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Frat Pack Tribute Movie Review: The Ten

Synopsis

Masters of comedy David Wain (“Wet Hot American Summer”) and Ken Marino team up behind the scenes and in front of the camera to create The Ten: a lively, smart, and irreverent film about breaking all the rules.   Directed by Wain and written by Wain and Marino, The Ten presents a series of interconnected comic sketches designed to reinterpret – and reinvent – the Ten Commandments, making them “meaningful” (and funny) to a young, hip, audience of contemporary sinners.  With each story told in a different style, but containing overlapping characters and themes, the film is a grand burlesque boasting an all-star cast that puts the sin back in cinema.

Credits

Review

By Kevin Crossman

With an episodic premise inherent to it's title, it's hard for The Ten to not feel uneven at best. While things move along from vignette to vignette, Paul Rudd provides a welcome host for the entire set of stories. Though there are some fine moments in this ironic comedy, the film rarely reaches heavenly heights.

The episodic feel of The Ten is mitigated somewhat by the fact that many characters appear in more than one segment. For example, cowriter Ken Marino is a principal player in two of the stories ("Thou Shalt Not Kill" and "Thou Shalt Not Covet Thy Neighbor's Wife"), but appears briefly in a couple others. Gretchen Mol and Justin Theroux have some nice chemistry in "Thou Shalt not Take the Lord's Name in Vain", which is another highlight of the movie. Other memorable vignettes include Winona Ryder believably playing a twisted woman who falls in love with a ventriloquist's puppet (ironically in "Thou Shall Not Steal") and Adam Brody becoming a celebrity after a horrific parachute accident. Rob Corddry (Blades of Glory) is good in the "Covet" segment as well.

The film ends on two high notes, with hilarious ensemble pieces featuring Mol's husband (A. D. Miles) who skips church with his family to get naked with his friends and listen to Roberta Flack. This piece segues into an entertaining musical segment featuring the principal characters from throughout the movie. The music is good and provides a very satisfactory conclusion to the movie, in large part because it ties the stories together well.

Frat Pack fans are wondering how Paul Rudd does in a different style of comedy than we're used to seeing him in. While he does a good job as the narrator introducing each of the segments, his chemistry with costars Jessica Alba and Famke Janssen does not ring true and the love triangle is not very interesting. The animated segment featuring Rhinoceros who learns the pitfalls of gossip is another segment that doesn't work.

Overall, there are few outright laughs outside of Ken Marino's twisted catchphrase "that's why they call it rape." So, if we're grading purely on execution The Ten probably gets two beer mugs. But the musical segment and sneaky cross links between the stories do provide an additional set of pleasures for this otherwise uneven movie. The Ten is worth seeing for Frat Pack fans who want to see another style of comedy featuring some familiar faces.

Ten Reason to Love The Ten

by Beth Millman

I know that the Tribute posted some info on The Ten a couple of weeks back when it was released. But I wrote another review for the movie, titled Ten Reasons to Watch The Ten, that I thought might be good for the site. Just thought it would be another interesting way to let people know about this awesome movie.

  1. 1. The State
    Surprisingly, many people still do not know about this awesome show. If you even recognize names like Kevin Allison and David Wain you are way ahead on this one, and like Reno 911, you will be happy to see almost every State member popping up throughout the movie.
  2. 2. Paul Rudd
    Any Frat Pack, Apt Pack, or State fan undoubtedly already knows Paul Rudd, but as always, you can look forward to another great performance. His character here has the great responsibility of narrating us on all ten commandments, while showing his Knocked Up like character’s own flaws in following these particular guidelines.
  3. 3. Friends of The State
    As mentioned earlier almost all members of the group appear, and those paying extra attention will also see cast members of Wet Hot American Summer like A.D. Miles and the female neighbors on Stella, like Rashida Jones (also of The Office).
  4. 4. Friends of The Frat Pack
    Like many other projects, there are overlaps of familiar faces in this movie. Although none of the core Frat Packers appear, there are many friends in big and small appearances such as Winona Ryder, Paul Rudd, and Janeane Garafolo. State/Reno 911 members Thomas Lennon and Robert Ben Garrant wrote Night at the Museum, and member Joe LoTruglio also appeared in Superbad.
  5. 5. Interweaving Characters
    Like episodes of The State and Upright Citizens Brigade, characters pop up again and again, connecting the stories. Goofy doctor Ken Marino and mixed up girlfriend Winona Ryder in particular can be seen more than once.
  6. 6. Cat Scan Machines
    Some of the best parts of this movie are just plain silly. Although this equipment exaggerates and describes a particular commandment, it is hilarious to see two houses full of them...
  7. 7. Puppet Sex
  8. 8. Prison Sex
  9. 9. Cartoon Drug Dealers
  10. 10. Jesus Christ’s Girlfriend

(7-10 you’ll just have to watch and see what they have to do with the Ten Commandments!)

Trailer

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