The Whole Nine Yards
**.5 GM
Starring: Bruce Willis, Matthew Perry, Natasha Henstridge, Michael Clarke Duncan, Amanda Peet

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Hey, "Friends" is on! It's the one where Chandler's a dentist and he bangs the chick from "Species" and gets involved in an international mob war!

That's pretty much how it feels whenever these guys do a movie. Jennifer Aniston has managed to pull off a couple of movies like "She's The One" and "Office Space," where she's reasonably detached from her whole Rachel schtick, and Courteney Cox was that "Dancing In The Dark" chick and the chick on "Family Ties" before she was Monica, so I don't view her the same way (plus she fell in love with Ace Ventura - that works). I haven't seen anything the other "Friends" have been in, but it kinda seems like they'd all be playing their characters from the show. Maybe. I dunno.

Matthew Perry, I happen to remember from an old episode of "Growing Pains" as Carol's boyfriend that got in an accident while driving drunk and, soon after he vowed to change his ways, he died of internal bleeding. Perhaps one of the first "very special" sitcom episodes I remember seeing. Despite this, I still can't really see him playing anyone but the nervous, twitchy goober he is in this film. Luckily, that goober is rather amusing, and the guy knows how to pratfall. There are some serious wipeouts in this movie - so well done that I actually managed to laugh a couple times... maybe he'll make pratfalls funny again.

The movie manages to be entertaining basically because of the people involved. Bruce Willis, one of my favorites, as Jimmy "The Tulip" is pretty cool, as usual. Michael Clarke Duncan, fresh off his "star-making turn" (ugh, I hate phrases like that) as John Coffey in "The Green Mile," switches gears for Frankie Figs, the enforcer, and it's great to hear him speak intelligently. I have a feeling that Duncan would be one of the 'hard, pipe-hittin' niggas' that Marsellus Wallace called over to smackdown on Zed in "Pulp Fiction." Also, Kevin Pollak is always a welcome appearance. Someone needs to give this man a good role, though. He's hilarious and great, but he's always some peripheral role that gets whacked. Amanda Peet is also engaging here, although I don't think it's going to make me go out and see her in "Isn't She Great" because of it.

The movie falls a bit when it tries to force an unbelievably sentimental romance between Perry and Natasha Henstridge (we're supposed to believe they're madly in love after they spend maybe a day and a half total together, and that they're NOT just blinded by the fact that they've both found release in each other after being stuck in loveless marriages for years), and it isn't a rip-roaring good time, but it has its moments. There's actually a very well-executed fart joke, too, that took me by surprise and laid me out for a few moments. People are down on the fart jokes, but when done right, pooterz is funny.

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