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Movie Review

The Whole Ten Yards

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sexual content, some violence and language

Reviewed by: Sheri McMurray
CONTRIBUTOR

Extremely Offensive
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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Teens and Adults
Genre:
Comedy, Crime, Romance, Sequel
Length:
1 hr. 39 min.
Year of Release:
2004
USA Release:
______
Copyright, Warner Bros.
Copyright, Warner Bros.
Copyright, Warner Bros.
Copyright, Warner Bros.
Copyright, Warner Bros.
Copyright, Warner Bros.
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Warner Bros.

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Featuring: Bruce Willis (The Whole Nine Yards; Tears of the Sun)
Matthew Perry (The Whole Nine Yards; Serving Sara)
Natasha Henstridge (The Whole Nine Yards; Bounce)
Amanda Peet (The Whole Nine Yards; Identity)
Kevin Pollak (The Whole Nine Yards; The Santa Clause 2)
Director: Howard Deutch (The Replacements; Grumpier Old Men; The Great Outdoors; Some Kind of Wonderful; Pretty in Pink)
Producer: Elie Samaha, Allan Kaufman, David Willis
Distributor: Warner Bros.

Read our review of “The Whole Nine Yards,” to which this film is a sequel.

Did you ever see “Arsenic and Old Lace?” The idea behind the humor was that there was a dead body in the window seat and Cary Grant discovers it and realizes his two sweet old aunts are the killers. Sounds like a macabre drama, doesn’t it? Instead we were treated to one of the best and first black comedies to come down the filmdom pike. Although the subject was grim, the actors carried it off wonderfully with subtleness. We were never made to feel uncomfortable with a very uncomfortable subject. It was a lot of fun despite the fact that a corpse lay nearby. Director Frank Capra knew not to introduce the audience to the murder victim. He had a tight story line which made us get involved with the characters, therefore we were charmed not revulsed. The era in which it was produced helped because of strict codes that were followed about the appearance of blood in a movie (none), violence (next to none), sex (none), and the fact that Capra always had a moral twist to add through his films.

Now that we’ve reviewed this bit of film lore, I will say in comparison, “The Whole Ten Yards” strikes out on all the points that made “Arsenic” click with it’s audience. Although “The Whole Ten Yards” could have been a laugher, it was a loser.

If you didn’t see the first movie “The Whole Nine Yards,” you would never be able to follow this uneven, choppy story line, at all. The first included lots of over-the-top humor and characters that played up the ridiculous plot and had a flow that kept me laughing. The cast in movie #1 were having a great time with their characters, but this is not so with this poorly done, offensive sequel.

The story begins in 1961 with two boys hitting and punching, and we are suppose to laugh at this, but I didn’t hear a peep out of the audience. Daddy, aka Mob Boss Lazlo Gogolak, gives the boys a rundown on how to fight (not be nice) and imparts to them both a half of the first dollar he ever stole. He informs them that the first to come home a “success” in the “business” with his half will inherit his fortune. Nice set up, but it eventually turns into chaos.

We then move to good old 2004 where we find wimpy dentist Oz (a tired looking Matthew Perry) enjoying his material life and material job with all his material goodies in the first scenes. He has everything in life, and we get the feeling he didn’t get it all because he was a great dentist. He lives and works in luxury because of his “payoff” at the end of the first film. Of course, you wouldn’t know this if you hadn’t seen the first film, but the script assumes you already have. He speaks to his lovely wife, Cynthia (Natasha Henstridge in an almost cameo appearance throughout the movie) about having a baby, so here we are suppose to go “ahh, ain’t that cute,” but it didn’t soften the heart.

Cut to the release from prison of our villain Lazlo Gogolak (some good moments from Kevin Pollack) and his “boys” picking him up from the joint. There is lots of smacking and hitting that just is not funny, although I got the feeling it was intended to be like the Three Stooges; it was just plain absurd.

Cut again, this time to Jimmy the Tulip (Bruce Willis doing his best to charm) in his new habitat/hideout in Mexico. Thanks to Oz in the first movie, Jimmy was able to have his dental records falsified, faked his own death, and escaped to this sunny beachfront bungalow to live in peace away from his former violent life. We find him cleaning house and perfecting his culinary skills wearing bunny slippers when his wife Jill (the best performer in this flick Amanda Peet) comes in all upset because she has just botched another “hit.” After listening to her rendition of the “job” and how it went awry Jimmy lovingly consoles his honey and promises they will go out and kill someone together, and she apparently just gets all tingly inside at the prospect (yuk).

Here is where we start losing the tightness of the storyline, and it begins to unravel. We are not taken along for what could have been a laugh-a-minute ride, but are instead bumped off and find ourselves as an audience trying to jump back on board for the rest of the movie.

Oz shows up uninvited to Jimmy and Jill’s bungalow breathlessly telling Jimmy how his wife Cynthia (who by the way is Jimmy’s ex-wife and now married to Oz) was kidnaped by the Hungarian Mob Boss Lazlo (brother of the bad guy killed off in the first movie) and needs Jill (married now to Jimmy, who used to be Oz’s dental assistant) and Jimmy to help him get her back. Jimmy commences to shoot at Oz (who is suppose to be his best friend in all the world) to get him to leave him alone, but before he can get Oz to take a hike, Lazlo shows up (after following our naive dentist from LA) with his dim-wit goons and proclaims he is going to get even with Jimmy (for knocking off his favorite son) and Oz for helping Jimmy out! If you are still with me and haven’t seen the first movie, you’re good!

The rest of this movie is nothing but failed jokes, one liners, bad slapstick, and offensive references to sex, corruption and, of course, murdering people. The script writers were, I’m sure, trying to invent a new genre called “hit-man humor.” It is done in such a way as not to be hinted at or subtle, but violent, and that is where this film goes sour. The plot is muddled and confusing.

Parents should know that there are scenes with blood and dead bodies. Characters fight, are killed, have sex, get drunk, references to two men having sex together, and a very uncomfortable scene where off camera sex is vividly portrayed using “sounds.” There were two boys sitting in front of me about the age of 11, and I felt very awkward during that scene with them there. The film also shows a half-nude female character trying to seduce a male character using gestures akin to porno—although fluffed off as a juvenile attempt—younger viewers will get the references and it is NOT suitable for them! How can we have a PG-13 rating with a movie about hired assassins let alone all the sex and violence?

I didn’t count as much offensive language as I expected. There were 2 sh*t, 2 h*ll, 2 a**hole, and one G**d***. One time was our Lord’s name taken in vain and one utterance of the awful f-word, which was just sort of “stuck” in there for effect.

The thing that got the most laughs from the younger crowd were the flatulence scenes coming from the mob boss’s mother. Poor dear, how degrading for seniors!

All in all, this movie was not only a mainstream bomb, but an awful looser for the believer. Please do not take your kids to see this one. If they happen to view it, sit down with them and have a Bible study about materialism and where that may lead. What happens to us spiritually when we put material things in place of God? Discuss as Christians how we view love and marriage and what God says about marriage vows and faithfulness to one partner for life. The obvious is the commandment of “thou shalt not kill.” Ask your kids what are the consequence of murder, the sin of deliberately taking another human life, and why God holds all human life sacred.

At the conclusion of “The Whole Ten Yards,” Oz states, “I’ve never been this confused in my whole life!” Me too. The Lazlo character gives up and laments, “just shoot me…” “The Whole Ten Yards” is an awful failure with no redeeming spiritual qualities.

Violence: Heavy / Profanity: Mild / Sex/Nudity: Heavy

Viewer Comments
Negative—From a Christian perspective, the movie should have been rated R instead of PG-13, due to partial nudity and offensive language. I wish I would have walked out and asked for my money back. I do not recommend this movie for anyone to see.
My Ratings: [Extremely Offensive/1]
—Janna Rowland, age 37
Positive—You have to take this film for what it is, ridiculous. Violence is abundant, and there is little to no respect for human life, HOWEVER, this is meant to appear ridiculous, which it does. In no way does this film actually promote this violence, rather show how ridiculous it can be. I would not recommend this for children or young teens, but adults who are mature enough to appreciate it for what it is should get a kick out of it.
My Ratings: [Very Offensive/4½]
—Kat, age 18
Movie Critics
…an annoying movie…
—Bob Townsend, Atlanta Journal-Constitution
…dumb, pointless sequel… sour and stale throughout…
—Jonathan Foreman, New York Post
…not as desperate, unfunny, and nonsensical as its title. It’s worse. Worse than you can imagine…
—Wesley Morris, Boston Globe
…a turkey…
—Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
…pay-off… almost non-existent…
—Stephen Cole, Globe and Mail