There is something about the depraved and the deranged that usually has us in
splits. Call it cruelty, insensitivity or what you will; it is nothing but our
way of assuring ourselves of our sanity and morality. And getting away with depravity
is what's been the cornerstone of comedy in the last decade, but the physical
element and the buffoonery have prevented it from appearing as dark as it otherwise
would. The Whole Nine Yards firmly belongs to this kind.
Nicolas Ozeransky (Matthew Perry) is a dentist in Montreal whose only legacy is
his father-in-law's debt. No wonder he and Sophie (Rosanna Arquette) make a sick
couple (sick of each other, that is), each wishing that other dead, though only
one of them really does something about it, and there's no prizes for guessing
who it is. Nicolas is too timid to do anything, and to make his days worse, Jimmy
'The Tulip' Tudeski, a contract killer, moves in next door. There is a prize on
Jimmy's head, offered by the gang whose leader, Gogolack, he turned in. Sophie
intimidates Nicolas into going to Chicago to claim it, and then warns Jimmy about
Nicolas does the unimaginable - he gets laid by Jimmy's wife, Cynthia (Natasha), and falls in love with her. He comes back to Montreal with another hit man, Frankie (Duncan), who's going to get Jimmy. It's just that he happens to be on Jimmy's side. With his misery at a peak, Nicolas finds out that his assistant, Jill (Peet), is also a killer hired by his wife to bump him but couldn't do the job for sentimental reasons. Nevertheless, she is given another break by Jimmy who has plans to take down Gogolack's brother and Cynthia, when they come down to Montreal. What ensues is more confusion with Nicolas trying to salvage his hard-found love, and Sophie having another shot at killing her hubby.
It's just so many people out get some one or the other, and just poor Nicolas trying to save everyone, including himself. Quite a fare, complimented by some terrific performances by the cast. It is a fun cast we have here, with just Bruce Willis playing the cool guy and everyone else bursting with vigor.
Matthew Perry does the slapstick pretty well, and the best part is that he looks really pathetic (as a man under his circumstances would) unlike the buffoon that Jim Carrey makes of himself. But he may just have to stick to it for the rest of his acting career, for reasons other than typecasting.
Amanda Peet is totally unrecognizable in the second half, as the professional who has found her God. The difference is that we have a lot more teeth on display, and a lot less clothes, too. The rest just fit into their roles, but Rosanna Arquette is the jarring one as the frumpy wife.
An out-and-out fun ride.