The Whole Ten Yards

Unlike many sequels, which secure their existence and sometimes go into preproduction before the first movie even hits theaters, The Whole Ten Yards was not a pre-ordained outcome when the first film came out in 2000. The Whole Nine Yards was a modest surprise, a quirky mixture of genres and characters that did better than anybody expected it to. It didn't call for a sequel, yet four years later, here it is. As sequels go, this is probably one of the most pointless ones in recent memory. If anything, it is a chance for all the actors to make a quick buck off a surprise hit. Too bad the film is pretty much a waste of time for all parties involved. The basic premise was this - take all of the small things in the first film that made it funny and memorable, and exaggerate and repeat them so often in the hopes that this will make the sequel funnier and more memorable. Well, this was not the result.

The Whole Ten Yards picks up a little after the first one. Mild mannered dentist Nicholas "Oz" Oseransky (Matthew Perry, Serving Sara, The Kid) is now married to Cynthia (Natasha Henstridge, John Carpenter's Ghosts of Mars, Bounce), the ex-wife of ex-hitman Jimmy "The Tulip" Tudeski (Bruce Willis, Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle, `1). Tudeski now lives in hiding in Mexico with his wife Jill (Amanda Peet, Something's Gotta Give, Identity), who is an aspiring hitwoman and Oz's ex-assistant. After the events in The Whole Nine Yards, Oz is a nervous wreck. He is a paranoid mess, afraid that people are constantly after him. Cynthia could care less, and just sits by the pool. In fact, in 90% of Henstridge's scenes, she is sitting down, looking bored. Oz's fears are soon validated when Lazlo Gogolak (Kevin Pollack, The Santa Clause 2, Juwanna Mann) gets out of jail and is hot for revenge against Tudeski, who killed his son (played by Pollack in the original). He believes that Tudeski is still alive, and goes after Oz to flush out the ex-hitman. Oz runs off to Tudeski, and Gogolak kidnaps Cynthia. Now, Oz needs to convince Tudeski, who has become a male Martha Stewart, to get back in the game to rescue Cynthia.

There is something else going on in Mitchell Kapner's (Romeo Must Die, The Whole Nine Yards) story and George Gallo's (See Spot Run, Double Take) screenplay. It soon becomes obvious to everybody except Oz, who spends much of the film falling down. Although Kapner, Gallo, and director Howard Deutch (Family Affair, The Replacements) try to hide this little 'secret,' it's pretty blatant to anybody with a brain what exactly is going on. Since the surprise is gone, the only thing left is to watch the actors ham it up. The story is little more than a comedy of errors, where everything seems to go wrong, especially for Oz. All of the actors are running around with nothing to work with. By amplifying their characters traits to the extreme, Deutch succeeds in turning something funny into something annoying. Pollack is a funny guy. Lazlo Gogolak, with his penchant for speaking unintelligibly, is annoying. Tudeski's unwillingness to say what's on his mind is an artificial plot device that prolongs the story. And Perry is too much of a spaz. The script tries to hard to squeeze comedy out of every situation, giving all the proceedings an artificial, forced quality that everybody notices. The good news is, that unless something cataclysmic happens, there is very little chance for a third film.

Haro Rates It: Pretty Bad.
1 hour, 39 minutes, Rated PG-13 for sexual content, some violence, and language.

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