Duplex (2003) - Synopsis
It's notoriously difficult to find a good apartment in New York, a fact that's been a story line on Seinfeld and other sitcoms and a real-life horror when a mother-son team was convicted of murdering an elderly widow after she foiled their plan to steal her $10 million Manhattan townhouse. Somewhere in between those light and dark scenarios is where you'll find Danny DeVito's charcoal-gray comedy Duplex. Ben Stiller, always looking for edgy material, and Drew Barrymore play a yuppie couple who buy their dream abode, a sunny duplex in Brooklyn. The price seems too good to be true and it is: The seemingly nice, old, and near-death lady (Eileen Essel) who lives upstairs and who can't be evicted turns out to be as aggravating as a leaking roof. She makes their life such hell (she's whiny, noisy, and nosy) that only one answer seems logical: death to Mrs. Connelly. It's appropriate, since DeVito's last directing effort was the despised (by audiences and critics alike) Death to Smoochy. The buzz on this black comedy is so-so, despite the likable leads.