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" be gentle , " urges natasha henstridge to matthew perry in " the whole nine yards . "
" i haven't made love in five years . "
" neither have i , " rebuts perry .
" i'm married ! "
if jonathan lynn's latest comedy relied simply on jokes of that caliber--and it certainly tries--then it'd be an innocuous if rather obvious little film .
instead , its failings go much deeper .
first off , who hasn't had enough of the tough wiseguy intimidates the timid wise guy genre ?
if you want to make a pretty penny or two in hollywood nowadays simply write a " comedy " which pairs a robert de niro/james caan/bruce willis type with a billy crystal/hugh grant/matthew perry type and wait for the royalties to roll in .
who's next ?
jack nicholson and martin short ?
it certainly doesn't have to be funny .
" the whole nine yards " is not a particularly funny film , but it is borderline offensive .
offensive in the way it continues a trend of poking fun at career criminals who wouldn't think twice about pushing your mother-in-law off the brooklyn bridge with her feet encased in concrete .
that might sound like a funny sight gag , but the problem is these films have long since lost sight of the fact that taking a human life isn't all that funny to begin with .
when the corpse is placed in a car , doused with gasoline , set ablaze and referred to as " barbecue , " it makes you wonder when all this playing killing for laughs is going to end .
" the whole nine yards " is also offensive in so much as its three central female characters are portrayed as nothing more than sex objects .
rosanna arquette plays a slutty , chain-smoking french canadian who's married to matthew perry's none-too-successful dentist .
it's an unflattering role made all the more so by the unflattering outfits--and unflattering situations--into which arquette is thrust .
then there's natasha henstridge ( " species " i and ii ) who plays the well-to-do wife of contract killer bruce willis .
she gets involved with perry's character when he comes to chicago hoping to negotiate a finder's fee with mob boss yanni gogolack ( kevin pollack , transposing his vs with his ws ) after willis' jimmy the tulip tudeski moves in next door .
henstridge and perry's characters hitting it off is about as likely as bruce and demi getting back together .
perry might have the charm but he doesn't have the physical attributes of a traditional leading man , especially in close-up .
most objectified of the bunch is amanda peet , who turns in a sexually-ripe performance as perry's dental assistant with , it transpires , questionable career goals .
peet's gratuitous nude scene proves how low this movie will stoop to keep its audience from dropping off .
when " my cousin vinny " is the highpoint of a directorial career including such forgettable films as " clue , " " greedy , " and " sgt .
bilko , " you have to wonder if lynn chose the wrong career path .
perry's pratfalling goofiness coupled with willis' likable hardness could have had some potential but with no script to work with , and a director who seems to be watching from the wings , their characters run out of gas quickly .
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