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"The Whole Ten Yards" - Movie Review

  • Annabelle Robertson Entertainment Critic
  • 2004 9 Apr
"The Whole Ten Yards" - Movie Review

Release Date:  April 9, 2004
Rating:  PG-13 (for sexual content, some violence and language)
Genre:  Action/Comedy/Crime
Run Time: 99 minutes
Director:  Howard Deutch
Actors:  Bruce Willis, Matthew Perry, Amanda Peet, Kevin Pollak and Natasha Henstridge

If you missed the first one, you’re in luck. You have another opportunity to miss the sequel.

Jimmy “The Tulip” Tudeski (Bruce Willis), who faked his death in the original movie to get away from the gangster buddies he ratted on, is now living in Mexico and married to assassin-wannabe Jill (Amanda Peet). Jimmy spends his days perusing “Gourmet” magazine for new recipes and cleaning the house – in furry pink bunny slippers. Jill thinks Jimmy is crazy. This must be fiction.

Oz Oseransky (Matthew Perry) is also living the good life, with his stolen millions, Jimmy’s ex-wife, Cynthia (Natasha Henstridge), and a mansion full of guns and security gadgets. Unlike Jimmy, the bumbling Oz knows that Lazlo Gogolak (Kevin Pollak), patriarch of the Hungarian Gogolak mob, is eventually going to get out of jail and come after them for killing his son (also Kevin Pollak, in the previous movie, but without the wig, makeup and glasses). Cynthia thinks Oz is crazy.


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Despite Oz’s precautions, Lazlo manages to kidnap Cynthia (quite easily), which sends Oz running to Jimmy down in Mexico, thus revealing Jimmy’s hideout. During the ensuing shootout, they escape “back” to L.A., where Oz soon discovers that Jimmy and Cynthia had been planning this all along, in order to get Lazlo’s money and kill him. Which they don’t, in the end, because of a twist.  A twist which, strangely enough, renders the entire film senseless. Of course, that’s how I’d characterize the whole film.

To say that the plot – and, by extension, the script – is convoluted would be putting it mildly. I’m still not sure who knew what and who was doing what to whom, except that there was a lot of gun-pointing, sex talk (“She’s got a great rack”) and discussions about erectile dysfunction. A kid (who happens to be Willis’ real-life daughter) mouths off to an adult stranger. Gogolak is always hitting his adult son and there is a fair amount of profanities and obscenities, including two f—words (with a Hungarian accent). Such great comedy.

We also get to hear Jill and Jimmy going at it in the bedroom several times (because killing people turns her on, which turns him on, which temporarily solves the aforementioned problem). And, two men wake up naked and in bed with one another, after going to bed drunk. One of them says, “Why does my a— hurt?” implying that they could have had sex.

I’m not sure if a film could actually push the envelope any further and still retain a PG-13 rating. I guess that’s why its predecessor was rated R.

That four good actors would choose to be in this is, frankly, beyond my comprehension. Unlike the first movie, in which Willis played an aloof, smirking hit man with great aplomb (this is not to say that the first movie was good – it was not – but Willis was), in this film, he is maudlin. His cleaning and cooking antics are ridiculous, and his hysterical crying about infertility (while getting wasted on dozens of shots) is completely over-the-top. Perry bumps into every inanimate object within ten yards (ah, maybe that’s where the title comes from) – sometimes three and four times in a row. And Peet and Hendstridge, who can act, don’t get any credible lines. They’re portrayed as murdering bimbos who seduce other men to get what they want. Such a good, wholesome view of women. ‘Ya gotta love Hollywood. So progressive.

And how about this for progress:  making a comedy out of killing people. Yes, it’s been done before, but should it ever be, even when it has a decent script and can illicit laughs?

“I just want to shoot someone,” Jill sobs. Jimmy answers, “Killing another human being can be a very moving experience. So, all right, we’ll go out and find someone to kill – some drunk tourist. And we’ll put a few rounds in him.”

Maybe I’ve heard too many stories from the emergency room, where my husband pastors the victims and families of 900 gunshot wounds every year, but I just don’t think that shooting people is funny. I also don’t like the way Willis’ character mocks God when he’s drunk and moaning about the very real problem of infertility.

“This is God’s way of punishing me. I don’t take the trash out and I’ve killed 21 people,” Jimmy says, lumping the two “sins” into the same category. He wears a crucifix as a “good luck charm” and prays in Hebrew, and it’s all a big joke – just part of his silly character that we’re supposed to laugh at. Only we don’t. Because none of it’s funny.

The only good thing about “The Whole Ten Yards” is that we don’t have to listen to Rosanna Arquette’s whiny French accent (she played Oz’s cheating wife in the original). So, unless you think “The Three Stooges” meets Martha Stewart meets “The Godfather” is a riot, you may want to do the 50-yard dash from this one.