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Movie Review

Oz hates his life. He hates his wife (she hates him more), his job (he's a dentist) and his wife's country (Canada). But Oz never knew how much he hated everything around him until a mafia hit-man moves in next door. That hit-man would be Jimmy the Tulip, a professional killer out of prison after only five years (he ratted out his superiors for a light sentence). Jimmy's hiding out in Montreal to escape the wrath of his ex-Chicago crime family who wants him dead. The Whole Nine Yards uses a bizarrely convoluted plot to give life to yet another drab mob comedy in the vein of Analyze This and Mickey Blue Eyes. In less time than it takes Al Capone to say tax evasion, Oz finds himself hopelessly ensnared in mafioso intrigue and murder.

Positive Elements: Nothing worth writing home about. Oz steadfastly resists his new associates' passion and lust for murder and mayhem. More because it makes him queasy than for any moral uprightness. He's stunned by Jimmy's selective moral compunctions (he won't divorce his wife because he doesn't believe in divorce, so instead he plans to kill her).

Sexual Content: Oz's wife, Sophie, is shown having sex with another man (no nudity here, but the couple's actions are explicit). On another occasion it's implied that Sophie gives a would-be assassin oral sex, and that Oz sleeps with Jimmy's wife. What is most troubling in this film, however, is the combination of nudity/sexuality and violence. A twentysomething self-proclaimed contract-killer apprentice gleefully strips off her clothes, posing nude to distract the rival mobsters. Her startling presence allows her cohorts to gun the men down. She then—still nude—produces a gun and starts firing. Her bare breasts secure a considerable amount of screen time in the process. "I can't think of nothin' finer than a fine naked woman holdin' a gun," says a cohort. In addition, script writers included suggestive dialogue about straight sex, gay sex and pedophilia.

Violent Content: Gangland shootouts and close-range gun killings are the focal point of the movie. Two dead mobsters are placed in a car, doused with gasoline and set on fire. Oz is on the receiving end of brutal kidney punches.

Crude or Profane Language: Not as much as one might expect from a mob flick. Half-a-dozen f-words and s-words are mixed with other more mild profanities. Christ's name is abused three or four times.

Drug and Alcohol Content: Jimmy drinks martinis. Oz downs a shot of liquor, drinks wine, martinis, beer, and Scotch and soda on several occasions. Sophie and a few other minor characters smoke cigarettes.

Other Negative Content: The Canadian police officers are portrayed as bumbling fools.

Summary: Put simply, The Whole Nine Yards implies that if you're smart enough, crime pays. And can be hilarious in the process. Oh yeah, and everybody gets their girl in the end. On a more somber note, the film diminishes the value of life by joking about death. "It's not important how many people I've killed," Jimmy says once, "What's important is how I get along with the people who are still alive." Of course it's absurd for a human being to think that killing one's wife is more righteous than divorcing her as Jimmy does. Indeed it's so absurd that one has to think that maybe the filmmaker was trying to make a point about our culture's devaluation of life. But then again, Hollywood has trivialized death for so long, that may not be the case.

One other troubling element that bears bringing up again is Oz and Sophie's obvious loathing for each other. Their marriage is a sham of money-grubbing opportunism and codependency. Insults fly back and forth with the intensity of a Wimbledon tennis match. A sorry sight for young eyes.

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Bruce Willis as Jimmy Jones a.k.a. Jimmy the Tulip Tudeski; Matthew Perry as Nick "Oz" Oseransky; Rosanna Arquette as Sophie Ozaransky; Michael Duncan as Frankie Figs; Natasha Henstridge as Cynthia Amanda Peet; Jill Kevin Pollak as Yanni Gogolack


Jonathan Lynn ( The Fighting Temptations)


Warner Bros.



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Steven Isaac

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