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Movie Review

The Whole Nine Yards

MPAA Rating: R for some sexuality/nudity and violence

Reviewed by: Brett Willis
STAFF WRITER

Very Offensive
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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Adults
Genre:
Comedy
Length:
1 hr. 43 min.
Year of Release:
2000
USA Release:
_____
Scene from “The Whole Nine Yards”
Relevant Issues
Bruce Willis in “The Whole Nine Yards”

About murder in the Bible

Death in the Bible

Adultery in the Bible

VIOLENCE—How does viewing violence in movies affect families? Answer

Featuring: Bruce Willis, Amanda Peet, Matthew Perry, Natasha Henstridge, Michael Clarke Duncan
Director: Jonathan Lynn
Producer: Elie Samaha, Andrew Stevens
Distributor: Warner Brothers

Here’s another violent action film that uses impossible plot twists and bad taste jokes to cover up for a lack of creative writing.

Dr. Nicholas “Oz” Oseransky (Matthew Perry, TV’s “Friends”), a Montreal dentist, gets nervous when he learns that his new neighbor is a Chicago hitman, Jimmy the Tulip (Bruce Willis), who got early release from prison by ratting out his boss. Oz’s wife suggests that he report Jimmy’s whereabouts to the new mob boss and collect a finder’s fee. From there on, it’s one double-cross after another.

Profanity is extreme. There are several instances of implied sex without visible nudity; there’s non-sexual nudity when a girl deliberately exposes herself to distract some men so her partner can kill them. Some of the comedy is funny; but much of it is of the dark variety, making fun of subjects that should be left alone. Even the mob boss’s accent seems to be done badly on purpose. There’s violence, threatened violence, and several on-screen killings; the film is basically an inter-gangster fight over money and revenge. Human life is treated as cheap and expendable, and Oz (who’s caught in the middle of it all) is constantly ridiculed for his stance that no one should be killing anyone. Most of those who are killed (as well as most of those who are not killed) are mobsters and other criminals, although there’s one undercover cop involved. In the midst of this cutthroat lifestyle, a number of people find “true love.” Yeah, sure.

Michael Clarke Duncan in “The Whole Nine Yards”

When Bruce Willis made the first “Die Hard” film in 1989, he said playing an action-hero part was the fulfillment of a little-boy type dream. Since then he’s done a ton of action films; he’s been the hero, the villain and in between; and he often shows his comedy roots in action parts. I doubt that he dreamed of doing all that; he and the studios are, of course, just going with what sells. In a recent interview, Willis basically said that it’s not movies but a bad childhood environment that creates psychopaths, and I agree. However, a constant diet of this kind of film has a desensitizing effect. For a well-balanced person, that effect might be to become a little less concerned about the needs of real-life crime victims. For someone who’s already psychopathic (that is, has some degree of Antisocial Personality Disorder) but has so far been just a general nuisance, the effect might be to lower his inhibitions and help push him into his first kill. When the violence is tied to sexuality (as some in this film is), the potential dangers are even greater. As school shootings trickle down even into first grade and pressure for media regulation is mounting, some screenwriters and film execs are coming dangerously close to admitting what we all know—that there’s a connection between movie violence and the real thing.

VIOLENCE—How does viewing violence in movies affect families? Answer


Viewer Comments
This was one of the worst movies I’ve seen lately. There was absolutely no moral base in any of the characters’ lives. Murder was acceptable as was adultery. Greed was a proper motive for murdering your spouse (two different characters were trying to murder their spouses). True love happened instantly for no apparent reason other than physical attraction. Some reviewers tend to trivialize this movie. “It’s just a Hollywood comedy. No one takes this sort of thing seriously.” True enough, I suppose, but the whole experience left a sour taste in my mouth. Were such worthless, shallow characters behaving in such reprehensible ways truly entertaining? What does that say about me? My Ratings: [1/1]
—Judy Norris, age 48
“The Whole Nine Yards” is very enjoyable. I watched it with a friend of mine one afternoon for a diversion and it served that purpose admirably. Nothing is taken seriously in this movie, which leads to serious subjects being treated with tounge-in-cheek humor, but on the whole I think it was a well-done, diverting comedy. The plot itself was surprisingly complex, but the movie handled it well enough so that no one got confused. No, there were no scenes that upheld the Christian lifestyle. “Modern morality” won the day here, with people sticking with parts of the bible that allowed them to do whatever they wanted to do, and then throwing the rest away. This is a great movie to not take seriously, but to just enjoy. My Ratings: [2/4]
—Spark, age 21
enjoyable, but not perfect… This movie is no more offensive than the everyday population of the US. I agree that the obscenities are unecessary and that there are, I believe, two scenes in which the actors need to be wearing a few more clothes. The sexually suggestive moments in the movie are of the same nature of those found on broadcast television. I enjoyed the movie—especially the comic aspect, but it, like everything else, is not perfect. This is not a movie to take your children to, but it is certainly a better alternative to many that are out right now. My Ratings: [3/4]
—K. Ryan, age 23
casual murder, nudity, bad acting… If you are thinking of seeing this film, do something else, anything. The plot could have been interesting. A notorious hit man moves next door to a dentist who is nice enough, but saddled with debt and a monster for a wife. Attempts at getting a reward for “fingering” the hit man as well as several contract killings ensue. This is not a comedy. Offenses include casual sex as either partial payment for a contract killing or leading to a “lifelong” relationship (true love after about one week’s time). Casual murder of both law enforcement and friend without blood or consequences. Female frontal nudity is presented as a distraction in order to get the drop on the bad guys. The development of the plot is implausible. The acting is mediocre to bad. I kept waiting for something funny or redeeming. This is one in which I should have walked out. My Ratings: [1/1]
—Mark Dawson, age 50
“well cast; worth watching”… What drew my attention to the movie was that I saw him and two others of the cast being interviewed by Larry King, and thought it was worth checking out. What a well cast movie! I almost didn’t think it possible for Bruce Willis to do comedy. I had obviously forgotten his work in “Moonlighting”. I would have to agree that the sex scenes were off-putting and unnecessary inclusions (read “intrusions”). But—it was still good comedy—especially by Matthew Perry. It was complemented by an excellent sound track. On the whole—well worth watching. My Ratings: [3/3½]
—Michael Viljoen, age 26
“hysterical”… For adults or older teens, this is a hysterical movie. There is some profanity, a small amount of violence and a topless scene which some Christians may find objectionable. Bruce Willis plays the straight man with Matthew Perry stealing all the laughs. When Perry, a mild mannered, hen-pecked husband, discovers his new next door neighbor is a famous hit man, he just can’t keep the news secret. The plot just keeps on going with twist after twist and you can’t predict where it is going. There is no pretense the characters are believers. Keeping in mind, it’s Hollywood, this is a hysterical movie with a really tight script. My Ratings: [3/4]
—Stephanie Hanson, age 42