The Whole Ten Yards review

Someone should bottle this and sell it as a sleeping potion. Not since Cannonball Run - the second one - has a script been so bare of laughs, the filmmakers forced to plug those tumbleweed silences with pratfalls and inane mugging.

It's no surprise, really. The world needed a sequel to The Whole Nine Yards like Harry Knowles needs a doughnut, and handing it to Howard Deutch - the man behind Odd Couple II and Grumpier Old Men- isn't exactly inviting improvement. What we get, then, are sledgehammer gags, Kevin Pollak's accent (a cross between Bela Lugosi and latter-day Al Pacino) and a succession of elaborate, set-up sequences that move so slow they gather sediment. Only one scene comes close to eliciting a laugh: Perry's character having a sudden revelation about an inebriated sexual encounter. It sure beats a farting grandma...

Willis and Perry are amiable enough, pretty much game for anything - it's just that they're not funny. And the female leads fare no better: Peet's given the thankless job of playing straight woman and third wheel in what's essentially a buddy picture; and Henstridge barely registers in a bland cameo, exhibiting none of the slinky charm she brought to the first movie.

It's a pattern that's evident throughout, this sequel proving so limp it almost makes you re-evaluate The Whole Nine Yards. At least that tickled the funnybone with its combination of Willis' tough guy and Perry's hapless hero. This time, however, the characters simply snuffle around in a rut, anything that even resembles a `good angle' having been exhausted in the first movie. Okay, so there's some exploration of the messy love quadrangle the main foursome are tangled in, but much more time is devoted to a watered-down The Sting-style swipe, every protagonist attempting to mask a hidden agenda that's painfully evident.

Can a film really be this irredeemable? It can when the highlight of the press show is the projector breaking down. Twice. Talk about divine intervention...

Should have been called Dud&Dudderer. Ten Yards? Not enough. Back off 200 and avoid the stench of a soulless sequel...


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