A struggling dentist's life is turned upside down when a famous gangster moves in next door, and his wife convinces him to inform a notorious mob boss about the gangster's whereabouts.A struggling dentist's life is turned upside down when a famous gangster moves in next door, and his wife convinces him to inform a notorious mob boss about the gangster's whereabouts.A struggling dentist's life is turned upside down when a famous gangster moves in next door, and his wife convinces him to inform a notorious mob boss about the gangster's whereabouts.
Matthew Perry is one of my favorite comedic actors in that he's kind of a throwback to the light comedy fare of Jack Lemmon and Tom Hanks: handsome, charming and an utter neurotic mess with a sharp self-deprecating wit with his nonchalant sarcastic jibing that is all play and totally harmless, with a twist of slapstick. Here all of that is on display with a finely tuned tailor made character not unlike his tv alter ego, Chandler Bing (love that name!) from `Friends'.
Oz Oseransky is a mild-mannered affable dentist whose life is in flux when his trampy French accented wife Sophie (Arquette in full blown voluptuosness) decides she wants to end their marriage. But not by the usual traditional method of divorce or anulment; instead she takes out a contract on his life Enter newly arrived next-door-neighbor Jimmy `The Tulip' Tudeski (Willis in barely restrained comic form) a hitman keeping it low since there's a contract on him by a really ticked off Russian thug (Pollak oozing Eurotrash unctuousness). But when Oz's wife approaches him he is hard-pressed to do what comes natural since Oz turns out to be the good neighbor he never had and an unlikely ally as things progress in the plotline that eventually involves Jimmy's estranged, va-va-va voom wife Cynthia (Henstridge, best known as the sexy alien in the `Species' sci-fi flicks) who wants a divorce but knows that it's more likely a hit would be necessary.
Meanwhile Oz is struck by love at first sight when he meets Mrs. Jimmy and winds up bedding her (in spite of the fact he knows who Jimmy is after some hilarious reaction shots as the story moves on with each new trickle of information on his new `friend'), which only complicates things when Jimmy announces he is going to `whack' her and Janni, the mad Russian.
Perry is a marvelous reactionary actor and plays very well off a unique ensemble including the babelicious Peet as Jill, his receptionist- turned - assassin - wannabe , who has a knack for displaying her natural assets to dissuade any potential violent threat and Duncan (recently nominated for a Best Supporting Actor as the gentle giant in `The Green Mile') has a sweet low-key turn as the hulking pal of Willis who provides some funny sight gags (including his first meeting with Perry who literally bounces off this wall of a man).
Yet no matter how game the cast is - including off the wall comic Harland Williams as another seedy character who doesn't appear to be who he claims to be - and the fast pace of the storyline, there aren't that many memorable lines of dialogue or full grasp that a lethal killer like Jimmy actually has a heart of gold for the likes of a schnook like Oz.
It would be easy to blame the less than compelling story line on screenwriter Mitchell Kapner (who gives an original spin on a plot twist and complex scenario involving dental records and a corpse) or director Jonathan Lynn (`My Cousin Vinny'), but both make the best overall. It just isn't a fresh idea (think of `The In-Laws' which set the high water mark for odd couple/fish-out-of-water hybrid with a criminal element) that seems to hook the attention of a much needed audience. But it is divertingly fun just to see Perry slamming himself silly like a pinball.
- Apr 27, 2004