Thursday, December 10, 2009

A Decade of Dreck #17: The Whole Ten Yards

Yeah....this happened. To be honest, I was a bit surprised to see The Whole Ten Yards on this list. How could a sequel to a comedy with a slew well-known actors be that terrible? Now, I’ve never seen The Whole Nine Yards – actually, that’s a lie. I’ve watched ten minute snippets of it here or there on TBS, staying mostly to admire Amanda Peet, get confused by Bruce Willis’ choice of hats and move on.

From what I recall of these snippets, Bruce Willis is some kind of former hitman who shacks up next door to Matthew Perry. Lives intertwine, hijinks ensue. And I think Amanda Peet’s in on it at the end. Not bad, not great. Call it a day.

Still, why this warranted a sequel I have no idea. Though the terribly clever title job reminds me of when they made a sequel to Analyze This called Analyze That. Geniuses, those studio execs.

I think it bears noting that The Whole Nine Yards had a $24 million budget and grossed over $100 million worldwide. The Whole Ten Yards? A $30 million budget that it failed to recoup. I don’t know how else to prepare you for how bland this movie is.

I’m not sure I can properly sum up this movie for you. I can tell you that there is a scene where Matthew Perry’s flimsy character named Oz falls away and he delivers a monologue in full Chandler Bing mode – bizarre emphases and all. He basically sums up the entire ridiculous plot of the movie (his trip to Mexico, a series of incomprehensible double crosses, and tertiary info from the first movie) to his secretary. Kudos to the writers for including this scene – it’s exactly what was going on in my head at the time.

Bruce Willis is almost unwatchable. His primary trick throughout the movie – aside from long periods of cool detachment – is a horrific crying noise that the filmmakers must have thought would make a good bit. He cries over a dead chicken named Blanche. He cries after having too much to drink in a bar. I get it. This hitman is sensitive. Just make him shut up. ALSO. There is a scene wherein Willis has off-screen sex with Peet. Faintly, you can hear him yell “Yippie Kay Yay.” Nice Die Hard reference, I guess?

This is the part where I’d say poor Amanda Peet (who gained a lot of cred with me on Studio 60), but she looks like she’s having a blast. She’s going for broke in every scene, milking the paltry pool jokes for all they’re worth. It’s as if she’d never been in a bad movie before and is treating it like a field trip to the zoo. (Sidenote: she has been in bad movies before.)

After a suffering through a plot that makes absolutely no sense, that revolves around a villain who looks like he’s straight out of an Adam Sandler movie, I realized that I’d seen this final scene before. What I thought had been snippets of The Whole Nine Yards on TBS had actually been the closing moments of The Whole Ten. I’d presumed no one would put this languid, unwatchable bore on TV. My bad.

As everything wraps up, Chandler Perry exclaims “I’ve never been this confused in my entire life.” Then Peet informs Willis that she’s carrying his baby (a topic of some doubt throughout the film). The credits roll as Willis starts sobbing again. I was so happy it was over, I almost did the same.