Monday, October 1, 2007

The Ten

The Ten is another movie comprised of a number of shorts- in the same vein as Paris Je t'aime. This movie, unfortunately, was not nearly as good. It takes a comedic route, and gives us ten stories based on the ten commandments. There is a bit of overlap between the stories with the came characters appearing in several of them. Then Ten is a who's who catalog of second tier actors, and a few stars. Jessica Alba, Adam Brody, Rob Corddry, Famke Janssen, Ken Marino, Oliver Platt, Winona Ryder, Liev Schreiber, and Paul Rudd all have roles. Despite the potential, the whole doesn't quite add up to the sum of its parts.

David Wain (Wet Hot American Summer) creates a few very entertaining shorts, but only a few of them. The rest are rather stale, and never really come together. Adam Brody functions as a sort of narrator introducing each story, which also is a story about adultery. This method of tying everything together through these interludes doesn't really work.

Most of the stories are very loosely tied to the commandments they represent. It starts out with a story about a man who gets embedded in the ground after a sky-diving accident, and becomes a TV star (that's vaguely supposed to be about worshiping false idols). One of the segments was grotesquely animated, reminding me of mid 90's MTV animation. Neither of these parts are very good. Most of these just featured slapstick, foul language, and perversion.

Some of the segments were actually very funny. One dealt with a doctor sent to prison for willful negligence. His defense- it was a "goof" (joke). This concept of the goof carried on through much of the movie, and was consistently funny. Another part was about a feud between two neighbors which sparked a competition in buying CAT scan machines- each one trying to buy more than the other. If all the stories had been at this caliber (even the one starring Jesus as a Mexican handyman was good), the movie would have been great. Most of the shorts were not up to snuff.

Everything especially fell apart at the end. The last part was a musical number about men staying home from church- which was funny especially because they were all nude. But this then dissolves into an even bigger musical number featuring the cast from the other shorts. This turned out to be a very poor way to end the movie, and left the audience both confused and a little disillusioned.

I know most of this review was negative, but it wasn't all bad. You will laugh, quite a bit. Some of the segments were excellent, and most of them had at least a little funny. It just doesn't work as a whole piece. It seems that the concept of common themed shorts works better on the serious front- Paris Je t'aime, or Coffee and Cigarettes.


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