Spectacular lip-synch scene aside, The Skeleton Twins is much lesser comedic than the presence of SNL alums Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader would lead you to believe. They play twin siblings, each possessing an air of superior condescension that barely conceals their crippling insecurity and depression. They’re re-united after Hader’s suicide attempt, and share a series of those conversations you have with someone you haven’t seen in a decade; late-night drunken conversations that breach many boundaries while leaving others firmly erected.
Director Craig Johnson opens the film with an orange plastic skeleton sinking to the bottom of a backyard pool, and the remainder of Skeleton Twins is overflowing with nautical images sodden with morbidity. It’s flooded – dripping – with nautical imagery (Okay, I’ll stop), whether deeply infused with death – dead goldfish strewn across a kitchen floor, arterial blood coiling in warm bathwater – or simply representative of poor decisions – married Wiig hooks up with her scuba diver instructor, who possesses an awful attempt at an Australian accent and an octopus tattoo, while Hader reconnects with his Moby Dick-obsessed high school English teacher (Ty Burrell). If you can avoid drowning beneath The Skeleton Twins’ watery symbolism, there’s a touching story below the surface.