The Whole Nine Yards (2000)

(In theaters, May 2000) As a French-Canadian, this film is more than a pleasant surprise, explicitly featuring a Montreal-area setting as a background to a big-budget dark comedy. Never mind Patricia Arquette’s amateurish French accent; the other details (the house styles, the cars, the Re-Max real estate signs) sell the film. Bruce Willis is in there, practically playing a parody of his hitman character in The Jackal. Amanda Peet bares her chest to the camera and provides most of the film’s charm with her role as a spunky… er… dental assistant. Matthew Perry’s befuddled dentist is the straight core of the film, though his various pratfalls underscore his ability to play the comic role. The script is not without a few problems (what’s about the undercover agent?) but the direction keeps things moving briskly. As with most comedies, this one isn’t a must-see, but fills a slow evening quite decently.

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