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"The Ten"

Directed by David Wain.
Written by David Wain and Ken Marino.
Starring Paul Rudd, Famke Janssen, Gretchen Mol and Winona Ryder.
Release Year:  2007

Review Date:  8/11/07


I had tried to see "The Ten" while at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival, but all of the showings were sold out when I tried to purchase tix; so, now, seven months later, I have witnessed "The Ten" and I must say:

What a fucking piece of shit!

Okay, it's not that bad, but yes, it is pretty bad.  The concept is great--ten short films wrapped around modern comedic interpretations of the Ten Commandments.  The cast is great--Jessica Alba, Oliver Platt, Paul Rudd, Winona Ryder, Liev Schreiber, Gretchen Mol, Famke Janssen.  And, the combination of these two don't aid a mostly-bad screenplay, which is surprising given that this is essentially a higher-budget version of any "Saturday Night Live" episode.

The ten stories exist in the same world, meaning that there is a little crossover from story to story.  Some characters, like Kelly (Ryder), the fiancée of a man who falls from an airplane and instead of dying, falls into a field just deep enough that only his head is exposed (yeah, it's that kind of strange throughout "The Ten"), shows up in three of the skits; another character, Dr. Richie (Ken Marino), plays a "goof" on a woman in an early skit and ends up going to prison, where we get to visit him in a couple of other skits.  But, mainly, it's folks that show up briefly, and then are not seen again; the only person we see consistently is our narrator (Paul Rudd), who plays out a sketch over the course of the film featuring his unhappy marriage to one woman (Janssen) then his affair with a younger woman (Alba) and then his decision to get back together with his wife.

The interlude bits are dumb, but at least three of the skits feature exactly zero laughs, and in one of them, the joke is supposed to play out around a fictional drug dealer named Lyin' Rhino, and in this animated sketch (the only one of the movie), lots of random animals get fucked by weiner dogs, the Rhino takes a shit everywhere and after one of those shits, a band of Mexicans comes out drinking tequila.  (Surprisingly, this only drove one couple to get up and leave immediately; I was certain it would be more than that.)

Again, it's that kind of movie.

The funniest skit to me (and this made another couple leave) was the skit geared around the "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife"; instead of playing this one straight up, our filmmakers decide to make this skit based around the doctor who went to prison, who has become the bitch of a large fat cellmate named Big Bubba; another inmate enjoys the doctor's company and wants to make him his bitch.  The sheer number of ass-rape jokes in this skit made me laugh, but many others were not howling like I was in the back of the theater.  This is the kind of inspired (yet completely wrong) comedy that I thought I would get when I signed up for this, but in execution "The Ten" just blows it on so many levels.

There are a few laughs.  But, overall, "The Ten" was bad and way overhyped given how it did at Sundance.  Now, I have to wonder how much of this was cut out to make it into!

Rating:  Rental


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Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  This is the highest rating a movie can receive.  Reserved for movies that exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development, setting...or Salma Hayek.  Not necessarily in that order. 

"$X.XX Show":  This price changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently, it is the $9.50 Show.  While not technically perfect, this is a movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.  "Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca", but you'll have a great time watching.  The $9.50 Show won't win any Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see "Office Space"). 

"Matinee":  An average movie that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.  Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about yourself.  A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave the theater saying "That wasn't too, did you see that Lakers game last night?" 

"Rental":  This rating indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one."  Mostly forgettable, you couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the video store was out of copies of "Ronin."  If you can, see this movie for free.  This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a half stars." 

"Hard Vice":  This rating is the bottom of the barrel.  A movie that only six other human beings have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen.  A Shannon Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a movie.  Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or "Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!  (Warning:  strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard Vice"-rated movies.)

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