Ten is the Funniest Number

by Alan Rapp on August 23, 2007

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: The Ten
  • IMDb: link

“I’ve got the Ten Commandments over there and I’m going to give you ten stories.  Each one of them correlates to one of the Commandments.  So let’s get right into it.  Sorry I was late.”
 

The Ten

Paul Rudd works as our narrator and guide on this series of interlocking stories (some characters reappear in multiple vignettes), while not dealing with his own problems with his wife (Famke Janssen) and his mistress (Jessica Alba) all of which will be resolved in the adultery vignette [VI.].  Rudd, in front of a pair of huge stone tablets presents each story to the audience.  Here they are (I’ve numbered which commandment goes with each story).

[I.] After being paralyzed Adam Broady is worshiped as a hero and deasl with how his new fame changes the relationship with his girlfriend (Winona Ryder).  [II.] Gretchen Mol plays a mousy librarian who travels to Mexico and has a sexual awakening with the help of Jesus Christ (Justin Theroux).  [III.] A.D. Miles skips church to hang out at home naked with all his friends.  [IV.] Kerri Kenney hires an Arnold Schwarzenegger impersonator (Oliver Platt) as a father figure for her children.  [V.] A doctor (Ken Marino) kills a patient as a “goof.”  [VII.] Wynona Ryder lusts after a ventriloquist’s puppet and steals it for sexual pleasure.  [VIII.] A cartoon Rhino learns the consequences of lying and gossip.  [IX.] A prisoner (Rob Corddry) covets the “wife” (Marino) of another inmate.  [X.] Liev Schreiber covets his neighbor’s (Joe Lo Truglio) CAT Scan machine.

Not all of the stories work equally well, but each presents an absurd yet thoughtful point on each of the Ten Commandments.  In terms of message Liev Shrieber’s vignette on not coveting your neighbors goods, Platt providing a father figure as Ah-nold, and Miles vignette on the Sabbath day all ring true.  In terms of humor the Rhino, the prison wife story, and Ryder’s puppet horniness are pretty good.  Rudd does a fine job of meshing the stories together and brings them to an off-the-wall musical ending.

The level of absurdity the film is willing to reach for, yet still stay on message, is quite refreshing.  This film certainly isn’t for everyone, but it’s got an off-beat nature and skewed look on life and religion, with tongue firmly implanted in cheek, that many will be able to enjoy, even if they don’t quite get the entire joke.

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