I am always up for celebrating a celebrity birthday in the vault, and there was no way I was going to let one of my favorite of favorite actors, Mr. Paul Rudd, turn 43 without giving him a shout out.Though he’s been in “the biz” going on twenty years, it wasn’t until the mid-2000s when he found his niche as a charismatic go-to comedy star. I have openly admitted to my man crush, and whenever the opportunity arises, I like to dip into his filmography and watch something that I had somehow missed. The Ten is one such movie.
Jeff Reigert (Paul Rudd) stands alone in an expanse of blackness. The only thing adorning the space is a set of massive stone tablets upon which the Ten Commandments are written. As our host, Jeff is here to introduce ten short stories, each inspired by a commandment, assuming he can keep the kerfuffle with his wife Gretchen (Famke Janssen) and his new friend Liz (Jessica Alba) from interrupting the flow.
Our first, um, imaginative parable involves Stephen Montgomery (Adam Brody), an enthusiastic if not overly bright young man who survives a tragic mishap. His fiancee Kelly (Winona Ryder), a woman with a loose screw or two of her own, goes on to be featured in a different parable with the local TV reporter, Louis La Fonda (Mather Zickel), who covers Stephen’s unique situation. Stephen’s doctor, Glenn Richie (Ken Marino), winds up as the subject in a couple of other tales thanks to his lack of professionalism. As you can guess, all of the ten stories interconnect in some way, although connecting Gloria (Gretchen Mol), the horny librarian, a drug-dealing rhinoceros (H. Jon Benjamin), and Jesus Christ (Justin Theroux) to the rest takes a bit more work.
Writer-director David Wain, known for The State, Wet Hot American Summer and Role Models, co-wrote The Ten with Ken Marino. The quirky, random nature of The Ten is reminiscent of Mel Brook’s History of the World: Part I or Amazon Women on the Moon, both of which you can one day expect to receive the vault treatment. The stories range from outrageously funny to brow-crinklingly strange. Some stories I wanted more of them, others I wanted more from them.
Luckily, with just over a ninety-minute runtime, each segment lasts only about eight or nine minutes, which still leaves plenty of time for a sing-a-long. Since it’s a series of shorts, if you don’t find a particular commandment-inspired parable to your liking, you can always skip ahead. To me, it was worth watching to see some of my favorite comedic actors. And to you, Mr. Rudd, I wish a very happy birthday, and please know if you are ever in my neighborhood, you are welcome to come by and take a shit.