Ten Million to Kill
The Whole Nine Yards
Review by Ross Anthony

A light-hearted contract killer and nervously pathetic dentist toggle between teaming up and double crossing each other in this fun and funnier near-farce comedy. Matthew Perry, playing a part that could have been written for Jim Carrey, apprehensively stumbles all over himself - but it works. Perry admits, "I'd do anything for a laugh in this movie." Director Jonathan Lynn calls him an "Immensely talented clown."

Not a serious bone in its body, the film creates a cast of caricatures that tangle and tango atop a slightly twisted dance floor. Perry is the wormy good-hearted dentist that flops over strategically placed ottomans with all the grace of a young Dick Van Dyke. The innocent-faced Perry even looks like a dentist - doesn't he? The physical comedy is admittedly cheap - but Perry pulls it off, he had me laughing every time. Perry's wife, Rosanna Arquette playing Perry's wife, attempts to portray a French Canadian "ornerian" from a comedic angle, but fails. Then there's Bruce as the slick contract killer living next door. Willis is 100% smooth as he walks the fine line between real person and comic book abstraction. Kevin Pollack's, mob boss's son character that pronounces "W's" as "V's" falls short, but shoots no holes in the film. In the end, it's the impeccable timing, pace and one liners that give "Nine Yards" its zing:

"Have a nice day." Perry wishes his wife.
"I would if you do me a favor and die." She smilingly retorts.

"You like living in Canada?" Willis innocently asks Perry.
"I live here with my wife." Perry responds curtly, as if it were absolutely obvious that the word "like" could not be used in any context involving his wife.

After Willis easily intimidates the jittery Perry into momentarily abandoning a few select body functions, the whimsical Willis grabs his keys, "Come on, change your pants. We're going out!"

With perhaps the film's finest line betwixt his golden teeth, a sparkling-eyed Willis savors this gem through a crooked smile, "It doesn't matter how many people I've killed. What matters is how I treat those who are still alive."

A price on his head, Chicago gangland contract-killer Willis moves next door to Perry who's wife forces him to go back to the States to acquire a "finder's fee" for ratting on the new neighbor. There, Perry meets up with the huge Michael Clarke Duncan's loving fists and writer Mitchell Kapner's plotting twists.

A few winceable story progressions in the front and end are easily outweighed by a fine "body" of fun film in-between. I laughed out loud very often.

  • The Whole Nine Yards. Copyright © 2000. Rated R.
  • Starring Bruce Willis, Matthew Perry, Rosanna Arquette, Michael Clarke Duncan, Natasha Henstridge, Amanda Peet, Kevin Pollak.
  • Directed by Jonathan Lynn.
  • Written by Mitchell Kapner.
  • Produced by David Willis and Allan Kaufman at WB and Morgan Creek/Franchise Pictures/Rational Packaging/Lansdown Films.


Copyright © 2000. Ross Anthony, currently based in Los Angeles, has scripted and shot documentaries, music videos, and shorts in 35 countries across North America, Europe, Africa and Asia. For more reviews visit: RossAnthony.com

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Last Modified: Saturday, 16-Sep-2006 07:50:00 PDT