Whole Nine Yards (SE)B,B+
Warner/2000/99/ANA 1.85

     Farce needs consistent rhythms to tickle an audience. Actors must keep control of the giggle monster inside them threatening to get loose. It's okay if you sense they are having a fine old time, as long as they stay within their characters. A good comic director fine tunes rhythms and has a fine old time himself. When Jonathan Lynn is on, his comedies strike the right note and he's on in The Whole Nine Yards.
     The Whole Nine Yards kept me giggling pretty consistently. I do not love Bruce Willis in his precious mode, which is close to the way it is here, but the ensemble work, especially Matthew Perry and Amanda Peet, is very good. Jonathan Lynn is excellent at keeping the hilarity on target. You will have to keep your knees braced for Rosanna Arquette's Sophie.
     "Oz" Oseransky is in a marriage from Hell. His slothful wife badgers him endlessly and his mother-in-law is like a baying dog at his heels. Oz suffers the arrows of outrageous marriage and commutes daily from the plastic suburbs of Montreal to his dental office in the city. Change enters the land of Oz when Jimmy "The Tulip" Tudeski moves in next door. Tudeski, the notorious hit man, and Oz form a bond as hard as tooth enamel, forged on fear and change. Add to the comic delights a devious dental assistant and the hit man's long-legged wife and it makes for a quartet of comic laughter.
    Lynn's script serves up a tasty concept and ripe characters. When Oz leaves for leaves for work saying "You ladies have a lovely day," wife Sophie's tart retort  "I would, if you do me a favor and die," is perfect. The delivery and situation are perfectly mated and Perry's frustration with his wife and mother-in-law set the wink-in-the-eye tone of The Whole Nine Yards.

Good neighbor policy. ©Warner

     Warner delivers The Whole Nine Yards as a special edition featuring audio commentary by director Jonathan Lynn. He points out the many wonderful and inventive moments that Matthew Perry brought to the film. Lean and direct observations illuminate the film. I like the technical details he explains, especially the montage of newspaper and magazines. Lynn points out many of the ad-libs when actors add to the texture of the film. Lynn was brought into the project by Willis. There's also an "interview gallery" with the cast, but it's fairly standard stuff.
    This is a very colorful transfer. Bright hues work for the thematic material and are tightly contained within their respective boundaries. Resolution is mostly sharp and image is free of unwanted noise. Skin tones are varied nicely and blacks are thick without being compressed. Randy Edelman knows how to deliver wry in his scores and the DVD does an excellent job of balancing music, dialogue and ambiance.







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