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The Whole Ten Yards (2004)

The Whole Nine Yards 2

They missed each other. This time, their aim is better.

Rating: 6/10

Running Time: 98 minutes

US Certificate: PG-13 UK Certificate: 12a

Anyone who’s seen ‘The Whole Nine Yards’ will no doubt remember that originality wasn’t one of its strong points. What saved it, though, was a good cast, combining Matthew Perry’s natural knack for slapstick with Bruce Willis’ oft-concealed aptitude for playing his roles with tongue-in-cheek. The good news in this sequel is that the pair are back, and appear to have lost none of their willingness to use their conflicting styles to bounce entertainingly off one another. The bad news is that, this time, the plot-line is even scanter in the innovation department.

If you cast your mind back four years, you should just about recall that the first flick focussed on Oz (Perry), an easy-going and clean-living dentist who gets dragged into Chicago’s criminal underworld when he discovers new neighbour Jimmy (Willis) is a big-time hit-man. With the vast comic potential of that initial discovery now lost, the sequel is forced to find some new way of getting this odd couple together to take on a shared foe. So, in a turn of events that consistently struggles to convince, Oz’s missus (Natasha Henstridge) is kidnapped by a gangland swellguy (Kevin Pollak), and our pratfalling hero is forced to turn to the now-retired Jimmy for help.

There’s a decent number of laughs to be had, with Perry’s unflinching surprise at everything happening around him again providing the basis for many a Chandler-esque one-liner. Willis, too, delivers the goods, and there’s competent support work from Amanda Peet, who was Oz’s dental assistant last time round but is now Jimmy’s trigger-happy other half. Perhaps funniest of all, though, is Frank Collison as Hungarian henchman Strabo, who’s on screen less than the big stars but gets many of the best lines.

Good performances all round then, but it’s just a pity they’re given so little genuinely engaging material to work with. There’s only so many times Perry can run into a wall or fall flat on his face before it grows a beard, and George Gallo’s screenplay runs out of steam long before the 98 minutes are up. In the end, it’s a watchable sequel, but you can’t help but feel that these admirably enthusiastic performers would have been better off spending their time elsewhere.

It's Got: Tears over a dead chicken. Still, it makes a lovely casserole.

It Needs: A cameo from Norman Wisdom as Oz’s dad.


This unnecessary sequel doesn’t quite go the extra yard.