Whole Ten Yards (2004) – movie review

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Movie Review by Neils Hesse

Starring: Bruce Willis, Matthew Perry, Amanda Peet, Kevin Pollak, Natasha Henstridge

Director: Howard Deutch

“The Tulip is Back!”

Jimmy The Tulip (Bruce Willis) is retired and presumed dead by most of the world. He was once a vicious and much feared hitman but has since gone underground and is living a very domesticated life in Mexico with his wannabe assassin wife Jill (Amanda Peet) cooking and talking to a chicken he has named Blanche. Jimmy’s old friends Oz Oseransky (Matthew Perry) and Cynthia (Natasha Henstridge) who is Jimmy’s ex-wife but is now Oz’s wife are equally living a quiet life in Los Angeles.

Alas good things never last for long as a Hungarian criminal mastermind Lazlo Gogolak (Kevin Pollak) is released from prison and is convinced that Jimmy is still alive and is responsible for the death of his son. The fun begins when Lazlo and his hapless goons kidnap Cynthia to get Oz to tell them where Jimmy is hiding. Oz panics and drives straight to Jimmy thus unwittingly leading the hoods to Jimmy and of course Jimmy is not too happy at Oz for doing this. Jimmy, Jill and Oz take off to go and save Cynthia but Jimmy seems to have turned into too much of a domesticated husband and so Jill and Oz have their doubts about whether he will be able to do what they need him to do. Meanwhile Jimmy and Jill have been having sexual problems of the male erectile nature and all these issues come full circle as the pressure to get Cynthia mounts. As everything starts to unravel it turns out that Oz has been talking to Jill and Jimmy has been talking to Cynthia but neither partner told the other that this was going on. Yes it all sounds very dodgy. Jimmy is obviously not himself as he decides to go out and get drunk but starts to cry and throws himself head first onto a table full of tequila glasses. Suffice to say that as Jimmy, Oz and Jill finally get to Cynthia everybody is in for a few shocks, as it all becomes very clear just what was actually going on.

Bruce Willis is good in his reprisal of Jimmy handling the nasty, sweet and loony side of a contract killer and enjoying taking a stab at his iconic John McClane (DIE HARD) image as he is heard screaming “Yeepii ky yeah!” as he is making love to Jill in one scene. Matthew Perry is undoubtedly a funny guy but he basically plays Chandler from FRIENDS with a wife, car and house. The supporting actresses are good but Kevin Pollak steals every scene he is in as the Old Hungarian gangster, he is the really funny element of the movie.

Despite the good performances from the ensemble cast the screenplay lets them down, as it doesn’t include enough comedy or action and the movie begins to drag even though it’s only 99 minutes long. Hence the blame for what should have been confirmation of Matthew Perry’s star status and further proof of Bruce Willis’s comic ability falls on the director for not handling this movie properly.

In conclusion the film is an average comedy with wasted talent and consequently is most appealing to die-hard fans of Bruce Willis and, of course, Matthew Perry fans. Otherwise the movie is sadly a disappointing sequel to THE WHOLE NINE YARDS.

3 out of 6 stars