[box cover]

The Whole Nine Yards

Film buffs sometimes ask each other, "What ever happened to Rosanna Arquette?" Well, the answer is that while her sister Patricia has become a cult goddess and her brother a popular buffoon, she has devolved into projects such as the black comedy The Whole Nine Yards, in which her visage doesn't even appear in the trailer (which is appended to this disc). Arquette attempts a French-Canadian accent that is so exaggerated and inconsistent that perhaps the producers did not want the public to know about it in advance. On the other hand, as a physical comedian she is kind of good in the film, suggesting a whole other cinematic career she could have had. Arquette plays the murderous wife of a dentist (Matthew Perry), and when a hit man (Bruce Willis) moves into the house next door, the dentist finds himself embroiled in a complex revenge-hit against his new neighbor's former boss (Kevin Pollack, in another weird accent). The Whole Nine Yards is all impossible nonsense, credited to writer Mitchell Kapner and directed by Jonathan Lynn, and none of it is particularly funny. Willis is in his smug mode (though he has a couple of good takes), while Perry is in sit-comy Friends mode with that now all-too-familiar manner of line delivery. If you like these actors, you'll probably like this movie, even though their affectations clash terribly with each other and the rest of the cast. Perry happens to bear something of a likeness to Michael Madsen, and a director with more time and a different producer might have sought to put Madsen in Willis's role; Madsen would have been authentic, truly scary, and even more perplexed at Perry's nervous slapstick, while making a comment, through their resemblance, on how the distance between them is not all that great. The film also delivers what they call on Wayne's World a mega-happy ending in which everyone gets everything they want — the girls, the money, freedom — even though this popular kind of ending defeats the whole tragic core of comedy. But then, the title is The Whole Nine Yards, which the filmmakers presumably think means getting everything you want. Also featuring the regal Natasha Henstridge as Willis's wife, and a delightfully kooky Amanda Peet as Perry's dental assistant. Sharp, natural looking anamoprhic transfer (2.35:1) with pan-and-scan on the flip side. DD 5.1, but only utilized occasionally in what is really a talky slapstick film rather than an actioner. There's also an "interview gallery" featuring two-minute clips with the five principals (including Michael Clarke Duncan) and director Lynn, in which they all say how much they enjoyed working with each other, and Lynn provides a rather lackluster audio commentary, wherein he calls Willis the new Bogart. Snap-case.
—D.K. Holm

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