The Whole Ten Yards

The Whole Ten Yards

*

Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Here's the joke: action star Bruce Willis plays Jimmy, the son of a Mafia boss, in pinny and slippers. "I like cooking, cleaning and decorating," he announces, with the faintest hint of pinky-crooked campness. He wears a wig of shoulder length soft brown curls. What is this? Gay Day at Camp Godfather?

The prequel, The Whole Nine Yards, was supposed to launch Friends star Matthew Perry onto the big screen as the next accident-prone comic sensation. It didn't happen because the movie was only half funny and Perry played it as a continuous double take.

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Some of the same characters are back in Ten Yards. Perry is still walking into furniture, as the hapless dentist Oz, and Willis resurrects Jimmy as a homemaker, who cares more about the recipe for roast pork than servicing Jill (Amanda Peet), his wife/girlfriend, who masquerades as a hitwoman.

There are erectile disfunction gags and dubious quips about going out into the street and shooting strangers "for the buz". Meanwhile, Oz is driving Cynthia (Natasha Henstridge), his wife/girlfriend, crazy with his paranoia. Their house is an arsenal, with spy cameras in every nook and bush. Obviously, he expects to be targeted. Why, or by whom, is a mystery, even to Cynthia.

At one point, near the end, Oz says, "I've never been so confused in my whole life." Encore to that. The plot is a baffling array of gangster parody nonsense, sexist claptrap and kidnap chaos. Cynthia is snatched by Jimmy's dad and held hostage. Jimmy can't make it with Jill, but obviously did/does with Cyn. Oz falls over things and hasn't a clue what day it is.

The film is worse than misconceived. It's a criminal waste of talent. Willis makes these turkeys every now and again - who can forget Hudson Hawk? - just to prove that he's human. Perry is still doing deadpan double takes, as if that's all you need to make people laugh. Comedy requires compassion. Perry remains trapped in the false world of catch phrase recognition and gag-on-sticks artifice. As for Peet, she was 2003's Babe Of The Year, appearing in everything and looking top toasty. Here, she's embarrassing, playing a learner assassin like a C-list celeb on a TV cookery show.

Awful comes in many guises - antique, repro, post modern, pretentious, shallow. The Whole Ten Yards is honest-to-goodness crap, a rare object in Hollywood's auction house, where flattery and fashion rate highly as marketing tools.

Reviewed on: 19 Jun 2004
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Dodgy dentistry and mobster sequel.
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David Haviland *

Director: Howard Deutch

Writer: George Gallo

Starring: Bruce Willis, Matthew Perry, Amanada Peet, Natasha Henstridge, Kevin Pollak, Frank Collinson

Year: 2004

Runtime: 98 minutes

BBFC: 12A - Adult Supervision

Country: US

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