No Need to Keep This Blasphemous Ten
- Annabelle Robertson Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer
- 2008 18 Jan
DVD Release Date: January 15, 2008
Theatrical Release Date: August 3, 2007
Rating: R (for pervasive strong crude sexual content including dialogue and nudity and foul language and some drug material)
Run Time: 95 min.
Director: David Wain
Actors: Paul Rudd, Jessica Alba, Famke Janssen, Liv Schreiber, Winona Ryder, Adam Brody, Bobby Cannavale, Robb Corrdry
Walking onstage, as if in a theatrical production, Jeff (Paul Rudd) stands in front of two “Moses”-like tablets of the Ten Commandments and introduces the concept of The Ten, which is a series of short films, or stories, designed to illustrate the Ten Commandments.
In between each short, however, Jeff unwittingly plays out some of those commandments through various scenarios in his life. This all takes place onstage, with theatrical props such as tables, chairs, and a door that opens and closes. He fights with his wife (Famke Janssen). He has an affair with Liz (Jessica Alba). He leaves his wife. And so on.
In the meantime, however, there are the stories. One after the other.
A guy falls from an airplane without a parachute and survives, only to learn that he can’t be moved from the hole he’s now embedded in. He becomes the star of a sitcom filmed around him—and a worldwide idol (commandment #1). A woman (Winona Ryder) leaves her new husband during their honeymoon, after falling for a ventriloquist’s dummy—with whom she has passionate sex (commandment #2).
While visiting Mexico, an American woman falls in love with a long-haired carpenter, only to learn that he is actually Jesus. Being Jesus and all, he should call for the rapture, but he’s having way too much fun sleeping with this sexy tourist. Later, in bed with her husband, she shouts out, “Jesus!” (commandment #3).
A married father cheats on his wife with other men every Sunday, while his wife is in church. Soon, this has turned into weekly Sunday orgies with all the neighborhood husbands and fathers. They rationalize that it’s a “godly” way to celebrate the Sabbath and all break into a musical song-and-dance number about this (commandment #4).
A married Caucasian housewife gives birth to twin African-American boys. Later, she admits that the father is a black celebrity. When she can’t track him down, she hires an impersonator to play dad to the grown boys, who agree to accept him in lieu of their biological father (commandment #5).
A surgeon intentionally drops scissors into a patient and is confused (but unrepentant) when she dies, because it was all a gag (commandment #6). Two male inmates meet and can’t wait to rape one another on a regular basis (not sure which commandment). And so on.
Essentially, the film is one big excuse for a series of Saturday Night Live style skits. Except that I’d usually give SNL skits 5 out of 10, on a scale of 1 to 10. These skits are more like a 1, on a scale of 1 to 100. Unless zero is an option, because truly, there are no words to describe how bad it really is.
The film is blasphemous in the extreme. (It even boasts about this on the DVD jacket.) Jesus is portrayed as a lust-filled Mexican who beds woman after woman. A young mother who attends church is mocked for her legalism. Honoring our parents means having the mindset of a toddler. And that’s just a sampling.
In addition to the nonexistent narrative and religious mockery, the R rating (“for pervasive strong crude sexual content including dialogue and nudity and foul language and some drug material”) tells you everything you need to know about the rest of this film’s content. Frankly, it’s the most bizarre portrayal of sexuality I have ever seen. Most of the scenarios—not to mention the mere thought of the mind that created them—are incredibly disturbing to watch, and thoroughly warped.
It’s not funny to watch one male prisoner raping another, much less talking about it as if it’s a love affair. Neither am I amused by neighborhood husbands and fathers cavorting in the nude, singing about why they believe it’s appropriate to “celebrate the Sabbath” by having sex with one another. It’s also not funny to watch a woman passionately kissing and having sex with a wooden dummy. Again, just a sampling of the scenarios we’re subjected to.
Even if you can get past all the blasphemy and disturbing sexual themes that form the bedrock of these skits, there’s simply nothing here. It doesn’t go anywhere at all, from a narrative standpoint, and it doesn’t convey any message—save that anyone who believes in the Ten Commandments is an idiot.
I honestly have no idea what director David Wain (who also directed Wet, Hot, American Summer) was thinking. If there is anything redemptive at all about this film, it’s the fact that it only lasts 95 minutes. And, that I had to drive to five video stores before finding it.
- Alternate-Take and Deleted-Scene Vignettes
- Audio Commentary with David Wain, Ken Marino and Paul Rudd
- Special interview with David Wain, Ken Marino and Paul Rudd
- ‘Exclusive Episode’ of “Wainy Days”
- “The Making of the Ten” featurette
- Ringtones and Wallpaper
- Other unrated features
- Drugs/Alcohol: Moderate
- Language/Profanity: Strong, including dozens of f-words and crude, disturbing references.
- Sexual Content/Nudity: Very strong, very crude and extremely disturbing.
- Violence: Moderate but disturbing, due to circumstances that are both bizarre and cruel—such as fathers repeatedly slapping their sons and a man who falls out of an airplane and must live the rest of his life partially embedded in the ground, while staring at his twisted, useless leg.