Film / Twins

Twins is a 1988 comedy starring Danny DeVito and Arnold Schwarzenegger as twins.

Yes, that Danny DeVito and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Julius and Vincent Benedict are fraternal twins; the results of a secret experiment carried out at a genetics laboratory to produce the perfect child, using sperm donated by six different fathers. The mother was told that the children died at birth, while the children were informed once old enough that their mother died in childbirth. The program was a success but was shut down, due to one twin inheriting the "desirable traits", and the other being the "genetic trash": Julius is strong, handsome, kind and intelligent, while Vincent is, well, Danny DeVito.

The two meet when they're both 35 and Julius bails Vincent out of jail. Vincent doesn't warm up to Julius right away, but he soon does.

Vincent steals a car that happens to have a secret prototype fuel injector worth five million dollars in the trunk. He is going to drive to Houston to sell it for money he owes to loan sharks, but Julius finds out that their mother is really alive and they might be able to find her, and the drive to Houston soon turns into a road trip with Vincent, Julius, Vincent's girlfriend Linda and Linda's sister Marnie. They are pursued by Webster, the criminal responsible for transporting the fuel injector. Hilarity Ensues.

News broke in Summer 2013 that a sequel, called.. What else, Triplets, is apparently going into production soon with Eddie Murphy as the third brother. That sound you can hear is the entire world doing a collective "What?".

This film provides examples of:

  • Adorkable: Julius, especially on the topic of women.
  • Badass Adorable: An interesting example, because Julius' adorability is in his demeanour and behaviour rather than his appearance.
  • Babies Ever After: At the end, lo and behold, the twins have married the twins and have each had... twins.
  • Bait and Switch: In the last scene, when the mother notes "I just can't get over how alike they are", the camera cuts to Julius and Vincent but then pans down to the twin babies in the buggies.
  • Bedroom Adultery Scene: Vincent's introductory scene.
  • Berserk Button: Vincent finds out the hard way that calling Burt Klane a "blimp" isn't the smartest thing to do.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Julius. He doesn't want to hurt you; that doesn't mean he can't.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Julius develops this immediately.
  • Big Guy, Little Guy: And it's rather hard to get them mixed up.
  • Blatant Lies: Dr. Mitchell Traven denied any knowledge of the program. ("I don't know who you are, and I don't know what you're talking about!") This pissed Julius off.
  • Bond One-Liner: During the final confrontation, once the chains finally finish piling up on the villain, Vincent looks in mild shock before delivering "Now there's a guy with a lot on his mind."
  • But I Read a Book About It: Julius knew all about driving from reading about it, and having read the car's manual, he knew he could shut off the alarm by lifting it up from the back, thereby tricking it into thinking it was being towed. Of course it only worked because of his extraordinary strength.
  • Car Skiing: Julius does one of these completely by accident his first time driving a car.
    Julius: Maybe I can teach you that sometime.
    Vincent: Julius, let me give you a little advice: here in America, nobody likes a smartass.
  • Coat Over the Shoulder: Danny gets them matching sets of cool white suits. They simultaneously flip their jackets, with Arnold's jacket floating over Danny.
  • Conscience Makes You Go Back: Julius makes Vincent grow a conscience, which irritates Vincent to no end.
    Julius: Why did you come back?
    Vincent: Why? I'll tell you why, it's because I have a disease called a conscience.
    Julius: No one said doing the right thing was easy.
    Vincent: "No one said doing the right thing was easy."
  • The Cynic: Vincent has had one too many disappointments in his life to believe in concepts like love, kindness and hope.
  • Designer Babies: Julius and Vincent are the results of a secret experiment carried out at a U.S. Government genetics laboratory to produce the perfect child. To the surprise of the scientists, the embryo split and twins were born. One twin, Julius, is seemingly "perfect", exhibiting all the traits the scientists were hoping to achieve, while the other, Vincent, is much more "average", to the scientists' dismay.
  • Double In-Law Marriage: The end has the twins marrying sisters.
  • Dr. Jerk: Dr. Mitchell Traven at best, bordering on Morally Ambiguous Doctorate. It's not possible to justify breaking up a family the way he did, no matter what his reasons for it.
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: Vincent, at least when he finds out he was lied to when told he was a Son of a Whore. Of course, by the time he and his true mother meet, he's not really that bad anymore.
  • Genius Bruiser: Julius.
  • Gentle Giant: Keep in mind that this role was very much Playing Against Type for Arnie at first, since he was then-known either as an action hero or The Terminator.
  • Grand Romantic Gesture: Vincent has his love interest's room decorated with flowers. She is floored.
  • The Grovel: Towards the end during his Grand Romantic Gesture, Vincent is on his knees begging his love interest for forgiveness. It works.
  • Has Two Mommies: How many fathers do th twins have?
  • Hawaiian-Shirted Tourist: The two couriers who deliver the car to the garage try to pass themselves off as tourists by wearing Hawaiian shirts.
  • Hero Stole My Bike: Julius jacks a convertible with buffalo horns on the hood in Twins, but later mentions that he returned it.
  • Hot for Teacher: Vincent somehow managed to seduce Sister Maria, one of the nuns who was his biology teacher at the orphanage where he grew up. This resulted in Sister Maria losing her job before he ran away.
  • Hypocrite: Vincent accuses Linda of accompanying him on the journey because her interests were only financial, even though five million dollars is exactly what motivated his road trip in the first place.
  • Informed Ability: Some of Julius' abilities, like his superior skill at math. Justified in that only some of his skills are relevant to the plot, and usually only for a single scene each.
  • In the Blood: Done in a more controlled and planned manner than usual. Dr. Traven and his team took sperm from men who excelled in all fields — a Nobel Prize-winning scientist, a bodybuilder etc. so they could create someone who was literally a master at everything. The embryo's split into a "good" twin and a "bad" twin in Mary-Ann's womb, however, was not planned for.
  • Jerkass: Mitchell Traven. He treats Vincent like crap, because his unexpected birth was the reason the program was shut down. Also because of it, he told Mary Ann, their birth mother, that her child died at birth.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Vincent, after some Character Development.
  • Kindhearted Cat Lover: Vincent.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Ultmately everyone gets what they deserve, for good or ill. The twins forge a permanent bond, marry a pair of good-looking, good-hearted women and each gets a set of wins of their own. Mary Ann, having long believed her only son died at birth, discovers she actually has two and gets the chance to reconnect with them. Meanwhile Webster, a Faux Affably Evil murdering bastard who killed the two men who hired him and offed Beatroot, gets violently crushed by a chain-hook and a long length of metal chains. Dr. Traven, who isn't a villain but still acted like a bitter old crank and a jackass, gets sucker-punched for his own bad deeds (because at least he didn't kill anyone).
  • Loan Shark: Vincent is hounded by the family of loan sharks almost every other scene. Played for laughs, as they are continuously injured and quite non-threatening.
  • Long-Lost Relative: Julius and Vincent were Separated at Birth. Vincent was placed in an orphanage in Los Angeles, Julius was taken to a South Pacific island and raised by Professor Werner. Each twin is unaware of the other's existence until Vincent learns of his twin brother in his 35th birthday.
  • Mama Bear: Mary Ann, after she learns about Dr. Traven's little white lie. "You stole my family... you lying son of a BITCH!!"
  • Man Child: Julius has a lot of child-like innocence due to spending his whole life on an island.
  • Missing Mom: Julius was informed that his mother died in childbirth. Vincent believed his mother abandoned him.
  • Mistaken Identity: When they first meet, Vincent thinks Julius is a debt collector working for the Klane brothers.
  • Mix-and-Match Man: Julius and Vincent are Designer Babies with combined DNA from six athlete and scholarly fathers. Vincent lost out in the process though.
  • The Morality/Mortality Equation: Beatroot's associates get killed just for seeing Webster's face, even though as far as the audience is aware they're just a couple of guys doing their job. Beatroot himself suffers the same fate near the end, for the exact same reasons.
  • Nice Guy: Julius.
  • Noble Demon: Beetroot honors the deal he made with Vincent, even though he realizes by then that that Vincent obviously got ahold of it by accident, and probably doesn't even "know what the hell this thing is"; after explaining what it is, he leaves the promised payment and leaves with the goods. Unfortunately for Beetroot and his assistant, Webster isn't noble at all, gunning them down in cold blood just before Julius arrives, leading to the climax.
  • Overly Long Gag: The chain.
  • Pet the Dog: Or cat in this case. Vincent, despite being a moneygrubbing lech until he meets Julius, is very kind and loving towards his pet cat, ironically named Julius.
    • Dr. Traven had hoped Julius would stay with him after learning he had a twin, but Julius was insistent on leaving to find his twin brother, so Traven let him leave. That's as nice as he gets and it's all downhill from there.
  • Polar Opposite Twins: Duh.
  • Psycho for Hire: Webster. He kills anyone he meets in person so they can't identify him, even if that person is the one who hired him.
  • Raised by Dudes: Arnold's character is raised by scientists while his biological parents (all seven of them) are excluded. When he ventures into normal society, he is very much a Fish out of Water.
  • Rule Number One: The rules of a crisis situation:
    Rule 1: Don't move too soon.
    Rule 2: If you choose to bluff, you must be prepared to have your bluff called.
    Rule 3: Duck.
  • Separated at Birth: Natch. All because of Dr. Traven.
  • Something Else Also Rises: When Marnie falls asleep on Julius, it causes his bicep to bulge to the point where it rips his shirt.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Of course Vincent was kind of a jerkass his whole life, but became a bigger jerkass after he was told their mother died and took it out on Linda and Julius.
    • He was also told that he wasn't planned and was the made out of everything they didn't want in Julius. That certainly didn't do much for his mood.
  • Twin Telepathy: Naturally. The Twins are even in constant Synchronization, much to Vincent's initial annoyance.
  • We Named the Monkey Jack: Vincent named his beloved cat Julius, but long before finding out about his brother. It qualifies, though, in that it is another example of the Twins being on the same wavelength, even if they were unaware of it.
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: Julius.
  • Wins by Doing Absolutely Nothing: Near the beginning, a motorcycle-riding thief tries to steal Julius's suitcase. Julius is so strong that he is able to hold onto the suitcase without even noticing that the man is trying to steal it, and the thief falls off the motorcycle on his back. Even after the attempted theft, Julius doesn't realize what the man had been trying to do and unironically tries to give him medical assistance.