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IN SHORT: For da boys.
Three out of four ex-girlfriends would have sent murderous stares my way after watching The Whole Nine Yards, to which I would have calmly replied, "Hey, I sit through Ralph Fiennes flix for you . . ." (you can figure out who the RF equivalent was fifteen years back. My brain doesn't work that good).
At least, at the screening I attended, all the laughter came from the guys. All the bewildered looks, on the way out, came from the ladies. For this flick is a another sort of comedic spin off a mob movie genre, with Bruce Willis parading that sort of smirk that passes for a smile when he tries to be funny. Don't mistake me, he is funny . . . in a sort of straight man way opposite co-star Matthew Perry (of teevee's Friends), who pratfalls and double-takes his way through all the best gags.
Make no mistake, this is a funny movie in which almost every character wants another character dead. Sometimes more than one. Everyone, that is, except for Perry, who spends most of his time trying to figure out how to keep the killing from happening. Without giving too much of a convoluted story away, these are the players:
Jimmy Jones aka Jimmy "The Tulip" Tudeski (Willis), a contract killer who has just settled into a suburban Montreal home. Tudeski is on the run from Chicago mob boss Janni Gogolak (Kevin Pollak), Gogolak's enforcer Frankie Figs (Michael Clarke Duncan). His neighbor is a Chicago born dentist, Nicholas "Oz" Oseransky (Perry) and his Canadien born wife Sophie (Rosanna Arquette). Sophie is, to be kind, a bitch who won't give her husband a divorce until she bleeds him dry.
Oz recognizes the hitman. The wife packs him off to Chicago to find the mobster and arrange a "finder's fee" for turning The Tulip over. Oz has no intention of tracking down Gogolak but, through circumstances unknown, Gogolak finds him.
Which brings us to The Tulip's unhappy not-ex Cynthia (Natasha Henstridge), a permanent "guest" on the Gogolak estate. Cynthia is considered disposable by both her host and her hubby because, and you know it always comes down to the money, at stake is a bank account with $10 millions in it. Finally, there's Oz' cute and perky receptionist Jill (Amanda Peet) whose character offers the biggest, and funniest, surprise of the bunch.
The Whole Nine Yards is like a kitchen sink of what's been funny before. There are the occasional fart and other bodily function gags; a frenetic pace and judicious nudity; some horrible accents (especially Arquette, though her exaggeration may be part of the joke); some big surprises from the characters -- who they really are and why they do what they do. It is an in one ear and out the other, simple comedy. Matthew Perry's pratfalls hold it all together and, as I wrote up top, make it work for us guys.
On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Eight Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to The Whole Nine Yards, he would have paid...
Dateflick. The Whole Nine Yards is Fairly Painless in the theater and a sure winner for beer bashes, when it hits vid.
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