This week, I thought I had the choice of "Boiler Room," with Fuck-you Boy Ben Affleck, or "Hanging Up" with Fuck-you Girl Nora Ephron, or "The Whole Nine Yards." The choice was taken away from me, though, by Mrs. Filthy. She decided we had to go see the hot tub her cousin Gertle won at bingo. So, we drove four fucking hours to Nebraska and slept in Gertle's miserably cold, wind-whipped mobile home, just so we could sit in the new hot tub for one hour until its pump broke. Then we spent another half-hour trying to haul Gertle out of it. In Buttfuck, Nebraska, there is only one theater, and that one theater was showing "The Whole Nine Yards." Once a night at 9:15 p.m., and a cop makes sure you leave the theater when the movie's over, and the popcorn-maker was busted so they gave us that shit from the five pound bags you buy at Costco.
Jesus Fucking Christ, am I ever sorry I saw "The Whole Nine Yards." This is a terrible movie. Just shamefully bad, in every facet except the tit-exposing facet. I have a theory that amateur movie scripts are like sperm and Hollywood is a big fertile egg. Thousands of shitty little scripts written in community college classes by morons aping the bad movies they like bombard Hollywood every minute of every day. Eventually, one of these scripts gets through. Conception. And nine months later, a whiny little movie is born into a world that doesn't want it.
Matthew Perry is a charmless dentist who learns that his next door neighbor is former Chicago contract killer Bruce Willis, who is trying to hide from the mob. Perry is scared shitless because of Willis's reputation as a cold-blooded killer, but still he immediately befriends him and tells him his life story. Meanwhile, his secretary played by Amanda Peet, who looks like a poor-man's Denise Richards (who looks like a poor man's inflatable sex doll), wants him to divorce his nasty wife, played by either a big salty slab of sun-dried ham or Rosanna Arquette. I can't remember.
Soon, Arquette talks Perry into ratting Willis out to the Chicago mob in order to earn a "bounty" that will pay off her father's debt. While in Chicago to rat out Willis, Perry falls in love with the killer's estranged wife, Natasha Henstridge. Becaquse of a hidden booty of money, she wants Willis dead. Willis wants her dead. Arquette wants Perry dead. Kevin Pollak, the mob boss, wants Henstridge and Willis dead, and the audience wonders why the fuck this comedy has to be so convoluted and over-plotted. Willis learns that Peet is an aspiring contract killer and they fall in love, while Henstridge and Perry have the chemistry of ice mixing with stone.
Despite the overplotting, the movie plods along like a fat kid in moonboots through several awkward and arbitrary scenes. The screenwriter, Mitch Kapner, also does what every bad screenwriter does: He actually thinks we give a shit about the lame characters he wrote, and he junks the whole comedy idea for the last forty minutes. There are no laughs, just the tedious and schmaltzy conclusions to the multitude of uninteresting plots.
Actually, Kapner doesn't know funny. He's just aping mob shit he's seen before. And like an angry ape in the zoo, he flings shit at the wall to see what sticks. Half of the scenes occur in locations that have nothing to do with the plot. the plot. Willis and Perry eating hamburgers and drinking wine in a hot jazz club? What the fuck?
My bet is that Kapner was the guy in his community college class who kept insisting he was going to write a comedy, and the other students kept thinking, "But you're not funny." He has Perry fart in the middle of a scene where everyone is supposed to be quiet. Perry spits out beverages many times, vomits once, and falls down several more times. What's the matter, Kapner? Diarrhea not part of your oeuvre yet? The gags aren't funny once, and they quickly get tedious. They reveal how utterly jokeless this sloppy mess is.
What's worse is Kapner's insistence that every character repeat everything at least twice. It's not like the movie wasn't talky enough, but I guess Kapner wanted us to be sure and understand that he's as subtle as an icepick to the skull by repeating every plot point. There were no retarded mules in the audience when I saw "The Whole Nine Yards," so maybe Kapner shouldn't have written it at their level.
The movie takes place in Montreal and I have no fucking clue why. There is no good reason to put anything but French Canadians in Montreal. And yet, this movie makes a specific point of saying it takes place there, and then doing nothing special with that fact. That is, unless Director Jonathan Lynn thought the running gag about how Quebecers put mayonnaise on their hamburgers was just too hilarious to pass up.
Matthew Perry is ugly. Jesus Christ, his face looks like someone bashed him with a frying pan and then added a double chin. And the poor sap can't act. I don't know what the hell he's doing here, but it's not acting. It's more like some sort of exercise in seeing how big he can make his eyes. Bruce Willis sort of sleeps through the whole mess. Never has any one individual maintained a smug smirk for longer than he does here. And that's all he does.
Rosanna Arquette's performance suggests that maybe her sister isn't completely to blame for being s shitty actress. It runs in the family. Rosanna Arquette affects the worst French accent since I saw Candy Bottoms in "Anal French Maid," and she acts like she is in another movie, performing against a blue screen that they will later add animated household appliances into. She must be trying to hide the fact that her character is a shrill harpy with nothing else to do in this film but act bitchy. Kevin Pollak covers up has nothing to do but mispronounce words, to unfunny affect. Actually, if you think a guy rubbing his eyebrow, talking painfully slow and deleting W's is funny, then go plunk your money down on this dog right now. This is the sort of performance that will give you nightmares, I swear to God. Amanda Peet is a little more successful with her character because it's the only one that's more interesting than a bloody nose. Plus, she gives us an extended view of her tits. Natasha Henstridge is neither good nor bad, she's just wooden and uninteresting. But think about this: what kind of movie would hire Natasha Henstridge to be a serious actress and not even show her tits? Answer: a really fucking bad movie.
As bad as the acting is, though, it's no match for the flatness the director achieves, he can't even get the timing on the obvious gags right. While the jokes written by Kapner are bad, it's almost impossible to pick them out. Director Lynn doesn't even try, or if he does, he's a fucking idiot. Perry's character is inconsistent from scene to scene. In the beginning, the movie makes a big point of showing how anal he is, how he carefully buckles his seat belt. Then, for the rest of the movie, he just jumps in cars and doesn't bother with seatbelts, nor does he appear to be fastidious at all. Good work, boys. In addition, the plot turns on the assumption that Perry is such a great guy that everyone likes him. And yet, he has no problem with murder, lying, drinking too much, being a big pussy, whining and vomiting. Oh, yeah, he's as lovable as the guy at Mrs. Filthy's Tupperware party who got drunk, announced he was gay, passed out on top of everyone's coats on the bed, then proceeded to urinate through all of them. What a lovable lug!
If Warner Brothers had any balls at all, they'd have admitted they fucked up and sent this straight to video. But they don't, and once again, they are more than willing to fuck us out of our hard earned dollars. One finger for this mess.
©2002 by Randy Shandis Enterprises. All fucking rights reserved.
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