Duets is a sort of road-trip comedy which revolves around the little world of karaoke
and characters who inhabit it. There's the struggling singer, (Maria Bello
) who dreams of making it to the big time, an ex-priest cab driver (Scott Speedman
), a frustrated salesman (Paul Giamatti
) who ends up on an unexpected road trip, the dysfunctional
family which includes a con-artist (Huey Lewis
) and his long lost daughter(Gwyneth Paltrow
), and an escaped convict (Andre Braugher
). All roads lead to Omaha
, site of a national karaoke competition where this motley group of singers and stars come together for a blow-out sing-off.
The movie tracks three separate story lines. First there is Suzi (Bello). She a karaoke junkie out of money and finds Billy (Speedman) in a bar; cons him into driving her all the way to where she wants to go, the big contest in Omaha. Then there is Todd, (Giamatti) who comes home from yet another business trip and just snaps. He takes off driving and somewhere picks up an escaped convict, (Braugher) with the voice of an angel. Finally, there is Ricky Dean, (Lewis) a slick, smoothtalking con artist whose daughter, pretty and empty-headed Liv (Paltrow), has just found him and has taken to following him around like a lost puppy.
None of the stories are too captivating, and unless you really want to hear what Gwyneth Paltrow sings like, I wouldn't really recommend you bothering to see this movie. The strong points, however, (and most critics were highly enthusiastic about this) are Giamatti and Braugher's performances. The depiction of a stable, sane, count on me guy gone awry is amazing, as is the chemistry between him and his hitchhiker, the wary ex-con. If you have to see it, this makes it okay.
R for language and some sexuality.
Cast list courtesy of IMDB, the rest courtesy of Me, Myself and I.