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The boring 'Nine Yards'


Arizona Daily Wildcat

Photo Courtesy of New Line Cinema Matthew Perry and Bruce Willis star in "The Whole Nine Yards." The film opens in theaters today.

By Christopher Jivan
Arizona Daily Wildcat,
February 18, 2000
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The new comedy, "The Whole Nine Yards," fails to go the distance.

Perhaps this would not have been the case had the movie's jokes not been so flat, the timing so terrible and the characters so predictable.

It is hard to place the blame on any one person, though.

Rather, it seems as if the film's comedic failure is a result of an equal collaboration between the filmmakers and the stars themselves.

Writer Mitchell Kapner, of the upcoming "Romeo Must Die," seems as if he fashioned out a story where the characters don't really matter. They are merely tools for his jokes.

The problem is, about 99 percent of those jokes simply aren't funny.

And director Jonathan Lynn ("My Cousin Vinny") does little to help Kapner's static script. Lynn chose to shoot the movie rather quickly by Hollywood standards - in just 35 days - and it shows.

While the writing and directing fall short, it is the acting that compounds the insipid dialogue.

Bruce Willis plays Jimmy "The Tulip" Tudeski, a contract killer hiding out in Montreal.

In Willis' previous hit film, "The Sixth Sense," it was hard to notice the star's tepid acting against the greatness of the film. But in "The Whole Nine Yards," Willis' performance is more recognizable, and the film suffers from it.

Matthew Perry ("Friends") co-stars as Willis' next door neighbor, "Oz." Unlike his character on "Friends," though, Perry is more irritating than funny.

Perry's previous films, while not box-office hits, were decent enough to prove his comedic ability outside of TV but "The Whole Nine Yards," puts serious doubt to this notion.

In fact, in watching his new film, it's hard not to think, "If only he would just stick to TV."

Also giving stale performances are actors Rosanna Arquette and Kevin Pollack, who, despite their minor roles, somehow stick with the viewer throughout the entire portion of the film.

This is mainly because of the terribly annoying fake accents developed for their roles, which add nothing to their boring characters.

Surprisingly, though, it is relative newcomer Amanda Peet, from TV's "Jack and Jill," who stands out most. Unlike the rest of the talent, she is neither predictable nor bland.

If the filmmakers had given her a larger part in the movie, the film might have been more tolerable.

Still, the worst part of this film is the jokes themselves.

For instance, the film tackles a hard subject to make light of - the death of a police officer.

When one of the characters is killed and then discovered to be an undercover cop, the other characters go about mutilating the body.

Why anyone would want to turn this into a funny situation is a question perhaps only the filmmakers themselves could answer.

The script offers no explanation for why it was made other than a pathetic attempt at humor. The producers likely wanted to cash in on the success of the far better mob-themed movie, "Analyze This."

Unlike "Analyze This" though, the entire substance of "The Whole Nine Yards" comes from the film's hokey dialogue and comedic cliches.

For anyone looking for mob-style comedy, look elsewhere. As for "The Whole Nine Yards" - fuhgeddaboudit.

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