Archive for May 4, 2011

The Whole Ten Yards

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , on May 4, 2011 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Thanks to falsified dental records supplied by his former neighbor Nicholas “Oz” Ozeransky (Matthew Perry), retired hitman Jimmy “The Tulip” Tudeski (Bruce Willis) now spends his days compulsively cleaning his house and perfecting his culinary skills with his wife, Jill (Amanda Peet), a purported assassin who has yet to pull off a “clean” hit (everyone she is hired to kill dies in bizarre accidents before she can kill them). Oz, meanwhile, is now married to Jimmy’s ex-wife Cynthia and has a dental practice in California, now expecting their first child, but the relationship is complicated due to Oz’s over-excessive paranoia about security, as well as Cynthia’s secret continued contact with Jimmy (Although Oz also talks with Jill on occasion).

Their lives are further complicated by the return of Lazlo Gogolak (Kevin Pollak), a father figure of Jimmy’s who ran the mob that Jimmy was once a member of, Jimmy and Jill having killed his son Yanni while Lazlo was in prison. Having deduced that Jimmy is still alive, Lazlo abducts Cynthia and threatens Oz to try and learn Jimmy’s location, Oz only just managing to escape thanks to one of Lazlo’s henchmen accidentally shooting out a light. With no other options, Oz contacts Jimmy and Jill for assistance, but Jimmy initially refuses to help until Lazlo’s men attack the house after following Oz’s car.

Having captured Lazlo’s remaining son, Strabonitz (Strabo, for short), Jimmy tells Lazlo that he will trade Cynthia for Strabo, but the group’s attempt to check into a hotel results in Oz unintentionally triggering further conflict between Jimmy and Jill when he reveals that Jimmy still wears a crucifix Cynthia gave him. Retreating to a bar to get drunk, Jimmy becomes increasingly depressed about his apparent failure to father a child with Jill, although Oz becomes frustrated when Jimmy starts discussing his and Cynthia’s old sex life, culminating in them becoming so drunk that Oz and Jimmy wake up in the same bed (Although nothing happens).

Increasingly frustrated at her poor sex life with Jimmy, Jill attempts to seduce Oz, resulting in Jimmy walking in on them and knocking Oz out, subsequently regaining his passion for Jill and his work as the two proceed to have sex in the bathroom. While re-arming themselves at Oz’s house, the three are attacked by an unknown marksman, whose attempts to shoot them result in Strabo being killed in the crossfire, the subsequent argument causing Jill to leave in frustration at Jimmy’s insults of her capabilities and his cold dismissal of Oz. Increasingly driven to breaking point by recent events, Oz retreats to his practice, where Jimmy greets him to apologize for recent events, only for Oz’s new receptionist Julie to chloroform Oz and Jimmy, revealing that she is the sister of ‘Frankie Figgs’, out for revenge for Oz and Jimmy’s role in her brother’s death.

Waking up with Cynthia and Jimmy in Lazlo’s apartment, Oz is shocked to learn that the current situation has been part of a plan by Jimmy and Cynthia from the beginning so that Cynthia could find Lazlo’s half of the first dollar he ever stole, which he had torn in half to be divided between Jimmy and Yanni when they were kids. Just as Lazlo is preparing to kill the three of them, Jill shows up, having set up Strabo’s body so that he appears to be alive and tied up in her car, threatening to detonate explosives in her car unless Lazlo releases Oz and Cynthia. Claiming to want to join Lazlo’s organization, Jill is ordered to shoot Jimmy, finally apparently shooting Jimmy in the heart when he informs her that she’ll never be a successful hitter.

When Jill’s car detonates when Lazlo’s men go to release Strabo, it is revealed that Jill was in on the plan as well, having merely shot Jimmy with blanks. With Jules having been exposed as the shooter who killed Strabo, Lazlo shoots her, Jimmy subsequently having Jill shoot Lazlo in the foot, unable to kill the man who raised him. As the group depart, Jimmy and Cynthia reveal that the plan was set up to acquire Lazlo’s half of the dollar, the combined dollar revealing the account number for a Gogalak account containing $280 million. With Jill having revealed that she is pregnant, the four drive away.

REVIEW:

Yes, I know I’ve been slacking on my reviews here lately. Please pardon my absence, I’ve recently had a tragedy. While I am far from being back to normal, things are getting back into a routine…at least enough for me to sit down and watch The Whole Ten Yards.

In case you aren’t aware, this is the sequel to The Whole Nine Yards. Like many people, I question whether this was a film that needed to be made, as it seemed to just recycle the plot from the original, with a few changes here and there.

The film begins a little while after the previous one ended. Jimmy and Jill are living down in Mexico, where he had taught her to become a professional assassin…even if she has yet to actually kill someone, and Oz and Cynthia are living it up in L.A. All this is too good to be true as we all of a sudden get introduced to Lazlo Gogolak and the plot of the film, involving money (don’t all plots involve money one way or another?).

If you will recall from me review of the last film, I believe I said that it was hard to determine if it was a comedy or drama. Well, this one was obviously more of a comedy…and I use that term lightly.

Often times, you will notice that I say a film tries too hard to be funny. Well, this is one of those times. I applaud the filmmakers for making the effort to distinguish the comedic aspects and whatnot, but they could have done a better job with the way the jokes were written.

On top of that, Kevin Pollack’s performance was just way too over the top. There really isn’t anything wrong with being “out there”, if you will, but when you can’t take the character serious (farces/parodies are exceptions), then we have a problem, and that is exactly why this just didn’t work for me.

The returning cast from the original film seem to work, but at the same time, they seemed to not be as into it this time. I won’t g so far as to say they just showed up to collect a check, because they did seem to be trying, but the chemistry seemed to have been skewered somehow.

Maybe this was die to the killing of Michael Clarke Duncan’s character at the end of the first one or perhaps it all goes back to Pollack’s over the top caricature performance. Who knows?

As I said earlier, the story was rehash of the first film. You can make the argument about “if it ain’t broke, don’t fx it”, but if you’ll recall, it didn’t work too well the first time, so why not try something new? I must be missing something.

After all is said and done, I can say that despite my complaints, The Whole Ten Yards is funnier than its predecessor, but suffers in terms of filmmaking. If you could take the best parts of the two films and put them together, then we’d have a really good …Yards picture. Unfortunately, we don’t have that luxury and this is what we’re stuck with. Should you see this? It wouldn’t hurt. As a matter of fact, you may even crack a smile or two. As long as you’re not expecting anything Oscar-worthy, then I say go for it. For me, I’ve seen it once, and that may be enough for me.

2 1/2 out of 5 stars

Advertisements