What's that? You honestly haven't been on pins and needles for the past four years, dreaming of the day when Bruce Willis and Matthew Perry would once again share the screen? You're not alone: "Ten" is another pointless sequel that can be tossed in the "thanks, but no thanks" bin, alongside "Analyze That," "Scooby Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed" and the blink-and-you-missed-it "Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights."
"Ten" deserves at least passing mention, however, as one of the sloppiest pieces of hackwork to be put out by a major studio recently. In fact, this flaccid comedy's only laughs come from its sheer ineptitude.
Check out the scene in which a character's cigarette is lit in one shot, then is miraculously unlit seconds later and relit again a moment after that. Or how Perry drives home at sunset, arrives at his home in darkness and escapes a few minutes later into mid-morning light. Did editor Seth Flaum make mincemeat out of this movie, or did he merely splice together the scrambled footage director Howard Deutch turned in?
Willis returns as hired gun Jimmy "The Tulip" Tudeski, now living a quiet life in Mexico with wife Jill (Amanda Peet), whose own career as a killer isn't working out as smoothly as she hoped. They both get a chance to exercise their trigger fingers again when Cynthia (Natasha Henstridge), the wife of dentist Oz Oseransky (Perry), is allegedly kidnaped by the henchmen of fresh-out-of-prison mobster Lazlo Gogolak (Kevin Pollak). That crime sets the stage for Oz to become his hyperactive, accident-prone self once more -- and the sight of Perry taking pratfalls lost its novelty long ago -- and for Jimmy and Jill to trade insults and threats almost continually, as if they were playing in a kind of low-rent production of "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" with revolvers in place of the overflowing glasses of booze.
Ponderously paced and atrociously written, George Gallo's screenplay is so incoherent and inconsistent it might have been pasted together from the rough drafts of four completely different storylines. While Oz remains a blithering dolt from start to finish (and we're expected to believe that a go-getter like Cynthia somehow finds this incredibly sexy), everyone else's personality seems to change with whatever the scene requires. Much is made of Jimmy wearing a skirt, bunny slippers and a headscarf and behaving like Martha Stewart in the beginning of the film, but those eccentricities evaporate quickly and never re-appear.
As for humor, Gallo offers such rib-ticklers as a little girl with a foul mouth, a crook who mispronounces every other word he says, and the sight of Jimmy beating a dad unconscious while his young son watches. A shaven-headed Willis grimaces and grits his teeth through the entire film, making Jimmy about as adorably wacky as Travis Bickle. And why not? After all, "The Whole Ten Yards" is almost as rib-tickling as "Taxi Driver."