The Whole Ten Yards (2004)

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Released 14-Mar-2005

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Trailer-Walking Tall, The Pink Panther Collection
Theatrical Trailer-1.85:1, 16x9 enhanced, Dolby Digital 2.0 (2:18)
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2004
Running Time 94:50 (Case: 99)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Howard Deutch
Studio
Distributor

MGM
Starring Bruce Willis
Matthew Perry
Amanda Peet
Kevin Pollak
Natasha Henstridge
Case ?
RPI $24.95 Music John Debney


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    MGM Means Great Movies. That is the slogan that appears on the little cardboard slip cover that this preview DVD of The Whole Ten Yards comes in. I cannot help but ponder the irony of putting such a slogan on the slip cover of a film that has generally been regarded as a mistake and not a patch upon the film that spawned it - The Whole Nine Yards.

    Another nice little piece of irony is that the IMDB has a listing of something like well over twenty goofs to be found in the film. Part of the irony is that most if not all of these are blatant things that even poor unobservant me can pick up on. Aside from making one ponder the fact that some people do really need to get a life if all they live for is picking holes in a film that is generally recognised as a piece of rubbish, it does say an awful lot about the studio approach to this film.

    Now don't get me wrong - I am a great fan of The Whole Nine Yards. It was a funny and enjoyable little romp that required no great amount of grey matter to watch, and it had a spontaneity and freshness that was quite appealing. It also featured Amanda Peet naked as well as Natasha Henstridge (not naked but still looking fabulous). It was a surprise hit and did pretty darn well at the box office. It was just one of those films that struck a chord and entertained - like films are supposed to. Not classic film for the ages but a film for the moment and bugger anything else.

    Which is probably why someone, somewhere thought it might be a good idea to do a sequel. Now sequels are on a hiding to nothing, as they rarely have the same sort of impact the original film did. Most of the reason for that is that the freshness that was so prevalent in the first film, that made it come alive and made it entertaining, is very difficult to recapture a second time, when everyone is familiar with the characters and everyone's expectations are that much higher. There have been very few sequels that have actually exceeded the excellence of the first film, whether talking cinematic excellence or box office excellence. There are a vast horde of them that have fallen flat on their cinematic faces, barely making a ripple at the box office or elsewhere. So why would anyone want to be involved in a sequel, given the odds stacked against it? Well, that is probably what most of the people involved in The Whole Ten Yards are thinking now that the audience has cast its vote on how good it was. Which really was a fairly resounding thumbs down.

    To be frank though, The Whole Ten Yards is perhaps not as bad as some critics have made out, and whilst certainly not as wholly entertaining as The Whole Nine Yards, it has its moments and is an enjoyable enough film, even if everyone including the scriptwriters were trying just a little too hard to hit the bullseye again.

    We find ourselves in Mexico where not-so-famed hitwoman Jill Tudeski (Amanda Peet) has returned from yet another job, returning to the arms of her rather more famous husband, Jimmy "The Tulip" Tudeski (Bruce Willis). Retirement seems to be having some effect upon Jimmy, who seems to be having some problems with respect to providing the conjugal rights to his wife. He is, however, a whiz in the kitchen and with the cleaning... Back in Los Angeles, whence they have escaped after their marriage, Oz Oseransky (Matthew Perry) and Cynthia (Natasha Henstridge) are not having quite so many conjugal problems and whilst Oz is probably not quite as dab a hand around the house, Cynthia is in fact now pregnant (which news is not going to make things any easier for Jimmy). So into these idyllic worlds is thrown the proverbial spanner in the works, in the form of Lazlo Gogolak (Kevin Pollack), out of jail and after revenge for the murder of his son Yanni at the hands of Jimmy. So a little plan is hatched whereby Cynthia finds herself the guest of Lazlo, so Oz, rather than doing something sensible like calling the FBI, decides to head down to Mexico to ask his old friend Jimmy to help him out. Of course, driving his Porsche Boxster down to Mexico means that Lazlo and his men have been able to follow and thus begins the first encounter between the respective parties. This is not going to help Cynthia any so Jimmy, Jill and Oz have to get back to Los Angeles as soon as possible and rescue Cynthia.

    Of course, a subplot in the form of Jimmy still loving Cynthia is thrown in to ensure things just get better and better between Jimmy and Jill.

    So how does this all end? Watch the film of course. But along the way, have a bit of fun. No one ever accused any of the Friends alumni of having any acting talent, but if any of them actually do, then probably Matthew Perry is that alumnus. Whilst he does not capture the same manic drive as he had in The Whole Nine Yards, he does a good enough job here. Amanda Peet does not quite get as naked as she was in the first film, and does not quite have that same freshness she had in the first film, but she too does a stand up job. Bruce Willis takes the Mickey a bit out of his own career but does exactly what he does as well as he does, so no complaints there either. Natasha Henstridge just looks as fabulous as ever (she is certainly maturing like a fine wine), which is about all she is required to do here in a less than central role. The problem is Kevin Pollack. Whenever I see his name on the bill, I know that I am not going to be seeing anything fabulous in the way of cinema. He seems to have made a career of being the sort of actor you turn to when desperate for something at a knockdown price, and that is exactly what the role of Lazlo Gogolak is. It ain't pretty but the job is sort of done without too much fuss...and a fairly ropey accent.

    No it is not a cinematic masterpiece and no it is not as good as The Whole Nine Yards, but I still enjoyed The Whole Ten Yards. Maybe it was due to some of the real drivel that had preceded it in the review pile, but it was more entertaining than I was expecting - which has to be a bonus. It could be worth a rent if you cannot rent The Whole Nine Yards, but I really would recommend the first film above it every time.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and it is 16x9 enhanced.

    Given that this is a recent film, we certainly would expect a very good transfer and that is what we do have. Nice and sharp, lovely detail and definition, and nothing much in the way of grain. Clarity is excellent throughout, there is nothing in the way of low level noise and shadow detail is generally spot on. This is one of the more visually impressive transfers I have seen in a while.

    Colours are bright and vibrant, with nary a problem to be noted. Blacks are solid, skin tones well rendered and there are no hints of oversaturation or colour bleed to be found. The whole thing has a very believable, natural look to it.

    MPEG artefacting seems to be limited to some very minor background pixelization that is barely noticeable on my system. Film-to-video artefacting is also confined to some very minor aliasing that rarely gets to the stage of being obvious. Given that this is such a recent film, there are naturally enough few indications of any film artefacts.

    This is a single sided, single layered DVD so we have no layer change to worry about.

    There is just an English for the Hearing Impaired subtitle option on the DVD, which is quite good without being especially terrific. There is the odd instance of dialogue being lost due to speed of speech problems.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    An English Dolby Digital 5.1 full bitrate 448Kb/s soundtrack is the only audio option you will find on the DVD, so if you want to indulge your predilection for Norwegian soundtracks - you cannot.

    There is nothing much wrong with the presentation of the dialogue here, which is easy to hear and understand (except perhaps the excruciatingly bad accent put on by Kevin Pollack). There did not seem to be any problems with audio sync in the transfer.

    The original music comes from John Debney and a thoroughly uninspiring, clichéd effort it is too. Okay, that is probably little more than the film deserved if you want to be unkind, but this could have been better than this without much effort at all.

    The obvious problem with the soundtrack is that the bass is way too aggressive during the music but then virtually seems to disappear at times when you would be expecting it - gun shots for instance. Aside from that, however, this is a pretty good effort with some nice use of the surround channels to get a half-way decent enveloping sound going. The one explosion towards the end of the film was a bit disappointing, though, as the surrounds got some real nice action going but the bass channel just seemed to be missing something. We certainly are not getting demo quality sound throughout here, but at least we are getting something that has some dynamism to it.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    Given that this is a rental-only release, you really don't expect too much do you?

Menus

    Nothing special here.

Preview Trailers (2)

    The adverts before the main presentation see us having to put up with the latest effort from The Rock in Walking Tall (1:20) and then a promo for The Pink Panther Collection (0:16). The presentation is 1.85:1 that is not 16x9 enhanced, with decent enough Dolby Digital 2.0 sound. I cannot wait to avoid Walking Tall... Technical quality is very good.

Theatrical Trailer (2:18)

    A typical trailer that gives a few of the best bits of the film away, as well as including stuff that is not even in the final film. The presentation is in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1, it is 16x9 enhanced and features good Dolby Digital 2.0 sound. There is nothing wrong with the trailer other than it gives too much away as usual.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The film is a Warner Home Video release in Region 1 and comes in two versions: a widescreen version and a Pan and Scan version. I still don't understand why Americans still want Pan and Scan abominations... Anyway, with even the usual soundtrack differences not being present this time, things would have been close were it not for the fact that the Region 1 sell-through release has an audio commentary. That would be more than enough to push the decision in favour of the Region 1 release at this time. I suppose we would be expecting too much to get the commentary on our sell-through release? It would appear that Region 2 is no better served than Region 4 with the Danish release getting six trailers as its extras package. The Region 2 (UK) release comes out in a couple of weeks.

Summary

    The Whole Ten Yards is not a patch upon the original film, but is certainly not as bad as some people would have you believe. It has been given a very good audio and video transfer in most respects. I would still prefer to rent The Whole Nine Yards rather than this but if you have had enough of the earlier film, this is an adequate enough substitute. I don't understand why it is a rental-only release though - this is not the sort of film that you are going to rent more than once and after having done so, you are not likely to indulge it as a sell-through release unless it comes at a super-budget price. In case you are wondering, the rental window is a minimum of three months, it will not be on Pay-Per-View for six months, standard Pay-TV for twelve months and free to air TV for twenty four months. I bet those plans get changed...

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ian Morris (Biological imperfection run amok)
Wednesday, December 29, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDDenon DVD-1600, using RGB output
DisplayLoewe Aconda 9381ZW. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationYamaha RXV-795
SpeakersEnergy Speakers: centre EXLC; left and right C-2; rears EXLR; and subwoofer ES-12XL

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