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While the subject matter just screams "BLACK COMEDY," the Matthew Perry factor renders THE WHOLE NINE YARDS ($25) far too cute and fuzzy to be a genuine member of that sharp-toothed genre. In THE WHOLE NINE YARDS, Perry portrays Dr. Nicholas "Oz" Oseransky, a dentist whose life is a living hell, thanks to his unloving wife Sophie (Rosanna Arquette) and huge pile of debt left to him by his deceased father-in-law, who was once his business partner. Because of his problems, both financial and matrimonial, Oz is forced to move his practice from Chicago to his wifeís hometown of Montreal. While his existence in Canada seems to be a never-ending series of monotonous frustrations, Ozís life turns suddenly exciting with the arrival of a new neighbor. Going next door to greet the new arrival, Oz immediately recognizes his new neighbor as Jimmy "The Tulip" Tudeski (Bruce Willis), a mob hit man with a rather sizable price on his head.

Oz wants nothing more than to stay out of the hit manís path, but before he knows it; Oz is involved with more mobsters, a murder plot and Jimmyís estranged wife Cynthia (Natasha Henstridge). THE WHOLE NINE YARDS features the kind of cross and double-cross that one usually finds in the darkest film noir, but this movie has a giddy, good natured streak running through it that is truly hilarious. Matthew Perry will have you rolling with laughter and Bruce Willis hasnít been this funny since his days on MOONLIGHTING. THE WHOLE NINE YARDS also features some very solid supporting performances from Michael Clarke Duncan, Amanda Peet and Kevin Pollak. Director Jonathan Lynn allows ever member of his cast to shine, especially Perry, whose talents as a physical comedian get a workout.

Warner Home Video offers THE WHOLE NINE YARDS in both wide screen and full screen presentations on opposite sides of the DVD. The full screen version is like watching the film on cable television, except the picture is cleaner and there is the added benefit of Dolby Digital sound. With that said, the wide screen presentation is far more cinematic and benefits from the added resolution that one finds on an anamorphic enhanced DVD. THE WHOLE NINE YARDS is framed fairly close to 1.85:1, but Iíd say 1.78:1 seems a bit more accurate. Like any new movie coming off its theatrical run, THE WHOLE NINE YARDS looks just wonderful on DVD. The image is clean, bright, glossy and nicely detailed. Colors are beautifully rendered, with warm, healthy flesh tones and naturally saturated hues. There are absolutely no problems with chroma noise or color smearing. Blacks are deep and the level of shadow detail is excellent. Digital compression artifacts are virtually invisible.

The Dolby Digital 5.1 channel soundtrack is somewhat better than a typical comedy mix, but only slightly. Most of the sound effects are placed across the forward soundstage, with the rear channels adding ambience, as well as filling out the music. Dialogue is crisp and fully intelligible, so there are no problems hearing the jokes. Bass is solid and supplies the necessary oomph to gunshots and the occasional explosion. Both the filmís score by Randy Edelman and incidental music have a full, lush quality that is very pleasing. There are a couple of songs that are performed in a jazz club, which sound especially good in Dolby Digital. A French 5.1 channel soundtrack is also encoded onto the DVD, as are English and French subtitles.

The interactive menus are mildly animated and contain sound. Through the menus, one has access to the standard scene selection and set up features, as well as a few supplements. Director Jonathan Lynn provides an informative, albeit somewhat dry, commentary that fans will find worthwhile. Also included are several minutes of cast and director interviews, which are individually accessible through the menus. A theatrical trailer and cast listing fills out the discís extras.

THE WHOLE NINE YARDS is funny movie in a great looking and sounding DVD package. If you like Bruce Willis and Matthew Perry, or enjoy staring at the incredibly gorgeous Natasha Henstridge, then this is a DVD that you will want to spend some time with.




DVD reviews are Copyright © 2000 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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