Main cast: Matthew Perry (Nicholas “Oz” Oseransky), Bruce Willis (Jimmy “The Tulip” Tudeski), Rosanna Arquette (Sophie Oseransky), Natasha Henstridge (Cynthia), Amanda Peet (Jill), Michael Clarke Duncan (Franklin “Frankie Figs” Figueroa), and Kevin Pollak (Janni Gogolak)
Director: Jonathan Lynn
The first thing I see in this movie is the cringe machine Matthew Perry in a close-up cleaning his oral cavity. The things I endure sometimes, I tell you. However, while Mr Perry does nothing but to reprise the role of Bing Chandler in this movie, everything else works. The Whole Nine Yards is a messy but darned funny and entertaining dark comedy.
Dentist Oz Oseransky is married for seven years to a henpecking Sophie (Rosanna Arquette looks uncannily like an older Sarah Michelle Gellar, I must say). He pays off his dead father-in-law’s debts and hates his wife and mother-in-law. But the sap he is, he can’t say the D word. The only ally he has is his assistant Jill who isn’t what she seems to be.
One day a new neighbor arrives, and to Oz’s horror, he recognizes the new neighbor as Jimmy “The Tulip” Tudeski, notorious hitman! Oh my God. He panics, but wife threatens to make his life even more of a living hell if he doesn’t go to Chicago and tells Jimmy’s former bosses (and now enemies) where Jimmy is. Then Oz will collect whatever finder’s fee offered by these bad guys and they can pay off dead daddy-in-law’s debts.
Oz agrees, if only to get away (“Go get laid!” Jill advises) from his wife. Sophie then runs to tell Jimmy that her hubby is telling on him (she wants him dead, insurance money you see). Oz gets abducted by the bad guys led by Janni who wants to know where Jimmy is, and Oz falls for Jimmy’s wife Cynthia. What a mess. Put in a hitman-in-the-making, a scheming wife, and the fact that Jimmy and Oz – dang it! – like each other, and I have a very great laugh out of the whole nonsense.
I adore Jimmy, played with really underhanded yet subversive charm by Bruce Willis. Nothing is sexier than a psycho, I always say, and Mr Willis’s chemistry with Amanda Peet is simply charming. Likewise, it is easy to see why he likes Oz – Oz is so bumbling and befuddled even I start to like him, ugh. And Oz and Cynthia’s relationship is reminiscent of those old crime stories where Cynthia is the seductive moll’s wife in fur and Oz’s our incompetent Sam Spade.
At the end of the movie I am smiling stupidly, laughing and giggling at the irony of the brutality of murder and the perverse hilarity one can get out of it. Love it, love it, love it!