The Whole Ten Yards

2004, Movie, PG-13, 97 mins

Review

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A dismal sequel to the second-rate WHOLE NINE YARDS (2000), a slow-moving dark comedy about the misadventures of a nervous dentist and the notorious hit man with whom he strikes up an unlikely and dangerous friendship. Chicago-born Dr. "Oz" Oseransky (Matthew Perry) has set up housekeeping in Los Angeles, Calif., with his beautiful wife, Cynthia (Natasha Henstridge), who used to be married to Oz's old neighbor, professional killer Jimmy "the Tulip" Tudeski (Bruce Willis). Jimmy, whom everyone believes is dead, now lives in Mexico with his new wife, Jill (Amanda Peet), who was Oz's receptionist until she decided she wanted to be a contract killer like Jimmy. More high-strung than ever after his near-fatal run-ins with Jimmy's mortal enemies, members of a vicious Hungarian crime family named Gogolak, Oz has fortified his suburban home with an array of gates, alarms and security cameras that annoy the hell out of the newly pregnant Cynthia. And all his precautions prove useless when malapropism-prone Laszlo Gogolak (Kevin Pollack, under an unconvincing skin of old-age makeup), the family patriarch, is released from a Chicago prison and comes looking for vengeance against Jimmy, who killed Laszlo's psychotic son Yanni (played by Pollack in the first film). Laszlo figures the fastest way to find Jimmy is through Oz, and has his slack-jawed son Strabo (Frank Collison) kidnap Cynthia to make sure Oz plays ball. But Oz instead recruits Jimmy's grudging help, setting the stage for a series of painfully attenuated slapstick betrayals and counter-betrayals. In all fairness, there's some clever dialogue floating in this distasteful mess of darkly comic gags about murder and sexual dysfunction (note to screenwriters: It's not black comedy if it isn't funny), but they're trumped by coarse jokes involving flatulent old ladies and dead chickens. What really sinks the film, though, is the utter absence of chemistry between Perry and Willis. They're supposed to be unlikely friends, but there's nothing remotely resembling warmth or camaraderie between them; they're just two actors going through the motions en route to picking up a paycheck. leave a comment --Maitland McDonagh

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