The Whole Nine Yards

**1/2

Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Every now and again one of the friends from Friends makes a break for the big screen. This time, it's Matthew Perry's turn.

He plays a dentist from Chicago, living in Montreal with a wife (Rosanna Arquette) who wants him dead, a trainee dental assistant (Amanda Peet) who is studying contract killing in her spare time and a next door neighbour (Bruce Willis) who is infamous as a hit man for the Mob. There is only one joke.

Dentist: "I like keeping things as painless as possible." Hit man: "Me too."

The additional twist concerns the son (Kevin Pollak) of a Chicago gangster and the hit man's estranged wife (Natasha Henstridge). The son wants to kill the killer for double crossing his dad and so comes to Canada with a limo load of louts. The wife wants to get laid and if the dentist is all that's on offer ("I haven't had sex for five years." "Nor have I, I'm married."), why not?

Jonathan Lynn directs with none of the wit, or subtlety, he displayed in Yes, Minister. Since coming to Hollywood, he seems to have gone native with The Distinguished Gentleman for Eddie Murphy and Sgt Bilko for Steve Martin, both underachievers at the gag factory. He allows his actors too much leeway. He should watch Billy Crystal in Analyze This for a lesson in comic timing.

Perry overplays the scared innocent to the point of no return, while Willis coasts in his support role. Arquette puts on a ludicrous accent, supposedly French Canadian and hams it up outrageously. Peet is not afraid to strip off when the going gets tough. She will be remembered long after people have stopped asking about yards and why nine?

Reviewed on: 19 Jan 2001
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The Whole Nine Yards packshot
Mobster shenanigans and dentistry, not much funnier than toothache.
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Director: Jonathan Lynn

Writer: Mitchell Kapner

Starring: Bruce Willis, Matthew Perry, Rosanna Arquette, Michael Clarke Duncan, Natasha Henstridge, Amanda Peet

Year: 2000

Runtime: 98 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: US

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