If members of The State are involved in a project, there’s a good chance it will be really silly, and an even better chance that I will totally dig it. Also, it will almost definitely involve Paul Rudd. The Ten reunites every member of 90’s cult comedy troupe except for Michael Patrick Jann (due to a scheduling conflict), and adds in a plethora of recognizable actors like Winona Ryder, Jessica Alba, Liev Schreiber, Oliver Platt, Gretchen Mol, Rob Corddry, and Adam Brody. Rudd plays an unhappily married dude with huge prop tablets, dedicating himself to bringing us ten interconnected stories based on the ten commandments, while also dealing with his own problems. The stories involve a sexy trip to Mexico, a war over cat scan machines, a goofing doctor, a flower-pooping, drug-dealing rhinoceros, and a tribe of church-bashing naked dudes- among other elements.
While it doesn’t quite achieve the comedic heights of Wet Hot American Summer, The Ten is still an excellent, weird, and original film whose supreme silliness makes me laugh every time. Like most anthologies, the short films can be hit and miss, but the ones that work really work, and the ones that don’t quite work still have some laughs. For me the highlights are both of Ken Marino’s stints as a lighthearted, murderous doctor who ends up in jail with Rob Corddry, the group of nude, Roberta-Flack-obsessed church-ditchers led by AD Miles, and the warring, coveting, mustachioed neighbors Liev Schreiber and Joe Lo Truglio (seriously the best one). I’m also a fan of how crazy Winona Ryder gets in this movie. I know she can do comedy, but I usually don’t associate her with such zany projects.
Though inspired by the ten commandments, the film is neither religious nor anti-Christian. It just uses the rules as a starting point for some goofy story ideas, which relate quite loosely to the actual commandment. There’s a musical number, awesome cameos (hello, Jon Hamm and Janeane Garofalo!), sex with the son of God, sex with a wooden dummy, and a terrific Arnold Schwarzenegger impersonation. I would have liked more Michael Ian Black, Thomas Lennon, and Michael Showalter (they’re just cameos), but you can’t have it all I guess. It’s just a funny movie, you guys. A funny movie.