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The Ten (2007)

DVD Cover (City Lights Home Entertainment)
Genres:
Absurd Comedy, Comedy, Religious Comedy, Satire
Director:
David Wain David Wain
Starring:
Paul Rudd Paul Rudd
Adam Brody Adam Brody
Jon Hamm Jon Hamm
Winona Ryder Winona Ryder
Ken Marino Ken Marino

5.1 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Quirky inter-related stories. Standing by two tablets, Jeff promises to introduce ten short stories, each about one of the commandments. A man survives a fall from a plane and his fiancée marries someone else before falling in love with a marionette; a surgeon causes the death of a patient and in prison tries to choose his mate; a woman encounters Jesus in Mexico and later confronts her husband on the Sabbath; twins and their mother reflect on fatherhood; covetous neighbors miss a chance to be heroes; and, between each story, Jeff's love triangle with Gretchen and Liz plays out. In the end, all the characters join in singing that it's all about love. --IMDb
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Review by bluemeanie
Added: September 29, 2007
As much as I disliked "Wet Hot American Summer" - at least it has the threads of plot. At least it attempted cohesiveness, at times. "The Ten" goes out of its way to be absolutely absurd and absolutely offensive and absolutely ridiculous. Some might proclaim that to be genius. I just find it to be absolutely lazy. David Wain's "The Ten" is one of the worst attempts at comedy I have seen in a long, long time. Some of it is funny, don't get me wrong. I laughed quite a bit. But, the film as a whole is complete mess and an utter disaster. And when you have to look this hard for the bright spots and you have to try this hard to find meaning in a film about the Ten Commandments, you know something has to be wrong with the picture.

The film is ten short films, each one based on a different Commandment. You have the guy (Adam Brody) who goes skydiving without a parachute and gets permanently stuck in the ground. You have the woman (Gretchen Mol) who goes on vacation and gets involved in a romantic relationship with Jesus Christ (Justin Theroux). You have the two neighbors (Liev Schrieber, Joe Lo Truglio) who try to see which one can purchase the most cat scan machines. You have the two inmates (Ken Marino, Rob Corddry) who decide they want to become one another's bitches. You have the white mother (Kerri Kenney) with two black children who tells them that their father is none other than Arnold Schwarzenegger, only to bring in an Arnold impersonator (Oliver Platt) to pretend to be their father, until she realizes their father is actually Arsenio Hall. And how can we forget the woman (Winona Ryder) who falls in love with a wooden dummy and even has sex with it. There is a short animated film also about a rhino who lies. And throughout, the Narrator (Paul Rudd) has fights with his wife (Famke Janssen) and his girlfriend (Jessica Alba) before he leaves them both and marries Dianne Wiest. Yes, the Dianne Wiest you're thinking about.

There is nothing that holds these stories together other than the narration, and it just so happens that the narration happens to be the worst part of the film. The writing is terrible during these scenes and Paul Rudd and Famke Janssen don't seem to know what they're doing. Let's not forget, also, that the blue screen effects are piss poor, at best. And, at lot of these shorts just barely have anything to do with their Commandment at all. My favorites were the short about the two neighbors and the cat scan machines, the two inmates becoming bitches and the final short, about a man (A.D. Miles) who starts skipping church so he can stay at home, get naked and listen to Roberta Flack. Those were hysterical, especially Michael Ian Black's cameo at the tail end of the short about the inmates. It was nice to see he and Ben Garant pop up in the film, as I assumed they would. It was especially nice to see Liev Schrieber working some of his comedic talents.

Alas, as funny as some of "The Ten" is, it gets bogged down in its own absurdity. It wants to be this super cool, irreverent comedy and it wants so badly to top "Wet Hot American Summer", that there's just too much of an occasionally good thing. I would like to think that David Wain has more in him than this. After watching "The State" and "Stella" and all of his other work, I would like to think this guy can offer more than an animated rhino who has a propensity for lying. All of that said, the audience loved the film. They were laughing, non-stop, throughout and this turned out to be the most attended opening night film in the nine year history of the Sidewalk Moving Picture Festival, so "The Ten" must have been doing something right. I wish I had enjoyed the film as much as the rest of the audience, but I truly think the audience probably walked out with the same empty feeling as me - they laughed a lot, but didn't get much nourishment from it.

This film is playing in limited release right now, but I doubt it's going to expand far enough to find its way to a theatre near you. But, I am sure a quick DVD release will follow. I must warn you that this film is extremely graphic and very profane and if you're easily offended, you might want to stay away. Definitely keep the kids away from this one. All in all, "The Ten" made me laugh through its randomness, but it made me cringe for the very same reasons, at different times. It's random and funny to say someone is married to Dianne Wiest, but what would have been funnier would have been to see Dianne Wiest walk on screen and punch Paul Rudd in the face. The film is all punchline and no build-up. This was not a bad way to kick off the 9th Annual Sidewalk Moving Picture Festival, but I want to think the festival has more solid pictures in store for what promises to be the best year yet. On a scale from one to ten, I give "The Ten" - well, enough said.

5/10.
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Tristan #1: Tristan - added 09/29/2007, 09:31 PM
You didn't like Wet Hot American Summer? Are you kidding me? That is one of the funniest movies I've ever seen.
"Fuck you, dyke! I love you."
Classic stuff.
bluemeanie #2: bluemeanie - added 10/01/2007, 12:10 PM
The only scene I liked is when they went into town and were partying and doing heroine. That was funny.
Crispy #3: Crispy - added 10/01/2007, 02:18 PM
Gah, every time someone mentions heroin I get the urge to listen to AiC.
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