Home > Reviews > THE WHOLE NINE YARDS – Randy Edelman


February 18, 2000 Leave a comment Go to comments

wholenineyardsOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

Just what the world has been waiting for – a new Randy Edelman score. After spending 1999 as a virtual bystander, the synthmeister has burst back onto the film scoring scene with an incredible five scores in just over than twelve weeks, the first of which is this one: the gangster comedy The Whole Nine Yards. A smash hit in America, the film stars Bruce Willis as good-natured hitman Jimmy the Tulip who, in an attempt to get away from the gaze of the authorities, moves into a new house in suburban Montreal. However, dentist Matthew Perry does not take kindly to his new neighbour, and hi-jinks ensue – especially when the men in dark glasses start appearing at his front door! The film is directed by Jonathan Lynn, who previously made My Cousin Vinny and The Distinguished Gentleman, and co-stars Rosanna Arquette, Natasha Henstridge, Kevin Pollak and Oscar-nominee Michael Clarke Duncan.

Edelman’s original music is a light-hearted and contemporary mix, but one which never really goes anywhere or does anything other than be “serviceable”. It runs the gamut of styles, with mock-tense “creeping around” music (‘The Gogolak Mansion’, ‘The Gang Arrives in Montreal’, ‘Phone Tag’), pseudo-seductive pastiches (‘Cynthia with a C’), swaggering big band rock (‘I Think We’ll Be Fine’, ‘Taking a Stand’), a barely hidden Nino Rota rip-off (‘Discovering the Evidence’), and a load of post-Moroder electronic babbling (‘Frankie Figs’, ‘Scheming on the Boat’, ‘The Game’s Afoot’). Generally, though, The Whole Nine Yards contains far too much synth, and this is a problem which has dogged Edelman for a long time. Although I appreciate that Edelman has to conform to the style and tone of the film, and that something big and lush would have been out of place, surely regressing to the synthesised banality of the early 80s was a little unnecessary.

The theme for ‘Jimmy the Tulip’, heard in the first track and subsequently in ‘A Swingin Barbecue’ and ‘The Tulip Reprise’, is a bizarre affair, and one of the most annoying single pieces of Edelman’s career. It’s a loud, obnoxious, strangely amateurish piece, combining an extremely deep saxophone solo with an irritatingly erratic snare with an intermittent double bass, Hammond organ chords and a wash of strings. It’s one of those themes which, if it catches you off guard, can make you screw your face up in anguish at the sheer hideousness of it all – which is exactly the reaction elicited from me upon hearing the first cue.

Of the 22 cues, all of which run for under 2 minutes, one of the best is ‘Did You Say Divorce’, which begins with a soft, sentimental trumpet solo before leaping away again into more predictable rock. The dramatic ‘Yanni on a String’ seems very out of place in this company, but nevertheless manages to work a powerful orchestral lament into the proceedings before disappearing forever. ‘Say I Do’ and ‘Sensuous Lady’ contain by far the nicest music, a sweet and tender synth/string love theme which, despite being remarkably similar to the theme from Dragonheart, only succeeds in reminding the world what a good composer Edelman can be when he is in the right frame of mind.

Six songs pad out the rest of the CD, most of which are light jazz with a sultry vocal or instrumental soloist. Mose Allison’s ‘I Don’t Worry About A Thing’ is pretty good, the Cubanismo beat of ‘Every Time I Hear That Mellow Saxophone’ is lively enough, and Charles Mingus’s ‘Moanin’ will be familiar to British readers (it was recently used as underscore on a series of successful commercials), but the rest are merely space-fillers. The credits say that Bruce Willis performs ‘Tenth Avenue Tango’, but unless he’s playing the guitar, the harmonica or a trumpet, is difficult to understand exactly what his musical contribution is exactly.

There are very few scores which actually annoy me while I am listening to them, but The Whole Nine Yards actually managed to achieve this unenviable feat. Usually, I quite enjoy Randy Edelman’s work, as earlier scores such as Gettysburg, Dragonheart and Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story attest. Unfortunately, it seems that all of Edelman’s popular tricks failed to emerge from the bag this time around, and we’ll just have to hope that The Skulls, The Gelfin, Passion of Mind and Shanghai Noon find him in better form.

Rating: **

Track Listing:

  • Jimmy the Tulip (1:11)
  • I Don’t Worry About A Thing (written and performed by Mose Allison) (2:15)
  • A New Neighbour (1:20)
  • Moanin (written and performed by Charles Mingus) (7:57)
  • Did You Say Divorce? (1:03)
  • Tenth Avenue Tango (written by Robben Ford, performed by Bruce Willis) (4:02)
  • The Gogolak Mansion (1:08)
  • Every Time I Hear That Mellow Saxophone (written by Ray Montrell, John Marascalco and Robert Blackwell, performed by The Up Top Orchestra) (1:59)
  • Cynthis With A “C” (1:00)
  • Autumn Leaves (Les Fouilles Mortes) (written by Joseph Kosma, Jacques Prevert and Johnny Mercer, performed by The Charlie Biddle Trio featuring Stephanie Biddle) (3:45)
  • Yanni on a String (1:06)
  • Frankie Figs (1:42)
  • The Gang Arrives in Montreal (1:41)
  • A Swingin’ Barbecue (1:20)
  • Oz Gets a Surprise (1:55)
  • Say I Do (1:22)
  • I Think We’ll Be Fine (1:12)
  • Phone Tag (1:56)
  • Frantic (1:53)
  • Sensuous Lady (1:52)
  • Scheming on a Boat (1:17)
  • Taking a Stand (1:07)
  • Discovering the Evidence (1:04)
  • The Games’ Afoot (1:49)
  • Sophie Cons Jimmy (0:50)
  • The Scientific Method (1:53)
  • The Tulip Reprise (1:38)
  • They All Laughed (written by Ira Gershwin and George Gershwin, performed by The Charlie Biddle Trio featuring Stephanie Biddle) (3:35)

Running Time: 56 minutes 51 seconds

Varèse Sarabande VSD-6114 (2000)

Music composed and conducted by Randy Edelman. Recorded and mixed by Elton Ahi. Edited by E. Gedney Webb. Album produced by Randy Edelman.

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