Tim Lippe has no idea what he's in for when he's sent to Cedar Rapids, Iowa to represent his company at an annual insurance convention, where he soon finds himself under the "guidance" of three convention veterans.
Dispatched from his basement room on an errand for his widowed mother, slacker Jeff might discover his destiny (finally) when he spends the day with his unhappily married brother as he tracks his possibly adulterous wife.
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. Written by
I'm sorry, I had to go, okay?
Because I have to introduce the ten stories. I told this this before, we'll talk about this when I get home, alright? I'm late enough as it is.
"The Ten Commandments" ten stories, alright? You knew about this when you married me, this is what I do.
Hello? Hello? Unbelievable.
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If The Ten, directed by David Wain who helmed Wet Hot American Summer, prior to release had been shipped back to the editing room, hacked to pieces, and renamed "The Three and some random skits from the Other Seven", I may be giving this film a positive review. Unfortunately, it is not as such and thusly we are forced to sit through a number of flat and unfunny parodies that are about the quality of a rejected Mad TV gag. At times the skits careen so wildly of course from the commandments message they are referencing, it becomes inane and incoherent. Let me just say that any movie that achieves in making Paul Rudd unfunny, is dead on arrival.
But, as I indicated above, The Ten is not totally devoid of merit, as there were a few short stories that were actually quite hilarious. These shorts could easily have been helmed by Will Ferrell, just to give you an idea of the style of comedy employed. The Ten even has a simplistically ingenious premise, spinning and warping the messages of the Ten Commandments to the extreme, which results in a sometimes quirky and sometimes disastrous experience. Starring Winona Ryder, who, to give you a clue at the average quality of the material is the love interest of a ventriloquist dummy, Adam Brody, Liev Schreiber, Jessica Alba, Ken Marino, Famke Janssen and others who appear in multiple skits in reoccurring roles. Paul Rudd narrates the interludes between stories, and as I mentioned before, he is given nothing to work with. After being so constantly brilliant in The 40 Year Old Virgin, Knocked Up and even in Friends, it is depressing to view him so lifeless. These intermissions drag so long at times that I simply wanted him to shut up, which is something I have never had the inclination to direct at such a comedic talent in the past.
The stories that succeed the most are those that reference the commandments, thou shall not take the lords name in vain, you shall not bear false witness against your neighbour, thou shall not kill and thou shall not covet thy neighbor's wife. (Which is the conclusion of thou shall not kill) My favourite being the middle former, which constitutes Liev Schreiber competing against his neighbour to collect the most CAT scan machines, and destroying his family in the process. The double part vignette that I enjoyed features Ken Marino as a doctor who leaves a pair of scissors inside a patient as "a goof" and is subsequently sentenced to life in prison; this is thou shall not kill. The second part, is very funny, and constitutes Marino's character coveting his neighbour in prison, longing to be their bitch, instead of that of his current cellmate. If more of the stories had been like this, The Ten could have ended up wildly successful. The stories (or parts of stories) that succeed are those that are clear representations of the source, which follows the golden rule of shows like the Simpson's, in that such a show gets funnier the older the viewer, as more of the satire is familiar.
The ending is just as terrible as the Rudd interludes, which seems to resemble a regurgitated re-imagining of the finale of the 40 Year Old Virgin with the cast erupting in song. It is as if Rudd approached Wain and said that this approach had worked so well in his previous films that they may as well attempt it again. I can't hep but think this could have been successful if it had stayed in a sketch comedy show, but The Ten has no substance for a full length feature. I think they should have preformed one more, lesser known commandment, reading: thou shall not subject thyself to said torment in thy quest for merriment.
View all my reviews at Simon Says Movie Reviews: www.simonsaysmovies.blogspot.com
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