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|The Whole Ten Yards|
|R E V I E W B Y R I C H C L I N E||
dir Howard Deutch|
scr George Gallo
with Bruce Willis, Matthew Perry, Amanda Peet, Natasha Henstridge, Kevin Pollak, Frank Collison, Tasha Smith, Silas Weir Mitchell, Johnny Messner, Elisa Gallay, Johnny Williams, Tallulah Belle Willis
release US 9.Apr.04, UK 18.Jun.04
Odd couple: Perry and Willis
After their elaborate caper, Oz (Perry) and new wife Cynthia (Henstridge) have relocated to swanky L.A., where the increasingly paranoid Oz has a successful dental practice and Cynthia is trying to put her hit-woman career behind her. Meanwhile in Mexico, Cynthia's ex Jimmy (Willis) is re-inventing himself as a househusband to new wife Jill (Peet), who's struggling to get going as a hit-woman herself. Enter Lazlo (Pollak), a mob boss just out of jail and out for revenge against the four people who conspired to kill his son.
Despite a relatively involving plot and actors who are clearly enjoying themselves, Deutch directs the film like a joyless TV comedy about a bunch of chuckleheads. Each actor has his or her moments, but the shouting and mugging wears us down, so we don't care about the characters at all. There's also a feeble streak of humour that includes lame fart jokes, half-hearted bedroom farce, uninspired action and gags about ethnicity and sexuality that are vaguely offensive and wouldn't have been funny 20 years ago.
The cast members really go for it--especially Willis, who seems to have no shame and actually has fun sending up his action hero image. Perry seems uncomfortable with what's asked of him (especially the extended gay innuendo), but then Oz is supposed to be a nervous guy; while Peet alternates between genuinely funny and insanely manic. As the father of his Nine Yards character, Pollak goes for full ethnic shtick, complete with silly accent and malapropisms (he's basically spoofing Dominic Chianese, aka Uncle Junior Soprano). And Henstridge is the one who somehow injects a bit of class into the film. But it gets excruciatingly stupid and convoluted as it progresses, and somehow I doubt we'll be seeing The Whole Eleven Yards any time soon. But then, who could've predicted this?
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