The Whole Nine Yards


Directed by: Jonathan Lynn
Written by:Mitchell Kapner
Starring: Bruce Willis, Matthew Perry, Rosanna Arquette, Michael Clarke Duncan, Natasha Henstridge, Kevin Pollak
Released: March 30, 2000
Grade: C+

The Whole Nine Yards is a terribly misguided attempt to create some new wave of comedy.  Matthew Perry is Nicholas “Oz” Oseransky, a struggling dentist with a psychotic wife in a lustless marriage.  The new neighbours have arrived and Oz is quick to recognise Jimmy “The Tulip” Tudeski (Bruce Willis).  Jimmy is renowned as a wanted hitman who sent 17 men to their graves in Chicago.

A bizarre chain of events is then set off.  Oz’s wife promises to divorce him (which is a good thing) if he goes to Chicago to claim a finder’s fee for revealing Jimmy’s location to his archrival Yani Gogolack (Kevin Pollak).  Oz goes but soon finds out just about everyone has been hired to kill him but can’t seem to because he’s such a nice guy.

Matthew Perry may have all the charm and great lines on Friends but he cannot cut it on the big screen.  I am so tired of his usual shtick - the whole innocent, puppy-dog look.  His performance makes the film look like one of those U.S. sitcoms that gets axed after two weeks.  Roles like this aren’t going to get him very far - it shows how limited his range is.

Again the rest of the cast is a tired looking, over-the-top ensemble that are just too stupid to be funny with the rare exception of Bruce Willis who is the lone standout.  The screenplay relies on lame jokes thrown in with gratuitous nudity - it’s a throwback to the 1980s.

A good comedy is perhaps the hardest type of film to generate because everyone has a different sense of humour and it’s hard to satisfy everyone.  This film takes no risks whatsoever.  It relies on material that’s been done many times before because it knows the audience will just eat it up (and many will).  I love a great comedy as much as anyone but I’m looking for jokes and scenarios that I cannot preempt (ala There’s Something About Mary, Being John Malkovich, Election).

My advice for The Whole Nine Yards is to just get on the net and download the film’s trailer.  You’ll get all the best parts, you’ll know the whole story, and you’ll save yourself $12 and two hours.