Movie Critics Call ‘The Ten’ Not Funny

The Ten, a movie that spoofs the Ten Commandments, is not funny, according to many movie critics who weighed in on the film.

The movie is comprised of ten vignettes, each supposed to tackle one of the Ten Commandments in a humorous way.

But some movie critics are not laughing.

"The Ten is a comedy that never actually makes you laugh. Out loud, anyway," said Lisa Slade in a review for Knoxville's Metro Pulse. "The humor is juvenile, immature and underdeveloped. It's either taken too far – as when a man skydives, forgets his parachute and crashes into the ground, where he has to remain for the rest of his life – or it just doesn't make sense."

Gene Seymour of Newsday said that while he has no qualms with the movie's naughty spin of stories relating to the Ten Commandments, he does have a problem when he's "waiting too long to laugh at them."

"You really have to be in the mood to get into The Ten's forced goofiness," said Seymour in his review. "Just what that mood would be, though, is hard to imagine."

In the movie, actor Paul Rudd plays Jeff, a man struggling in an adulterous relationship, who narrates each short story parodying on of the biblical commandments. Among the stories in the pile, one includes a spoof on the commandment "Thou shalt not take the Lord's name in vain" in which a virtuous librarian (Gretchen Mol) experiences a sexual awakening during her trip to Mexico with local handyman named Jesus H. Christ. In another clip, based on the commandment "Thou shalt not steal," Winona Ryder plays a recently married woman who during her honeymoon lusts over and eventually steals a talking ventriloquist's dummy.

Even fans of the movie's director, David Wain, whose previous work includes Wet Hot American Summer, said the movie falls short.

"The drift that occurs under Wain's direction from genuine silliness toward forced humor is a disappointment," said Melissa Starker in a review for Columbus Alive.

Critics who did detect a modicum of humor in the series of loosely relevant stories, acknowledged that the humor was cynical and not for everyone.

Jim Wunderle, who reviewed the film for the Springfield Business Journal Staff, called The Ten "an extremely dark comedy that many people will find entirely sacrilegious."

"Others will laugh," wrote Wunderle, "and I suspect many more will laugh all the while thinking, 'This is so wrong.'"

"I get that The Ten is supposed to be a small politically incorrect satirical riff on religious extremism," Sara Michelle Fetters said in a review on MovieFreak.com. "The fact the thing is utterly horrific is just downright stunning."

While Fetters admitted that she did laugh during one vignette at the sight of a pack of supposedly "straight" men lounging at a church leader's suburban home after skipping church, she described the scene as "an absurd sight."

"I'm not sure how this has anything remotely poignant to say about keeping the Sabbath Day holy," said Fetters, who summed up the film as a "horrid, totally unappealing mess."

Overall, most movie critics said the movie lacked relevancy in the stories' satire of the Ten Commandments and had structural problems.

"Anytime you compile a series of vignettes and call it a feature film, you're going to have hits and misses. It's the nature of the structure," reviewed Christy Lemire of the Associated Press. "'The Ten,' unfortunately, has more misses."

While she recognizes that no viewer walks into the film expecting "complex humor," she still holds that "some of these shorts are really reaching."

But criticism to the film is not anything new. Even before the film was being released, some Christians expressed concern over the movie as a sign of growing antagonism toward Christianity and religion in America.

Dr. Ted Baehr, chairman of the Christian Film and Television Commission, said the film represents a "very negative attack on faith and values," according to World Net Daily.

"It's very sad society has descended into this attack mode," stated Baehr.

But Wain has denied any ill-intentions of the film toward religion.

"It's all in good fun. There's no over-arching political or religious point we're trying to make," Wain said. "It's an innocent and sweet movie, not a screw-you-religion [movie] on any level. It's just using the Ten Commandments as a jumping-off point for these ten comedic stories."

The Ten is rated R for pervasive strong crude sexual content including dialogue and nudity, and for language and some drug material.