Year Released: 2004
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 99 minutes
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I was speaking to a friend about seeing this movie, and his response was: “Why did they make this movie? It’s completely unnecessary.” Well, he might be right but that’s never stopped Hollywood from spitting out one unneeded sequel after another. If people are willing to put up with sequels like “Another Weekend At Bernie’s”, then I think they’re more than able to handle sequels like “The Whole Ten Yards”. Regardless of whether or not it was necessary, I decided to check out the sequel since I was one of the few people who actually had a lot of fun watching the original film titled ‘The Whole Nine Yards’. It was a guilty pleasure for me that year, and so I was willing to watch the continuing adventures of former hitman, Jimmy the Tulip (Willis) and his new wife Jill St.Clarie as they tried to live happily ever after away in hiding. Oz (Perry) is trying to live his own happy ever after but needs Jimmy’s help because his wife Cynthia (Natasha Henstridge) is kidnapped, this time by a Hungarian mob. Does any of this sound familiar?
The most important element from the first film was always the characters and the actors who played them. So it was extremely helpful to have the entire cast return for the sequel. Bruce Willis and Matthew Perry basically have the same chemistry they had in the first film, which is what made that movie the small success it was. They tried to expand on Peet’s character just a bit, but it didn’t really work for me. Her character really isn’t that deep to begin with and it would have been more interesting if they dipped a little deeper into Jimmy’s past instead of springing it on us at the very last minute. Natasha Henstridge is basically wasted, as she didn’t do very much this time out either except play the same ‘damsel in distress’ role she did in the previous film.
One character that I found very appealing and quite funny was Kevin Pollak’s return as Lazlo Gogolak, the father of the character Yanni (also played by Pollak) who died in the original “Nine Yards”. Yet there were times when I felt the character went a tad too over the top for my liking. How many times can Lazlo smack his son in the head and still be funny? The joke got old after a while and it just started to get on your nerves, as did the rest of the material.
It’s a shame that the writers couldn’t come up with something better than this, especially since many of the jokes were flat and basically recycled from the first film. “Nine Yards” was and cute and funny, but the same old routine isn’t as funny the second time around and it would have helped if they expanded on the story a bit more instead of just repeating the same blueprint form the original film. Whenever the film seemed to get into trouble, that’s when the director would toss in a scene that has Perry running into something or falling down awkwardly. While Perry manages to be funny simply by screwing around with his own character, he often makes fun of the other actors, which pretty much sums up about all the originality you’re going to see in this picture.
Another major obstruction that managed to hurt this sequel was its tamer rating. “Nine Yards” had the benefit of the R-rating, which you can always depend on for a little more freedom when trying your hand at this kind of cynical material. I really think the film’s ability to be creative was literally handcuffed with a PG-13 rating, which hurt it a great deal. The lower rating also meant there was no nudity this time out, which is too bad because the film could have benefitted from a little T&A. Instead, movie perves were teased with merely a bare back shot, which is a little disappointing since the original wasn’t afraid to go the whole nine yards. Refusing to cross the lines that the first film crossed without hesitation hurts the sequel and killed any chance of it being as loveable as the original.
Overall, “The Whole Ten Yards” is nowhere near as good as the first film, and that one wasn’t too brilliant either. It had some funny moments, but went a bit over the top with their Perry running into things quota. Willis’ performance, while good, wasn’t enough as everyone else was a tad flat and had the intensity of a piece of cardboard. If you were iffy on the first film, then I would seriously recommend skipping this one until it hits your local blockbuster. If you’re one of those people who absolutely loved “Nine Yards” then there is a good chance you might enjoy this. I’m sure many years from now many will question if this film was really necessary and while they may have a point, I can think of many films that were much more undeserving of a sequel.
Posted on May 6, 2004 in Reviews by Peter Lowry
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