The Ten

"Very Good"

The Ten Review


In a sane, level-headed and clear-eyed world, early '90s sketch group The State (also a TV show) would still be practicing their ambitious and absurd brand of screwball comedy. Sadly, Scooter Libby gets fresh air and sunshine while the boys and girls of The State have been relegated to obscurity, scattering like cockroaches in a well-lit kitchen to different comedic prospects. Most of the members found their way to Comedy Central's cannily-hilarious Reno 911! where State leads Thomas Lennon, Ben Garant, and Kerri Kenney are series cornerstones. Almost every other member of the troupe has made a recurring or cameo spot on the program but the effect has never been as lively or precarious as the best moments of The State.

With a few celebrities on board, the group assembles (with a few exceptions) for key member David Wain's The Ten, a foul-mouthed, dirty-as-diapers, Republican-baiting retelling of the Ten Commandments. The stories are stitched together by a loose narrative thread involving a man (Paul Rudd) serving as narrator who is leaving his wife (Famke Janssen) for a younger ditz (Jessica Alba).

A natural symptom of films structured by sketch-comedy troupes is the episodic choppiness of the film's narrative. Wisely, Wain picks a subject that relates to this structure and does his best to string them together in a loose thematic construct. As expected, some commandments are just plain funnier than others. The funnier episodes bubble over with erratic wit: an animated rhino's travels, Winona Ryder falling in love with a ventriloquist dummy, Liev Schreiber squaring-off against Joe Lo Truglio to see who can get more MRI machines, Rob Corddry and Ken Marino falling in love in prison, Gretchen Mol having a wild affair with Jesus Christ (the ever-elusive Justin Theroux).

You've got to give credit to Wain and his cast that more than 50 percent of these sketches don't suck. With the exception of a flimsy Woody Allen spoof and a plodding take on "Honor Thy Father and Mother" that finds two black kids believing their father is Arnold Schwarzenegger, the sketches take pleasures in detailed laughs that consider tone and delivery above the actual setup of the joke. In fact, the biggest laughs come from moments as insignificant as a doctor (Ken Marino) describing medical malfeasance as "just a goof" to a hothead detective (Liev Schreiber).

Of course, very few of these moments match-up towards the more classic moments of The State, but most of them equal or eclipse Wain's previous effort, Wet Hot American Summer (although nothing here measures up to Christopher Meloni's mumbling camp chef). The comedy here is socially relevant in only the slightest of ways, allowing for the troupe's inherent silliness to loosen up any pretentious idea of satirical grandstanding. The best moments, however, comes when the absurdity is rooted in stereotype, like Thomas Lennon's classic Old Man sketch. Still, I guess there's no getting around the fact that both Moses and Kieslowski (The Decalogue) are rolling in their graves.

Now that's a party.



The Ten

Facts and Figures

Run time: 96 mins

In Theaters: Thursday 21st August 2008

Box Office USA: $0.5M

Distributed by: ThinkFilm

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 37%
Fresh: 30 Rotten: 51

IMDB: 5.1 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: Morris S. Levy, , , ,

Starring: as Jeff Reigert, as Stephen Montgomery, as Skydiving Guide Chris Knarl, as Kelly La Fonda, as Dr. Glenn Richie, Ali Marsh as 'Entertainment Beat' Host George Reardon, as Fielding Barnes, as Ray Johnson, as Liz Anne Blazer, as Jake Johnson, as Scotty Pale, as Gretchen Reigert, as Tony Contiella, as Jesus H. Christ, as Marty McBride, as Duane Rosenblum, as Nuclear Powerplant Shift Supervisor Beth Soden, as Hostess Rebecca Fornier, as Prison Guard Jamberg Saivon, as Paul Mardino, as Prosecutor / Tour Guide Barge Michaelson, as Gloria Jennings

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

After the thunderous reception for J.J. Abrams' Episode VII: The Force Awakens two years ago,...

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Like the 2015 original, this comedy plays merrily with cliches to tell a silly story...

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

There's a somewhat contrived jauntiness to this blending of fact and fiction that may leave...

Ferdinand Movie Review

Ferdinand Movie Review

This animated comedy adventure is based on the beloved children's book, which was published in...

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Director Dave McCary makes a superb feature debut with this offbeat black comedy, which explores...

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

A dramatisation of the real-life clash between tennis icons Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs,...

Shot Caller Movie Review

Shot Caller Movie Review

There isn't much subtlety to this prison thriller, but it's edgy enough to hold the...

Advertisement
The Disaster Artist Movie Review

The Disaster Artist Movie Review

A hilariously outrageous story based on real events, this film recounts the making of the...

Stronger Movie Review

Stronger Movie Review

Based on a true story about the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, this looks like one...

Only the Brave Movie Review

Only the Brave Movie Review

Based on a genuinely moving true story, this film undercuts the realism by pushing its...

Wonder Movie Review

Wonder Movie Review

This film may be based on RJ Palacio's fictional bestseller, but it approaches its story...

Happy End  Movie Review

Happy End Movie Review

Austrian auteur Michael Haneke isn't known for his light touch, but rather for hard-hitting, award-winning...

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Seemingly from out of nowhere, this film generates perhaps the biggest smile of any movie...

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

A Victorian thriller with rather heavy echoes of Jack the Ripper, this film struggles to...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.