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The Whole Nine Yards (2000)
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Review Date: February 12, 2000
Director: Jonathan Lynn
Writer: Mitchell Kapner
Producers: David Willis, Allan Kaufman
Actors:
Bruce Willis
Matthew Perry
Michael Clarke Duncan
Rosanna Arquette
Amanda Peet
Natasha Henstridge
Plot:
A dentist who is unhappy with his marriage discovers his new next door neighbor to be an ex-mob contract killer and suddenly finds himself grappling with the idea of turning the man in for a finder's fee. This "simple" task is complicated further by many of the eccentric characters in the film, including the son of mob boss, who wants the ex-contract killer dead, the dentist's secretary, who is fascinated by the mafia and his own wife, who is interested in hiring a hitman of her own to kill her husband.
Critique:
Light, easy, fluffy black comedy offering a wide cast of diverse characters, an interesting premise, some laughs, some fumbles and an ending which seems to go on about three yards too long. The main reason to see this movie would be the cast, with Bruce Willis having a good time as the good-hearted mobster, Michael Clarke Duncan solid and deep-voiced-scary as the mob enforcer, Matthew Perry checking in as the jittery dude caught in the middle of all the hoopla, and Amanda Peet standing out as the excitable rookie out to conquer the world. For everyone who sees this film, I am sure that you will all have your own favorites and not-so-favorites, and the unlucky members of my own least preferred category include the two phony-accented characters played by Kevin Pollak, miscast as the mob son and Rosanna Arquette, simply annoying as the wife with the big boobs. The script was okay, with plenty of back-story to keep things interesting for most of its run, but certainly a little too convoluted for a simple comedy. At times, it felt like the writer forgot that he was writing a comedy, opting instead to create a whole bunch of twists and turns for the sake of the story, but near the end, things just seemed to run out of steam.

Comedy-wise, the film certainly contained its share of chuckles and even some laugh-out funnies, ironically managing to balance that off with just as many misses and ho-hum moments. On a personal note, it was fun for me to watch this movie take place and be shot in the city of my own residence (Montreal, Canada), so I probably enjoyed some of its Canadian sights, sounds and potshots more than would your average viewer. On the whole, the film moved along at a decent pace with plenty of characters given their own moments to shine or tank, but an award for the greatest development of characters in a movie is certainly not something that this film was out to conquer. In fact, most of its characters were pretty one-dimensional and over-the-top, but this much is to be expected from a black comedy featuring a sorted cast of goofballs hamming it up. Now why the film decided to outlast its stay by about fifteen minutes with extra plot intricacies is beyond me, but any movie that has Matthew Perry running full-speed into a glass-plate door is okay in my book. So if you're looking for a few harmless laughs, an easy night out and maybe even a couple of tit-shots from the lovely Ms. Peet, well look no further than this cheap one-night comedy stand. But if character depth, laughs-a-minute and an intriguing plot are your standard turn-ons, then I suggest you step about nine yards back and see what else is playing at your local multiplex.
(c) 2016 Berge Garabedian
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