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The Whole Ten Yards
2004 - PG-13 - 99 Mins.
Director: Howard Deutch
Producer: Eli Samaha, Allan Kaufman
Written By: George Gallo, Mitchell Kapner
Starring: Bruce Willis, Matthew Perry, Amanda Peet, Natasha Henstridge, Kevin Pollak
Review by: Joe Rickey

Bruce Willis practicing for the upcoming 'Die Hard' sequel.
Prior to the original release date of ‘The Whole Ten Yards’ back in December, many were skeptical as to its quality. Was there really any demand for a sequel to a film that really didn’t light up the box office and received mixed word-of-mouth in the first place? The consensus on ‘The Whole Nine Yards’ was that it was sporadically funny but nothing to write home about. So the December release date approached for the belated sequel and the marketing was just atrocious. It made the film appear to be an unwatchable mess with a jumbled feel to the trailer that failed to describe much of the plot in anything resembling a coherent manner. Warner Brothers picked up on this eventually and pulled the film from the mid-December release date; similar to the release date of ‘Analyze That’ another Warner sequel that no one demanded in the first place. Warner moved the film to Easter Weekend, when it basically had the date to itself at the time. Rather quickly the date began filling up with such films as the constantly moved ‘The Girl Next Door’ and ‘The Alamo.’ In all five films opened. Could ‘The Whole Ten Yards’ distinguish itself from the others and perform decently at the box office? Also, would the film itself be any good?

The film’s plot details the further adventures of uptight dentist Oz (Matthew Perry) and how his wife (Natasha Henstridge) being kidnapped by Hungarian Mobsters gets his old friend “Jimmy the Tulip” (Bruce Willis), a contract killer, involved in her rescue along with his rambunctious girlfriend (Amanda Peet). Howard Deutch (‘Grumpier Old Men’) helms the film.

There’s no question that the best asset of ‘The Whole Ten Yards’ is the chemistry between its cast members. Bruce Willis has a knack for developing solid chemistry with his costars in and this film is no different. His exchanges with Matthew Perry are often quite funny not to mention that he and on-screen couple Amanda Peet are simply great fun to watch when they interact. Willis also makes his character’s abrupt shift from a tough-talking mobster to a house cleaning male version of Martha Stewart far more bearable than it had any right to be. This portion looked like a sorely pathetic gag in the ads but when one watches the film in its entirety it actually comes off as humorous and self-deprecating on the part of Willis.

The rest of the cast also fares well. Perry manages to get many laughs out of his character’s overly paranoid personality; even wringing laughs out of situations in which the writing is sub-par to say the least. Peet is her spunky self; bringing charm and an air of experienced sexuality to her role. Henstridge is fine but left with little screen time. As the father of Hungarian mobster from the original film, Kevin Pollak obviously is enjoying himself playing the quirky gangster and it shows in the final product.

The film, however, lacks a fresh plot and attempts to survive on the characters alone. The plot is tired and cliché; having been done countless times before. There are a few attempts at plot twists but they either come across as overly contrived or overly predictable. The film also lags near its conclusion as it gets bogged down in trite exposition.

Overall though, ‘The Whole Ten Yards’ is, much like ‘The Whole Nine Yards’ before it, sporadically funny; and maybe just because of the characters and the performances of the actors portraying them, worth seeing.

Movie Guru Rating
Average but solid.  Fans of this genre will probably enjoy it.  Others may not. Average but solid.  Fans of this genre will probably enjoy it.  Others may not. Average but solid.  Fans of this genre will probably enjoy it.  Others may not.
  3 out of 5 stars

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