“Repli-Kate” is basically your average College Screwball Comedy. It even has all the standard conventions of the genre, including: the evil dean, the dean’s pet student, the introverted hero, the hot girl he pines for, the hero’s wacky sidekick, and a Big Game where everything wraps up in a neat bow. Now add a cloning plot to the whole shebang and you get multiple reasons to show star Ali Landry (of the Doritos commercials fame) to strut around in various stages of undress.
The film stars James Roday as Max, one of those brilliant guys who can’t seem to get a break with the ladies. That is, until he meets journalist Kate (Ali Landry), who wants to do a story on Max and his invention, the replicator, which can replicate living organism — i.e. cloning. After Kate accidentally cuts herself in Max’s lab, Max inadvertently clones her. Out of the replicator steps a completely blank slate — hot and naked, and very trainable. This results in Max and roommate/Wacky Sidekick Henry (Desmond Askew) teaching clone Kate to “be like a guy” while still maintaining her, well, hotness.
Of course things don’t go as planned. Not only does the real Kate return to complicate the boys’ lives, but all clone Kate wants to do is drink beer, watch sports, and have sex. What’s wrong with that, you ask? Apparently a lot. It’s everything the boys had dreamed off, just not exactly. Soon Max is dodging repli-Kate while courting the real Kate, and Max’s boss/Evil Dean (Eugene Levy) is trying to take credit for Max’s work at the Big Game/Science Meeting. And let us not forget Todd Robert Anderson, playing the Dean’s Pet.
With the clone and real Kate constantly traversing the same grounds, there’s a lot of opportunity for comedy hijinks involving mistaken identity and other contrived nonsense only possible in these screwball comedies. Does it work? For the most part, I’d have to say Yes. “Repli-Kate” is pretty funny, in particular the first 30 minutes when Max and Henry teach the cloned Kate how to be one of the guys. The rest of the film relies more on the mistaken identity and coincidence angle for laughs. It should be said that the commitment of the cast to the ludicrous situations their characters find themselves in sells the scenes more than the actual script.
As the star, Ali Landry is basically onscreen the entire time. Fortunately she’s very photogenic. “Repli-Kate” promises a lot of scenes with a half-naked Ali Landry, and I’m happy to report that the film merrily delivers. There’s no gratuitous nudity, of course, but the film does take some liberties with Landry’s physical attractiveness. Landry also proves to be a good actress, even though I’ve read some unflattering critique about her being just a pretty face. She’s not going to win an Oscar just yet, but it’s readily obvious she has talent. How well does Landry do? Well enough that I could easily tell the difference between the two Kates.
For a film with mostly unknowns, “Repli-Kate’s” cast is quite good. James Roday isn’t entirely bad as the lead, even if punching computer keys at random doesn’t exactly convince the audience he’s the genius the movie makes him out to be. Brit Desmond Askew is funny as Henry, coming and going as the plot requires him to be onscreen either for comic relief or to aid and abet Max. It’s not exactly the most complex role in the world, of course. Of the cast, Eugene Levy (“American Pie”) is the de facto star. Levy does what he can, but the role is such a clich’ it’s hard to do much with it.
“Repli-Kate” works well enough if all you want is a screwball comedy reminiscent of the ’80s. It’s definitely a funny movie, with a lot of good jokes and the type of zany situations and outlandish gags one usually finds in these films. Oh sure, it’s all very predictable, but that’s why they call it a genre in the first place. “Repli-Kate” delivers on the comedy and sex appeal, and that’s really all you can ask for. If you wanted more, you shouldn’t have bothered with the film in the first place.
Frank Longo (director) / Stuart Gibbs, Russ Ryan (screenplay)
CAST: Ali Landry …. Kate
James Roday …. Max
Desmond Askew …. Henry
Eugene Levy …. Jonas Fromer
Todd Robert Anderson …. Felix