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By Mark Bell | August 4, 2007

Maybe it’s my Baptist upbringing, but I can’t tell you all of the Ten Commandments no matter how hard I concentrate on the topic. Like most Americans, my attention span runs short and I stop somewhere along the lines of “Don’t, uh, kill… Lord’s name in vain… adultery;” so when I heard that there was a vignette-style film based on the Ten Commandments, I immediately assumed that maybe one or two commandments would be worth covering, and then it’d get boring. Then I heard that David Wain, and by proxy most of the members of the early 90’s comedy troupe “The State,” was involved and my opinion shifted.

I love “The State.” LOVE “The State.” I still routinely try to dip my balls in it, and fear of even remotely mentioning killing the president out of the belief that the Secret Service will immediately snatch me from safe environs, joke or no. So to say a film that started with low expectations was suddenly re-positioned as a film brewing with expectations too high to ever be lived up to would be correct in this case, and I sat down thinking that, when all was said and done, I’d either have a review that said “‘The Ten’ goes all the way to eleven!” or would be negative along the lines of “Two out of three ain’t bad, unless you call yourself ‘The Ten’!” (for the record, I know they both suck). Instead I found myself middle-grounding the film.

I wouldn’t say that the film hits and misses, because there weren’t any moments where I felt that the jokes were falling flat but, likewise, I wasn’t all that blown away by a lot of the bits either. Having Winona Ryder fall in love with a ventriloquist’s dummy, or having a virginal Gretchen Mol sleep with Jesus Christ is on the face humorous, and save the Paul Rudd commandment introductions the transitions and theme-flow felt very “The State”-like but… this was no comedic home run. It a single with potential for a double, if you’re willing to make an error in the outfield.

Let’s talk about Paul Rudd. I think he may be in every film in 2007 and that’s okay by me, because Paul Rudd has become an acting Man-God. Let’s face it, he’s been partnered with some of the most gorgeous women in cinema today and, despite the fact that he’s no Brad Pitt, no matter what movie he’s in, you actually BELIEVE that Paul Rudd could be with them. Why? I have no idea, he’s the rare mix of total goof and sex icon. 2007 is the year of “The Rudd.”

But I digress, and I admit to feeling bad that in a review about a film called “The Ten,” I spend most of my time praising “The State” and Paul Rudd. To director David Wain, I am sorry for that, but can you fault me for expecting so much from you and your comedic team? Unfair or no, “The Ten” is closer to a six, or for the sake of our rating system here at Film Threat, a three. Or maybe I loved it, and this whole review is just a goof.

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