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Arts and Entertainment

Movie Review: The Ten

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I'm not really sure how to review a movie like The Ten. It's more a collection of skits than a movie anyway and much like, say Jackass or Borat, there's really only one question to answer: is it funny? I would enthusiastically say 'yes' to all three, but the humor in The Ten is so specific that I expect a lot of people won't like it. This was definitely the case in the screening I attended. On several occasions I heard the person sitting to my immediate right audibly begging for the movie to end. Meantime, I was laughing my ass off.

As I mentioned above, the humor in The Ten is of a very distinct type. If you've seen director David Wain's other feature, Wet Hot American Summer or ever watched The State, you'll know what I mean: banal normalcy meets frank absurdism without blinking. This is perfectly illustrated in one of the sketches where Ken Marino and Rob Corddry have a meet-cute in prison which naturally devolves into an affectionate discussion of anal-rape which they laughingly insist must be "against your will".

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If that sort of silliness doesn't at least force a crack of a smile from you, then you're probably better off skipping The Ten. You'll only squirm in your seat. If, on the other hand, you're like me and have a heroic and keenly-developed sense of humor, then this is definitely a movie to check out. The ten shorts that comprise the film are based on the Ten Commandments, but Wain and co-writer Marino are more than willing to deviate from that path if a better joke awaits elsewhere (which is often).

We get Liev Schreiber (who really should do more comedy--he does perfect deadpan) involved in a keeping-up-with-the-Jones's war against his neighbor about who can collect more CAT scanners. There's also Winona Ryder involved in a torrid affair with a wooden dummy (albeit one with a "hard, wooden dick"). And who can forget Marino as a gifted surgeon convicted of murder for intentionally leaving a pair of surgical scissors inside of a patient. His defense in court? It was a goof! Come on, it was just a goof!

The remaining shorts vary in length and quality but all of them are good for at least a few solid laughs (a librarian who loses her virginity to Jesus, Adam Brody as the stuck-in-the-ground boy). My only complaints with the film are the relative absence of hilarious State alumni, Michael Ian Black and Michael Showalter (both appear only in cameos) and the inclusion of the lifeless, utterly incapable as an actress, Jessica Alba, as Paul Rudd's love interest. Sure, she's okay to look at, but wasn't Wain favorite, the lovely Elizabeth Banks available?

The Ten is currently playing in Los Angeles. A trailer is below.

Photos courtesy of ThinkFilm