The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, February 21, 2000, Page 10, Image 10

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‘Nine Yards’ will isolate some, please others
By Samuel McKewon
Senior editor
“The Whole Nine Yards” is bound
to get derisive reviews because it is so
adamant about being a straight-faced
comedy - it refuses to say it’s funny.
Characters in this movie live and
breathe as if this, somehow, is how cer
tain people really might carry on.
We are, of course, certain the
movie, which stars Bruce Willis as a
retired hitman and Matthew Perry as
his nervous ninny of a neighbor, is
pure, unqualified fiction. But director
Jonathan Lynn does not stop to nudge
or wink once. This movie intends to
carry out its story line lik&a secretary
filling out an order for pencils.
There were some people in the the
ater who just loved it from start to fin
ish, howling every time Perry bobbled
his martini or Willis shifted his hat.
Me? I hated it. Can’t say I laughed in
the movie’s final hour.
1 actually went the other way, tair
ly appalled at the black humor “The
Whole Nine Yards” had to offer in the
way it treated the murder of entirely
innocent folks. At the point when a
dead cop becomes a key player in a
barbecue (you’ll find out), I figured
there was something seriously wrong.
But the screenplay, written by
newcomer Mitchell Kapner, does not.
After all, Willis’ character is-killer
Jimmy Tudeski, or “Jimmy the Tulip,”
and he has no problem offing any
mobsters who might want to kill him
after he snitched on the big boss.
Jimmy refuses witness protection
and moves to Montreal, Quebec,
where Perry, a dentist named Nick
Ozaransky, notices him right away.
And the plot takes off from there.
Really, it’s useless spoiling or even
* hinting at the plot, because the movie
changes every 20 minutes. More and
more characters keep piling jn, and
their roles get imore and more compli
cated. It’s fitting that the characters
themselves occasionally are surprised
at what unfolds before them.
There’s a trip to Chicago, Jimmy’s
wife (Natasha Henstridge), Jimmy’s
rival (Michael Clarke Duncan), the big
boss’ son (Kevin Poliak), Nick’s wife
(Rosanna Arquette, sporting a French
accent) and so on and so on to deal
with. Double crosses, triple crosses,
you name it.
“The Whole Nine Yards” is also
one of the only movies I’ve ever seen
where a bit part, played by Amanda
Peet as Perry’s dental assistant, turns
into the movie’s scene-stealer, in ways
too long to describe here.
Willis, whose brother co-produced
this movie, looks like he didn’t bother
to act in the role of Jimmy. Notice how
in a majority of scenes he is either sit
ting down or laying down, preferably
with a cocktail or gun in his hand.
His character, outside of the fact
that he’s played by Bruce Willis, is so
unlikable - he’s a snitch, a killer, a
double-crosser and certainly not afraid
to off his wife - that I wanted to see
him dead. The movie would have
ended much sooner if he had been
Perry is given a few funny lines to
get him going before he turns into a
clump who trips over couches and
runs into glass doors.
The rest of the cast has little to
work with, but God decided to give
Poliak, who can be a decent actor in
the right role, a Hungarian accent that
The Whole
Nine Yards
STARRING: Bruce Willis,
Matthew Perry
DIRECTOR: Jonathan Lynn
RATED: R (accidental
murder, intended murder,
surprise murder and hired
murder. Language and
nudity, too.)
FIVE WORDS: See it-judge
for yourself.
plays upon one of the stupidest stereo
types in history? Think Dracula and
you’re on the right track.
“The Whole Nine Yards” had me
kicking and screaming inside, but it
won a little admiration, too. Here is a
script that simply is determined to play
its hand, to be either liked or disliked,
and not budge one inch on its charac
ters. Jimmy the Tulip is, yes, really a
killer - sort of like Robert DeNiro in
“Analyze This.”
It’s also determined to tie up every
loose end in the bag, going about 25
minutes beyond its actual climax.
There is a clear ending for everyone
involved, and not all of them live. “The
Whole Nine Yards” is no morality play
(It sort of champions the business of
contract killing.) and doesn’t pretend
to be one. I found it to be just awful.
But not everyone will.
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