Free, easy spirit part of `Yards' charm

Kevin Pollak joins Willis and Perry in sequel to 2000 flick

April 09, 2004|By Jay Boyar | Jay Boyar,ORLANDO SENTINEL

The Whole Nine Yards shouldn't have worked.

The plot was contrived, the direction uneven.

But thanks to the cast, that 2000 action-comedy came out OK. Bruce Willis, Matthew Perry, Amanda Peet and Natasha Henstridge all have a gift for flakiness, and that was just enough to produce a fairly regular supply of giggles.

It was as if they, and some of the others in the cast, were in a conspiracy to ignore or make fun of what was dull or stupid about the film. And much of the time they made you feel like you were in on the joke.

If that movie should not have worked, then the sequel definitely shouldn't work, either. But, once again, it kind of does, for basically the same reason.

As we re-encounter the gang from the first film, Jimmy the Tulip (Willis), a semi-retired hit man who's generally thought to be dead, is hiding out in Mexico. With him is his wife, Jill (Peet), who wishes that she, too, could be a professional killer.

Oz (Perry), our friendly neighborhood dentist, is married to Cynthia (Henstridge), Jimmy's ex-wife, who soon discovers that she's pregnant.

The plot is set in motion when a mob boss (Kevin Pollak) is released from prison. He doesn't believe Jimmy is dead, although nothing would please him more. And he correctly concludes that Oz is the key to locating Jimmy.

For the rest of the movie, our heroes attempt to stay one step ahead of the mobster and his gang, while just about everyone in the film attempts to stay one step ahead of the silly plot. And to a surprising degree, they succeed, as the film's free and easy spirit is part of its charm.

The Orlando Sentinel is a Tribune Publishing newspaper.

The Whole Ten Yards

Starring Bruce Willis, Matthew Perry, Amanda Peet, Kevin Pollak, Natasha Henstridge

Directed by Howard Deutch

Rated PG-13 (sexual content, violence, language)

Released by Warner Bros.

Time 100 minutes

Sun Score **1/2

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