The Whole Ten Yards

The Whole Ten Yards

2004, PG-13, 99 min. Directed by Howard Deutch. Starring Bruce Willis, Matthew Perry, Amanda Peet, Kevin Pollak, Natasha Henstridge, Frank Collison.

REVIEWED By Marrit Ingman, Fri., April 9, 2004

The Whole Ten Years is more like it – that’s how torpid this sequel to 2000’s hitman farce The Whole Nine Yards is. But the previous film doubled its budget, so here we are. The original creative team bows to screenwriter George Gallo, a Hollywood journeyman whose debut with Midnight Run deteriorated into buddy crap like See Spot Run and Double Take, and Deutch (Getting Even With Dad) is at the helm. You don’t expect a sophisticated parlor comedy with those credentials. Here’s what you’ll get: As reformed hitman and aspiring father Jimmy "the Tulip" Tudeski, Willis moans drunkenly about his defective semen and cries like a tubercular old woman. Fussbudget dentist Perry yammers cutely and trips over the ottoman. Peet, a trigger-fingered would-be hitwoman, whines and bickers with new hubby Jimmy. Henstridge, having been kidnapped, sits around with a 108-year-old Romanian matriarch whose rat-a-tat flatulence brings down the house. Pollak seems to be enjoying himself as a crime boss who looks like a cross between Liberace and Menachem Begin, spewing malapropisms (some of which are inconsistent with others) and being heralded by kooky klezmer riffs in the score. That’s fine, I guess. But what in the shit is this movie about? It flounders around as a byzantine yet boring chase story for its first half. Then as it’s finally gaining momentum in the third act, the whole affair shifts gears into a caper flick – at which point it’s too late to care. And it has problems with tone; Deutch – the quintessential family-film man – doesn’t seem to trust the material as black comedy, so we end up with a kute ’n’ kuddly odd-couple comedy in which the principals are constantly pointing guns at each other and growling out dialogue like "If you ever grab me like that again I’ll put a knife in your face." There’s not enough menace to authenticate these statements. Are they supposed to be funny? It’s hard to say what the filmmakers’ intent is. The characters all feel like concoctions, like synthetic movie people forged in a crucible of Red Bull during late-night meetings at the studio compound. It’s hard to care about whether they get chloroformed or shot or farted on by elderly widows.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Howard Deutch Films
My Best Friend's Girl
Dane Cook stars in this rom-com about a serial womanizer who accidentally falls in love with his best friend’s girl.

Josh Rosenblatt, Sept. 26, 2008

Pretty in Pink
...

Marjorie Baumgarten, Aug. 15, 2001

More by Marrit Ingman
Wonder Stories
Wonder Stories
Books

July 25, 2008

King Corn
The film’s light hand, appealing style, and simple exposition make it an eminently watchable inquiry into the politics of food, public health, and the reasons why corn has become an ingredient in virtually everything we eat.

Nov. 9, 2007

KEYWORDS FOR THIS FILM

The Whole Ten Yards, Howard Deutch, Bruce Willis, Matthew Perry, Amanda Peet, Kevin Pollak, Natasha Henstridge, Frank Collison

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle