2000; Rated R; 100 Minutes
Bruce Willis: Jimmy "The Tulip" Tudeski
Matthew Perry: Nicholas "Oz" Oseransky
Rosanna Arquette: Sophie Oseransky
Michael Clarke Duncan: Frankie Figs
Natasha Henstridge: Cynthia Tudeski
Produced by Don Carmody, Mike Drake, Stephen J. Eads,
James A. Holt, Allan Kaufman, Elie Samaha, Tracee Stanley,
Andrew Stevens and David Willis; Directed by Jonathan
Lynn; Screenwritten by Mitchell Kapner
by DAVID KEYES
Whole Nine Yards" is a movie so stunningly bad and so incredibly
inept that, for a brief while, I debated whether or not
the film actually deserved a review from me. Shortly after
that question entered my mind, the movie entered #1 at the
domestic box office, thus providing a purpose of putting
my own two cents in on this mess. A late warning is, I guess,
better than none at all.
even more disheartening is the continuing success of the
picture; while it tramples the box office competitors, great
and important works like "Magnolia" and "Wonder Boys" are
disappearing from the list almost as soon as they are introduced.
How sad that decent moviegoers are missing films that actually
have something to say and are flocking to those that merely
have something to mock.
movie is cheaply realized, contrived using material so familiar
that we could almost read between the lines of the screenplay.
In the story, we meet Jimmy "The Tulip" Tudeski (Bruce Willis),
a professional hit man who has moved into a remote neighborhood
in Montreal after turning state's evidence against his crime
family in Chicago. Tudeski is in hiding to save his own
life from his mob boss, as it seems, but his neighbor Nicholas
"Oz" Oseransky (Matthew Perry) knows more than he should.
You see, Oseransky is a dentist who once worked in Chicago,
and thus recognizes his neighbor from that time.
big twists are put into motion by Oz, who is encouraged
by his wife to go to Chicago and inform Tudeski's former
boss of his whereabouts. As is the case with most mobster
movies featuring a wisecracking hit-man and a complete moron
(remember "Mickey Blue Eyes?"), this event unleashes a slew
of complex developments, in which characters put out vendettas
on others, change sides, run amok and constantly find themselves
in hot water. But each and every quip is completely obvious;
sometimes certain characters get themselves into situations
so foreseeable that, instead of chuckling, we feel like
the characters themselves are undeserving of the talented
cast they have acquired. Rosanna Arquette's Sophie Oseransky,
Oz's wife, is the most infuriating; she's a fine actress,
with more than a couple of respectable movies under her
belt. But the plot demands that the character she is portraying
has an accent, a French Canadian one that, for some reason
or another, sounds vaguely German. Her tone is so bad that
it makes Madonna's British lingo in "The Next Best Thing"
seem all the more appealing.
only thing worse than the jokes and the characters is how
badly packaged the premise is--at one point all seems like
a slapstick comedy, at another there is a sense of noir
in play. Anyone with half a brain knows that each approach
needs its own set of guidelines (noir, for instance, needs
an involving story that is not so easily comprehended on
a surface level), and virtually no movie can combine the
two successfully. Which one works better here? I'd say the
comedy, simply because the story has the obvious clarity
of general comedies. But don't take that as evidence that
one will find something to laugh about here. In the dictionary
under the term "horrible," I'd put one of the press photos
for this movie.
unfunny, predictable, corny--words like these and worse
are the only ones that can fittingly describe the mess that
is "The Whole Nine Yards." Who in their right mind would
pay money to see this atrocity? The same people who laughed
at "Analyze This," I gather. That movie, too, was an insipid
comedy which used professional crime-doers as the source
of inspiration; unfortunately, not even the competent dialogue
sessions have translated well between the films. Whereas
the former contained one or two smiles, "The Whole Nine
Yards" is stupid from beginning to end, without one single
moment standing out from the others. A shame it is to see
a great ensemble cast get mixed up in a movie that deserves
to be thrown nine yards down a football field.
David Keyes, Cinemaphile.org.
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