Length: 96 minutes
Director: David Wain (Wet Hot American Summer; “The State”)
Writers: David Wain (Wet Hot American Summer; “The State”) and Ken Marino (“The State”)
Starring: Winona Ryder, Jessica Alba, Paul Rudd, Adam Brody, Gretchen Mol, Justin Theroux, Famke Janssen, Leiv Schreiber, Janeane Garafolo, Thomas Lennon, Michael Ian Black, Kerri Kenney, Oliver Platt, Ken Marino, Michael Showalter, Ron Silver, A.D. Miles, David Wain, Zak Orth, Joe Lo Truglio, Todd Holoubek, Rob Corddry, Ali Marsh, Rashida Jones, Peter Salett, Craig Wedren
While a couple of key members of MTV’s infamous ‘90’s comedy troupe The State went on to achieve well deserved stardom through Comedy Central’s “Reno 911!”, the other members have been working on projects that they hope will get them the same sort of notoriety. In 2001, David Wain, The State member who directed the majority of the episodes, made “Wet Hot American Summer” based on a script he and fellow State alumni Michael Showalter wrote that spoofed ‘80’s summer camp movies. It earned a spot on “Entertainment Weekly”’s Top Ten Best Movies of the Year and has since developed a strong cult following. Wain, Showalter, and another State brother (though you may know him best from VH1’s “I Love the ‘80’s or ‘90’s” or whatever) Michael Ian Black followed the movie up with the brilliant, but short lived Comedy Central sitcom “Stella” (way too clever for it’s own good unfortunately- seriously underappreciated). Now, after seven long years, Wain has finally brought us another feature film. Unfortunately, it doesn’t even come close to the brilliance of “Wet Hot American Summer” or even “Stella”. Not to say that it doesn’t have it’s moments, parts of the movie are absolutely hilarious, but as a whole it’s hard not to say that it’s a giant let down. The premise is perfect for Wain and his State pals- ten sketches based on the Ten Commandments. I mean, these guys mastered the sketch format. They set the bar for them and yet, somehow, this movie seems like a pale version of some “State” sketches- the few that didn’t really work- you know, they still made you chuckle, but you could take solace in the fact that one of the upcoming sketches would make up for it. Those “make up” sketches are too far and between in “The Ten”. Perhaps the biggest problem lies in the need to have a linear storyline in between the sketches involving Paul Rudd and a love triangle involving his wife (Famke Janssen) and his mistress (Jessica Alba- who’s not as bad here as the critics have said, she has good comic timing when she tries). When a sketch does work- especially the Winona Ryder/puppet one (Ryder gives one of her all time best performances here)- the movie is brought to a screeching halt when it comes back to Rudd and his “girl” problems. They aren’t necessary. The movie could have been much more successful with just the ten set of skits and maybe a black screen with white letters introducing them. Nothing against Rudd, Janssen, or Alba, but their bits kill the movie, and it’s especially obvious after the skits that fall flat (the competing neighbors bit for example). Maybe I was just too stoked for this due to my love for “Wet Hot”, I don’t know. It just didn’t live up to expectations. When you have a sketch movie that is being presented to you by the Monty Pythons of our generation and it doesn’t make you cry laughing, then there just has to be something wrong. Thou shall not underachieve.
Download Soundtrack MP3:
Peter Salett- The End of the End of the Ten (right click “save as”)