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Duets (2001)

aka Duets

Directed By: 
Written By: 
Details: 112 mins · English · R (USA)


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Ricky Dean (Huey Lewis) is a hustler on the karaoke circuit who travels from town to town. At the beginning of the film, he is in Tulsa on his way to a big competition in Omaha with a $5,000 first prize.

He is detoured by a phone call and travels to Las Vegas for the funeral of an old friend. While there, he meets up with long-lost daughter Liv (Gwyneth Paltrow), who decides she wants to join him on the road.

Meanwhile, stressed-out salesman Todd Woods (Paul Giamatti) realizes he's so burned out from being on the road that he doesn't even know what city he's in.

When he gets home, his wife Candy (Kiersten Warren) and two kids are too self-absorbed to even say hello. Todd goes out for a pack of cigarettes, gets sidetracked and discovers karaoke. In the process he makes a new friend, hitchhiker Reggie Kane (Andre Braugher), a fugitive convict on the lam. Woods tells Reggie what he feels is wrong: "Our society lacks finesse."

The film then introduces Billy (Scott Speedman), a young man who drives a cab and finds himself involved with sexy Suzi Loomis (Maria Bello). She is on her way to California, and she is in a hurry. At first, Billy does not want to help, but Suzi says, "I'm gonna be the only major thing that has happened to you in your life, and you're gonna be jerking off to my memory on your goddamned death bed!" But what actually inspires Billy to help is his finding out that Suzi's bravado is hollow when he finds her sitting on the floor in the Ladies Room, vomiting in the toilet, because she is scared to death to perform and compete for the $5,000.00.

Ultimately, karaoke becomes the vehicle through which this eclectic group commences to discover exactly what it is each of its members are looking for. All of them eventually travel to Omaha, site of a national karaoke competition, where this group of singers comes together for a sing-off.

The characters use both music and the people they meet in the karaoke bars as a way to alleviate the pressures of life and in the process connect with one another. Each displays unique talents while performing many well-known cover songs throughout the film.

Before the performance, Reggie suggests Woods return to his earlier life, even as Woods claims to his wife that he is done with his earlier life. As Reggie and Woods enter the hall, Reggie notices the gathering of policemen looking for him. He is the last person to go on stage and sings a brief song as a tribute to his brief friendship with Woods. As the song ends and policemen enter the hall, Reggie pulls out a gun and is shot by the cops. Woods rushes onstage and Reggie says to him, "And they say our society has lost its finesse." Reggie then tells Woods to go home, and dies.

The film ends just as Woods, with his wife, inquires at the travel desk of an airline if they will allow him to use his 800,000 frequent flier miles to book their tickets home, to which the desk employee replies in the affirmative and Woods smiles and repeats Reggie's dying words, "And they say that our society has lost its finesse."

Release Dates:

Theatrical : 2000-09-15 : United States of America

DVD : 2001-05-08