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Overall Rating

Awesome: 10.07%
Worth A Look: 28.78%
Pretty Bad: 13.67%
Total Crap: 6.47%

13 reviews, 61 user ratings

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Whole Nine Yards, The
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by Greg Muskewitz

"At least the players are all on key."
3 stars

The Whole Nine Yards is an extraneous comedy set to the tone of being supposedly “mobbingly funny” (though let me assure you, it doesn’t touch Analyze This nor Mickey Blue Eyes).

There were certain times when you would watch Siskel & Ebert and when they would get to a particular movie that they were mentally spilt on, and you could tell they wish they had a sort of marginal thumb so as not to really push it too far towards a recommendation, or lack thereof. Well that’s where I find myself with the new goofball, and maybe even sophomoric comedy The Whole Nine Yards. I find myself split in this case because I found myself on more than just a few occasions laughing out loud (lines like: “I had no choice but to go cahooting with them!”), but still would see it get itself stuck in a rut more times than I am comfortable with.

The Whole Nine Yards is an extraneous comedy set to the tone of being supposedly “mobbingly funny” (though let me assure you, it doesn’t touch Analyze This nor Mickey Blue Eyes). Matthew Perry is Nicholas Oseransky, or to friends Oz, a harmless, maybe even impassive dentist in Montreal, Canada. He’s married to a wench of a French woman (Rosanna Arquette) and when their new next door neighbor turns out to be Jimmy “The Tulip” Tudeski (Bruce Willis), a hit man on the hide out from Chicago, she sends Oz to the states to cash in on his bounty and whereabouts. Problem is, Jimmy likes Oz, and Oz is freaked out of Jimmy (he jumps when his pager vibrates). But since he hates his wife so much (how did they end up together anyway?) Oz plans to blow it off and hang out in the Windy State until the bear-like Frankie Figs (Michael Clarke Duncan, fresh off Death Row in The Green Mile) a hit man looking for Jimmy, interferes. And then it gets complicated. It turns out that in order to get $10 million that they’ve jointly be benefacted, the other gangster (Kevin Pollack), Jimmy, and his wife Cynthia (Natasha Henstridge) must all go in for it at the same time –or have a death certificate for those person(s) dead. Trouble is, everyone is trying to eliminate each other except for Cynthia who just wants a divorce. The complications peak, and more trouble ensues when Oz’s wife hires a hit man to kill him (“I’m worth more dead then alive!”).

The Whole Nine Yards is basically a stupid comedy that gets a bad rap for its fatuousness. It’s so silly and inane the way they set up and deal with the situations. The screenplay by Mitchell Kapner actually has some clever developments and transitions, but the movie relies too heavily on one-liners and sight gags (he’s a dentist: think teeth). It took the time to carefully set up clever pratfalls and was filled with a constant mix of physical humor (Perry slamming into Duncan when he finds Willis in his room is pure textbook but easily gains adequate snorts and guffaws). Sure, the scene where everyone is quietly hiding for fear of being shot and Perry farts because he’s so nervous is funny, but the typical antics of the gags run short. Director Jonathan Lynn (My Cousin Vinny, Trial & Error) gives his movie too much of a manufactured, squeaky clean and bubble-packed look. It’s too much of a half effort to consider it as a serious (not “ha ha” serious) comedy. When Lynn is able to cultivate certain spectacular moments, he uses the goofy humor to undermine it. The movie was passable (only 104 minutes), I mean, I didn’t mind sitting through it, but it isn’t easily recommendable. The leads, Willis and Perry were always on key. As I noted when I saw Willis in Breakfast of Champions, I admire the versatility he’s beginning to take aside from the machismo typecast he was beginning to set as a norm for himself. As he showed in Moonlighting, Willis very ably handles comedy, and when Lynn isn’t having him go too over the top, Willis is quite entertaining. Perry apparently seems to be the audience favorite, and as he showed opposite Neve Campbell in Three To Tango, he’s made a good transition to motion pictures. But the main complaint with Perry is the similarity to his hugely popular character Chandler on TV’s Friends. In The Whole Nine Yards, although he does maybe his most physical role to date, he still has that Chandler attitude he’s used repeatedly, and personally, it would be of interest. And the supporters also make up for pangs of banality. Duncan has his funniest role to date, and immediately following Armageddon he became a favorite of mine. He does not let down here. Henstridge, looking more and more like the younger more attractive Kim Basinger really doesn’t serve to display a showcase of talent, but her plastic-y façade make a worthwhile distraction. And relatively newcomer Amanda Peet (a reasonable substitute for Neve Campbell) helps demur any pain.

Final Verdict: C+

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originally posted: 02/19/00 15:31:39
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User Comments

9/22/17 morris campbell fun if slight 3 stars
12/29/09 Dane Youssef A fun lightweight dark comedy from John Lynn. The cast deserves a whole Oscar. 4 stars
12/19/09 Jeff Wilder Lightweight yet fun. 3 stars
7/29/09 the dork knight It doesn't get funnier if Chandler slams into walls 500 times. I liked Arquette and Peet. 2 stars
12/15/07 Pamela White Bruce makes a better hitman than comedian but Perry keeps the laughs coming 4 stars
10/16/06 Charles Tatum Perry tries, some laughs and Peet's boobs save it 3 stars
8/25/05 ES I occassionally like mayo on my burger and fries 2 stars
6/05/05 Ubu the Ripper OK if you have nothing else to do and no one to do it with. 3 stars
4/24/05 DM Enjoyable, well-acted, goofy fluff 4 stars
3/11/05 Jeff Anderson Pretty funny & Peet is a STANDOUT! David Franco's ugly lensing of Montreal is poor, though! 3 stars
3/10/05 Fake Name Here Funny fluff, Arquette weirdly hysterical 4 stars
8/12/04 DJ ROXORZ JOO 5 stars
7/11/04 gag started off well....then turned down right ludicrous. fuck the dick head director 1 stars
4/24/04 J An entertaining movie! *** 4 stars
4/12/04 R.W. Welch Mildly amusing mob comedy, good turn by Willis. 3 stars
10/19/03 Curious George very good 5 stars
10/17/03 Josh Standlee Bruce Willis and Matthew Perry are a perfect combination! It's one hell of a funny movie! 5 stars
10/09/03 Tomo very good movie 5 stars
8/06/03 Kamie Hey i liked it, im lookin forward to the second one 4 stars
5/27/03 JoeSco Better than a Perry film should be and Natasha and Amanda are hot 4 stars
4/17/03 Andrew Carden Henstridge and Peet Provide Sex Appeal...but The Film Is Rarely Funny and Overlong. 2 stars
10/20/02 Paul Amanda Peet holding a gun, naked, is definately worth a look 4 stars
5/18/02 Dark Barřn Perry, drop the Chandler jokes already. Everything else was fine. 4 stars
4/01/02 Jim Chandler Bing meets the Sopranos; dumb cops steal the movie at the end 4 stars
2/20/02 Xaver The plot is quite clever. Loved the comedy. 4 stars
12/29/01 Doug Very funny. 5 stars
10/31/01 Casey GREAT MOVIE, i think i saw it about 20 times, Matthew Perry is the hottest man alive! 5 stars
10/30/01 Mr. Hat (formerly Joe Zappa) Bruce Willis is pretty cool, Matthew Perry's funny, and Amanda Peet's hot. 3 stars
10/06/01 The $1.98 Pyramid Good. 3 stars
8/06/01 badfish Gotta love Brucie Baby! 5 stars
7/06/01 Roy Smith Mathew Perry is useless but Willis is a pro. 4 stars
5/05/01 The Chosen One Perry's a fuck up, but Peet makes it worth it 4 stars
2/19/01 Katie Excellent 5 stars
2/19/01 Phil M. Afficianado TheAngryJew's review is right on. It brightened a night on the road in a cheap motel room. 4 stars
2/19/01 Nic Saw it once - Would almost for sure never see it again. 3 stars
2/19/01 nicky the whole nine yards is awesome and matthew perry is so sexy 5 stars
1/10/01 Redbird The presence of Rosanna Arquette and Amanda Peete are enough to make this movie watchable 4 stars
10/22/00 Gremlin Well, I thought it was funny. 5 stars
10/02/00 Trina I like anything with WIllis in it 4 stars
9/06/00 Melis disappointing 3 stars
8/08/00 scott It was a real turd....but the tits were nice. 2 stars
7/25/00 Monday Morning There are more laughs in any average TV sitcom. Very disappointing. 2 stars
7/24/00 The Bomb 69 few laughs, a VERY average movie 3 stars
4/11/00 Ernie Levesque Leave your morals behind and sit back and enjoy! 4 stars
4/04/00 Belinda A video job if that! 2 stars
4/02/00 LucyB Fun Movie. Some Hillarious scenes.Credit goes to Mathew for all the best parts. 4 stars
3/31/00 Bruce A comedy right? So where are the laughs? 2 stars
3/16/00 Debra Worst movie I've seen in years. Dull, dull, dull !!!! 1 stars
3/14/00 Efman Fluffy first date flick... whats with the graphic killings?? 4 stars
3/08/00 Tom Burg the only reason you would think it's funny is because the ads told you it was 1 stars
3/03/00 Jackie Hilarious!!! Bruce & Matthew are brilliant! 5 stars
3/02/00 Sherry It was hilarious! 5 stars
2/29/00 Rachem A renter if I ever saw one. 3 stars
2/29/00 Zaw Oo Good ending. 5 stars
2/27/00 Jason Kallelis Great movie! Go see it. 4 stars
2/26/00 Poetcdh Funny film 4 stars
2/25/00 Allan Highly entertaining. Loved hating Rosana Arquette. 5 stars
2/21/00 Lindsay Alright. 3 stars
2/21/00 voyant bruce willis should play hitmen more often 4 stars
2/16/00 Andi very funny...not disappointing 3 stars
2/16/00 Amy wait for the video 3 stars
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