When the evil Lazlo Gogolak (Kevin Pollack) desires payback for the murder of
his son, he orders Cynthia Oseransky (Natasha Henstridge) kidnapped by his
goons, hoping that her husband, hapless dentist Oz (Matthew Perry), will lead
him to his ultimate goal: notorious hitman, Jimmy "The Tulip" Tudeski (Bruce
Willis). When Oz travels down to Mexico to retrieve the presumed-dead Jimmy and
fellow killer/wife, Jill (Amanda Peet), Oz gets caught up in their domestic
drama instead, which interferes with the whole "wife kidnapped and about to die"
Sure, there have been sequels that nobody asked for. But "The Whole Ten Yards" (IMDb listing) is a
sequel that literally no one asked for. A follow-up to "The Whole Nine Yards," a
medium hit (at best) from 2000, "Ten Yards" is simply more of the same. Except
this time, in place of the R-rated Amanda Peet topless scene, we get the PG-13
Amanda Peet topless scene: photographed from behind. That's 4 years of progress
The two "Yards" films are rooted in a type of frantic slapstick comedy that
always seems to spin wildly out of control, even when the jokes are working.
"Ten Yards" isn't as precisely paced as its forefather, or, frankly, as
carefully thought out. "Ten Yards" is a mess, but an honest mess, and like the
original, the cast looks like they're having a blast making it, or making it up
as they go, as seems to be the case in many scenes. "10 Yards" is the same slapsticky
material, trusting heavily in Mathew Perry's flopping abilities and Bruce
Willis' willingness to lampoon his tough guy persona. The comedy is encased in
an action film shell, with various shoot-outs and murders to go along with the
yucks. "Nine Yards" had the benefit of the R-rating, which always allows a
little more leeway in dealing with this kind of morally tricky material;
however, "Ten Yards" has been brought down to a more universally consumable
PG-13, which means that any hint of darkness in the story has been replaced by
pratfalls and fart jokes. Not an ideal trade off.
Because the cast is having so much fun, it's hard to blame them when the film
becomes almost persistently unfunny. Willis, Peet, and Perry work well together,
achieving a nice fluid triangle of interplay that only comes from workplace
comfort. Whenever the film gets into real trouble, director Howard Deutch simply
instructs Perry to careen into a door or a wall for laughs, but that was already
exhausted in the previous installment. Perry is funny here simply screwing
around with line delivery, often making fun of the other actors, which is pretty
much the only hint of originality in the picture, with everything else coasting
brazenly on previously laid charms.
Basically it all comes down to whether "Nine Yards" rubbed you raw. If it
didn't, by all means, you'll have a blast goofin' around with Jimmy and Oz for
another go-around. If it did, there's nothing here to
recommend heading another "Yard" forward.
Filmfodder Grade: D+