- Title: The Whole Nine Yards
- IMDB: link
His role of Friends aside, I’ve been largely unimpressed with Matthew Perry (Serving Sara and Three to Tango come to mind). It’s really a shame he’s made such bad choices on scripts because when you watch this flick you realize how good he could actually be in motion pictures.
The idea of a comedy starring Bruce Willis and Matthew Perry might not inspire much confidence, but what we get turns out to be pretty darn good. The Whole Nine Yards is a quirky, fun, occasionally dark, entertaining little movie. Full of odd characters and terrific comic sequences, most notably from Perry. And it provides not one but two love stories.
Nicholas ‘Oz’ Oseransky (Matthew Perry) is trapped. He’s living in Montreal with a horrible wife (Rosanna Arquette) who has made his life miserable for years. He continues to work at the dental practice he started with his father-in-law whose debt from an embezzlement scheme he is forced to pay off.
If Oz’s world wasn’t bad enough a hired killer with a price on his head decides to buy the house next door and move in as his new neighbor. Jimmy ‘The Tulip’ Tudeski (Bruce Willis) has killed 17 people, but the mob wants him dead for turning states evidence against Lazlo Gogolak. Sophie talks Oz into going to the traveling to Chicago and cash in on the contract with Yanni Gogolak (Kevin Pollak). Suddenly Oz is caught in a situation between a hitman and the mob with no escape in sight; that’s when things really get funny.
The script is pretty average, but we get some wonderful performances. Perry plays the slapstick and physical comedy to the hilt. Willis is understated, mostly playing the straight man to Perry’s antics. Natasha Henstridge will take your breath away as Jimmy’s wife; it’s nice to see her in a role where she gets to play smart and sexy and there’s some definate on-screen chemistry between her and Perry. Amanda Peet gives her best theatrical performance as Oz’s dental assistant. Pollak plays his role a little too much over the top for me, but Michael Clarke Duncan is tons of fun as his thug and hitman Frankie Figgs. The movie is filmed in Montreal, as many films are nowadays, but the story is set there (not doubling for an American city) and we actally get a nice view and feel for this city.
There are some extras to this edition. First we get a director commentary for the film. It’s what you’d expect. Because it’s just a one-man commentary we don’t get the interaction and fun little stories you find on other commentary tracks. On a more complicated film a sole director’s commentary might be interesting, but here it just makes you wonder why they didn’t include any of the cast. Of course the trailer is included as well. The only other extras are short interviews from the cast and director. When I say short I mean about 2-3 minutes per interview. Not much new information, just the actors gushing about how much they liked working with the other actors. It almost looks like these were cut out from different press junkets. Pretty slim, but at least there was an attempt to put some features in. The one disc DVD is available for $14.96.
There are some great one-liners, some terrific physical comedy by Perry, and a couple interesting plot twists. Peet and Henstridge hold there own on screen and Willis is confident cool personified. Really though it’s Perry’s movie to make or break as the film relies on his manic slapstick energy to keep the plot moving. A fan of any of these actors will have a good time.
A final note, four years later these actors reunited for a sequel The Whole Ten Yards. The sequel is so bad I actually like the first one a little less from viewing it. While I would recommend this movie as a fun romp, I must caution anyone and everyone from viewing its sequel. It easily makes my top 10 list of all time worst films, and I’ve seen some crap in my day, folks.