introduced to Dr. Leeds' clone as proof. Sympathetic to Doug's troubles, Dr. Leeds clones him, so the clone can take over for Doug at work, while the original tries to spend time with his family. "Two", a clone who calls himself "Lance", has all of Doug's memories and knowledge, but is also an exaggeration of Doug's masculine side.

Doug tries to keep his clone a secret. While he and his wife Laura are at a restaurant for dinner, he sees Two on his own date. Doug begins to worry about his clone being revealed.

Despite the complications of having a clone, Lance is extremely busy at work, so Doug has another made to help out at home. "Three", who calls himself "Rico", is an exaggeration of Doug's feminine side. He is sensitive and thoughtful and loves to cook and take care of the house, much to Lance's chagrin.

Lance and Rico attempt to make another clone, "Four", who is later named Lenny. Since he is a clone-of-a-clone (and a copy of a copy may not be as 'sharp' as the original), his intelligence is lower than that of his predecessors, and he refers to Doug as "Steve". Annoyed, Doug decrees that no more clones be created.

Doug decides to take some time off, going on a sailing trip. He does not want Laura to know, so he has his clones step in for him while he is away. Although he instructs them that Laura is off limits, while he is gone each of the clones run into Laura. Despite their best efforts to follow instructions, she persists and eventually has sex with all three of them, thinking they are Doug.

The next day, Lance has a cold and cannot go to work, so he sends Rico. During an inspection on site, Rico's ignorance about the current construction site annoys the inspector, which leads to Doug losing his job.

Laura becomes increasingly upset with her husband's erratic behavior and how he has no memories of discussions she unwittingly had with another clone. Thinking Doug is ignoring her, she reveals her feelings to Lenny, mentioning how Doug has never kept his promise to fix up the house. When she asks him what he wants, an inattentive Lenny replies, "I want pizza". Upset, she takes the children and moves back to her parents' home.

After finding out everything that has happened while he was away, Doug tries to determine how to get Laura back. Lenny tells him that Laura said he never fixed the house. With the help of the clones, Doug remodels their home and wins back Laura's love. He also tells her he is planning to start his own contracting business. Realizing Doug can take care of himself now, the clones move away. As they are driving away, Laura sees them in the car next to her. Believing that she is hallucinating, Laura tells her children that you can tell you really love someone when everyone you see reminds you of them.

The clones write to Doug that they have set up a successful pizzeria called "Three Guys from Nowhere" in Miami, Florida, and masquerade as triplets. Lance becomes the businessman of the shop and serves customers, enjoying this opportunity to meet women. Rico is the head chef and is "cooking up a storm and having a ball", and Lenny is both the delivery boy and a paperboy. Lenny however confuses the two jobs and delivers pizzas by throwing a box onto a lawn while riding his bike by.



Box office[edit]

The film was released July 17 and ranked seventh at the box office that weekend. The film was not a success at the box office, earning a total of $21,075,014, less than half of its $45 million budget.[1] The Olympic Games was blamed for the poor opening weekend, and Independence Day held on to the number one position. John Krier, head of Exhibitor Relations, disagreed that the Olympics were to blame, instead saying competition from other films were the cause since total grosses were the same as the previous year. Multiplicity was competing for the same audience as Eddie Murphy's The Nutty Professor.[2]

Critical response[edit]

Multiplicity received mixed reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, it has an approval rating of 45% based on 47 reviews, with an average rating of 5.5/10. The site's critical consensus reads: "This high-concept experiment only proves that a comedy actually can have too much Michael Keaton."[3] Audiences surveyed by CinemaScore gave the film a grade B on scale of A to F.[4]

Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun Times gave the film 2.5 out of 4, and wrote: "Groundhog Day had a certain sweetness and even a sly philosophical depth, but Multiplicity is more of a ground-level comedy, in which we can usually anticipate the problems for Doug and his clones."[5][6]

Home media[edit]

The film was first released to DVD on April 15, 1998, shortly after the format debuted; the Columbia/Tri-Star release was a single disc release featuring the ability to watch the film either in widescreen or in fullscreen, but not featuring any bonus materials. Since then, a new Columbia/Sony release has replaced it, offering only a Pan & Scan (1.33 aspect ratio) format. Widescreen support is available on Region 2 editions of the movie.

Multiplicity was released in widescreen on DVD by Umbrella Entertainment in May 2012. The DVD is compatible with region code 4, and includes special features such as the theatrical trailer and crew biographies.[7]

See also[edit]

  • Living with Yourself, a 2019 TV series dealing with similar consequences, although this time their basis was unintentional.


  1. ^ a b c "Multiplicity". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 5 January 2019.
  2. ^ JUDY BRENNAN (July 22, 1996). "Not Even Opening of Olympics Can Slow 'ID4'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2012-06-01.
  3. ^ "Multiplicity". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved March 22, 2022.
  4. ^ "Cinemascore". Archived from the original on 2018-12-20.
  5. ^ Roger Ebert (July 19, 1996). "Multiplicity". Chicago Sun Times. Retrieved 2019-08-30.
  6. ^ Maslin, Janet (17 July 1996). "FILM REVIEW;The Doublemint Twins Times 2, Plus Chaos". The New York Times. Retrieved 2012-06-01.
  7. ^ "Multiplicity". Umbrella Entertainment. Archived from the original on 2012-01-25. Retrieved 6 September 2019.

External links[edit]