The Other Me (2000)


USA. 2000.


Director – Manny Coto, Teleplay – Jeff Schechter, Based on the Novel Me Two by May P. Ryan, Producer – Diane Gutterud, Photography – Derek Rogers, Music – Mark Mothersbaugh, Additional Music – Bruce Berman, Visual Effects Supervisor – Dan Schmit, Visual Effects – Ring of Fire, Production Design – Jacques Michel Bradette. Production Company – Disney Channel/Allan Sacks Productions


Andrew Lawrence (Will Browning/Twoie), Mark L. Taylor (Dad), Lori Hallier (Mom), Joe Grifasi (Conrad), Scott McCord (Victor), Brendan Jefferson (Chuckie), Alison Pill (Allana Browning), Tyler Hynes (Scottie DeSota), Sarah Gudon (Heather Johnson), Robert Buck (Grandpa Mordechai)


Will Browning has little interest in applying himself at school and is in danger of flunking the year. His parents threaten to send him to military summer camp unless he passes. In order to complete his science project, Will sends away to the Ocean Pups institute for some of the fish eggs they sell. At Ocean Pups, the scientists Victor and Conrad have just created the hyper-cloning process thatallows the instantaneous duplication of an animal. Some of their formula spills on a packet of fish eggs, which are then unwittingly sent to Will. Will uses his comb to stir the formula into the fish tank but is then startled when a full-grown copy of himself emerges. The clone, which he nicknames Twoie, has a blank mind, although demonstrates a capacity to rapidly absorb information. Will is forced to hide Twoie from the rest of his family. He then comes up with the idea of sending Twoie to school in his place, while he stays home and has fun. However, at school, Twoie succeeds in not only turning Will’s academic failure around but in making friends with the bully and becoming the most popular kid in class. Meanwhile, Conrad and Victor are on the trail of Twoie and are determined to abduct him as proof that the cloning process works.

The Other Me is one of a variety of children’s films made for the Disney Channel in recent years, many of which have broached fantastical material.

Alas, the film has been indifferently slung together by Dr Giggles (1992) director Manny Coto. The lack of care in the production is surely evident in the scene where the clone first appears and is wearing a pair of jeans but then in the next shot is told to put on a towel. There is a good deal of forced slapstick throughout – particularly the drawn-out scenes with Andrew Lawrence and his clone self ducking around the kitchen and dining room trying to avoid being spotted together by his parents, and a very silly scene dancing on the tables in the school cafeteria. The latter half of the film is taken up by much slapstick with the villains – indeed, the two villains seem weakly wound in for the sole purpose of giving the story some drive during the second half.

Playing both the clone and the original, Andrew Lawrence does a reasonable job of delineating two characters that are essentially the same but very different. The film comes to a predictably upbeat message where the clone comes to stand in for all that is worthwhile that the kid does not realise about his life. The cloning process is not dealt with in any serious way – for all it matters to the story, the process could be magic.

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