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Ten, The (DVD Review)

16 Dec, 2007 By: John Latchem

The Ten

Prebook 12/18/07; Street 1/15/08
City Lights
Box Office $0.8 million
$26.98 DVD
Rated ‘R' for pervasive strong crude sexual content including dialogue and nudity, and for language and some drug material.
Stars Paul Rudd, Adam Brody, Rob Corddry, Famke Janssen, Kerri Kenney-Silver, Ken Marino, Gretchen Mol, Oliver Platt, Winona Ryder, Liev Schreiber, Joe Lo Truglio.

It's one thing to apply a sketch-comedy format to a feature-length film. It's another to find comedic inspiration from the Bible. To combine the two is simply inspired.

The Ten, directed by David Wain and written by Wain and Ken Marino, both of the comedy troupe Stella, presents 10 stories based on the 10 Commandments (the Catholic version, with coveting thy neighbor's wife and goods counted separately).

Guiding us through this journey is Jeff Reigert (Rudd), who during the interstitials argues with his wife (Janssen), then cheats on her with Jessica Alba. He constantly makes reference to the fact that he exists in an empty black space filled by two giant tablets.

The film also has fun with its transition gimmick, which involves a word from the tablet beaming into the similar concept from the sketch (the word “not” beams into a man tying the knot on his shoe).

The comedy is hit or miss, but the performers are having too much fun, and the sketches are so bizarre, that it's hard not to find entertainment in the total package.

The film creates a world all its own, with characters who cross over from one story to the next. The stories include a virginal librarian (Mol) going on vacation in Mexico and being deflowered by Jesus; a white woman telling her two black sons their father is Arnold Schwarzenegger, leading to a hilariously bad impression by Platt; a doctor (Marino) being thrown in jail after jokingly sewing a pair of scissors inside a patient; a skydiver (Brody) forgetting his parachute and surviving the impact, though he is stuck forever in the ground and becomes a celebrity; a newlywed (Ryder) falling in love with a ventriloquist dummy; and two neighbors (Schreiber and Lo Truglio) collecting CAT-scan machines to one-up each other.

What these have to do with the actual commandments is open to interpretation.

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