The Whole Nine Yards is amusing, innovative, and has the right mix of fun and suspense to make for an enjoyable, entertaining, and wholesome movie outing.
The plot is fairly novel: Jimmy "the Tulip" Tudeski (Bruce Willis) is a notorious Chicago gangster who moves next door to Nicholas "Oz" Oseransky (Matthew Perry). Oz is a struggling dentist living in Montreal, married to Sophie (Rosanna Arquette), who wants him only for his money. Sophie is so desperate that she hires hit men to go after Oz in the hopes of collecting on his life insurance. In addition, she sends him off on a mission to collect a reward on Jimmy put out by Janni Gogolak (Kevin Pollak), whose father was ratted on by Jimmy. Sophie then tells of this plan to Jimmy, with the hopes that Oz will meet his demise one way or another.
The movie gets pretty complicated in terms of the plot: Jill St. Claire (Amanda Peet), Oz's assistant, turns out to be more than what he thought; Oz falls for Jimmy's wife Cynthia (Natasha Henstridge) who Jimmy wants killed, which leads to a conflict with Jimmy; An undercover cop and Oz's dental skills provide the vehicle for their eventual makeup, and the happy ending.
There are plenty of amusing moments in the film scattered throughout, and they're done independently of the plot itself (in other words, you could find the plot disagreeable but still find the humour funny and vice versa). There's a lot going on in this film which includes gangster-film intrigue, sentimental romance, and just plain cheesiness.
The actors present fine performances, which is what makes the film work. Amanda Peet is refreshingly sweet and convincing as she gushes over Jimmy's lifestyle (which she wants to emulate). Bruce Willis does a fair job as rugged and tough gangster, walking around with a twinkle in his eye, aware of the nature of the comedy that he is a part of. Michael Clarke Duncan, who plays a role here that's very different from his great performance in The Green Mile, is solid. Matthew Perry, surprisingly enough, pulls of the amazing task of being the funny glue holding all the little intricacies together.
The film is one of the more amusing ones I've seen this year (even though that's not saying very much). It's hard to find fault with it: the script, the execution, and the pacing is as good as it gets. I highly recommend checking it out.