Sketch comedy with a nod to Kieslowski? No ten hour stretch for "The Ten," the second film from comedian David Wain, whose debut, cult favorite "Wet Hot American Summer" exudes an appeal that continues to elude us. In a series of intertwined stories introduced and eventually joined by philandering narrator Jeff (Paul Rudd), "The Ten" skitters through the Ten Commandments.
We run hot and cold on the non sequitur-based comedy particular to Wain and his co-writer from "The State" days, Ken Marino. When it works, as in the second and funniest sketch, the tale of a summer-long affair between virginal librarian Gloria (Gretchen Mol) and a Mexican named Jesus (Justin Theroux), who turns out to actually be Jesus, the film is a hilariously straight-faced mash-up of far-ranging references, repurposed genre clichÃ©s, and terrible taste ("Prepare to experience your own second coming," the amorous Jesus informs Gloria). When it doesn’t, as in an odd-for-odd’s sake segment about neighbors competing to purchase CAT scan machines, or another that finds a frantically game Winona Ryder trysting with a ventriloquist’s dummy, we find ourselves checking our watch.
ThinkFilm will release "The Ten" on August 3rd.