The Whole Nine Yards Movie Review

Let the record state that I expected the worst from The Whole Nine Yards. February release date, the girl from Species (all right, so that was the good part), Bruce Willis (again) attempting comedy. As a Magic Eight Ball would tell us, "outlook not so good."

Let the record also state that, while watching a bad movie, I either carry a scribble pad or make mental notes of possible pot shots that I can shoot off at the movie in my review. Since I am afforded no "possible insult" rating system, I translate the pot shots into stars. For about every ten easy insults a film gives me, I subtract a star from its rating (barring Airplane!, which is designed to cooperate with the pot shot system and thus is immune to its barbs). The Whole Nine Yards gave me thirteen pot shots. Rounding, we get our current star rating.

The Whole Nine Yards, like 1997's Grosse Pointe Blank, is the tale of hit men (and, in Whole Nine Yards, women) in love. To give you the quick version of as Byzantine of a plot as I have witnessed in a popcorn film in a long time, Nick "Oz" Ozeransky (Perry) is worth more dead than alive. This fact, combined with the fact that his wife (Arquette) is pretty much el puta anyways, prompts her to attempt to hire a contact killer. Her first attempt declines the offer. Her second attempt is the new next-door neighbor, Jimmy the Tulip Tudeski (Willis). There's only one slight problem... Willis has become a fast friend of Oz's.

Sadly, due to money problems, Nick's wife has sent him off to Chicago to rat Jimmy to Yanni Gogolack (Kevin Pollak), a gangster of Hungarian heritage that never is able to get his j's or v's yust right. While in Chicago, Nick meets and becomes smitten with Jimmy's wife, Cynthia (Henstridge). Sadly, Yanni has decided to enlist the help of Frankie (Michael Duncan) to get rid of Jimmy. Oh, yeah, any Nick's secretary (Amanda Peet) wants to be a hit woman, too. And all of this is only the first act of the film.

The Whole Nine Yards ends up being both effortlessly funny, effortlessly hip, and, surprisingly, effortlessly romantic... it is perhaps the oddest Valentine's Day movie to go watch. Jonathan Lynn, who handled he aloof but funny dark comedy Clue, manages to provide an incredibly tight direction for a crime comedy. Insofar as any comedy can be truly suspenseful, The Whole Nine Yards is. Not grading on the same curve, The Whole Nine Yards still manages to be mysterious.

The film ends up being an incredibly guilty pleasure not only because of that fact that it is a dark comedy (and we all know that we shouldn't laugh at someone getting shot, but such is often the case), but also because of the fact that the film ends up being incredibly sexy. Amanda Peet, in particular, plays the sexy hit-woman intern and, in one scene where she sticks her naked torso out of the window, we see that her character's persona isn't the only thing to get perky.

Aside from the aforementioned easy insult scale, I have to subtract points from this film for two reasons: Harland Williams and Rosanna Arquette. Harland Williams has about five to ten minutes of screen time, and annoys you for every second that he's on. Rosanna Arquette would be wonderful as the annoying wife if she didn't play the part a little too well. Also, the film borrows a little too much from its predecessors (i.e. Grosse Pointe Blank), and seems to be desperate to be hip although it already obviously is.

Still, this is the true movie for Valentine's Day. Forget the fact that said day will be 11 days in the past when The Whole Nine Yards hits theatres... it's still worth making a date of.

Open wide.


The Whole Nine Yards Rating

" Good "

Rating: R, 2000


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