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February 25 - March 3, 2000

[Movie Reviews]

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The Whole Nine Yards

by Tom Meek

The Whole Nine Yards Getting to know your neighbor in suburbia can be treacherous business, especially if he's a hit man. In this case our timid homebody is Nick (Matthew Perry), a dentist trapped in a torturous marriage and saddled with debt. During the welcome-wagon congenialities he realizes that his new neighbor, Jimmy Jones (Bruce Willis), is really Jimmy "The Tulip" Tudeski, the notorious enforcer for the Chicago mob turned informant. What Nick doesn't know is that his conniving wife (Rosanna Arquette, appropriately over-the-top) has put a contract on his head. Is the hitter his new pal Jimmy, his incorrigible dental assistant (Amanda Peet), or some other John Gotti wanna-be?

Add to the uneasy buddy chemistry -- à la Analyze This -- between Perry and Willis an uproariously perky Peet and you create a charming comic veneer, but the other plot threads -- involving a Chicago posse en route to Montreal to take out Jimmy, Nick falling for Tudeski's wife (the ever alluring Natasha Henstridge), and the presence of Jimmy's sidekick, Frankie Figs (Michael Duncan) -- are largely detracting. The Eastern European accent Kevin Pollak sports in the role of a crime boss is atrocious, and the film needlessly spills over into multiple, post-climatic endings. The Whole Nine Yards doesn't go the whole 10.

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