This film really got my curiosity going. After all, it contains
one of the year's top ten nude scenes, and it's rated high at IMDb.
Good movie, good nudity ... it has to be a winner, right?
Not exactly. I failed to look below the surface.
Drilling down through the IMDb ratings reveals some interesting
First, the top thousand voters score it only 5.1. This group is
immune to ballot box stuffing because it consists of the people like
me who who cast votes on hundreds or even thousands of movies and
have no axe to grind for any single film or any single studio. The
opinions within that group may be wrong, but they are honest in that
the members of the group are not selling anything and do not stand
to profit from their votes.
Second, women score it 1.7 higher than men. A gap of 1.0
qualifies a film as a serious chick-flick, and 1.7 is up there in
the estrogen stratosphere. That's the third-highest score that I
know of, trailing only Sex and the City (2.4) and Dirty Dancing
(1.9), easily beating such vaginocentric films as Beaches (1.2),
Ya-Ya Sisterhood (1.2), and Traveling Pants (1.1).
Third, the IMDb scores drop significantly after the teen years. People
under 18 score it 9.4. The score drops to 8.4 in the next age group,
which still includes some teenagers. It falls further to 7.1 in the
first demographic group to include no teenagers.
It's essentially a tweener chick-flick, a sentimental rom-com filled
with hackneyed stock characters whose individual sub-plots all come
to predictable happy endings. Imagine four episodes of a WB series
strung together into feature length, and you'll have the right idea.
An aging hippie/surfer runs a sub shop near the beach, and his crew
consists of four young people. (They sell five-inch heroes and ten-inchers.
And the ten-inchers stimulate some lively and ribald, if obvious,
banter with hunky customers. Get it?) The five main characters who
work in the sub shop all find their true loves in the last few
minutes of the film, almost simultaneously. If you watch the first
five minutes of the film and can't figure out exactly what will
happen to each character, it is an indication that you have never
seen any other films.
Having said all of those mean things, let me add that I did not
find it an unpleasant film to watch, and not just because of the
lively sex scenes involving the gorgeous Danneel Harris. There's
nothing wrong with a little open-hearted syrup now and then. I'd
rather watch a film with some sweet sentimental moments than one
with guys waving guns in each other's faces, or one where every
character is a gay junkie poet with a death wish. The main
characters in this film are decent human beings who form strong
friendships, support one another, and learn from their mistakes. As
I watched it alone, I found some of the badinage funny enough to
make me laugh out loud involuntarily, and I felt better after having
watched it. So it's got that whole "feel good" thing workin' for it.
That 5.1 score from the top thousand IMDb voters is too low,
representing evidence of a bias toward guy-flicks in that group. It
is much better than the sorts of films scored in the 5.1 range
because it is pleasantly entertaining enough that a wide range of
people could watch it without reaching for the remote. On the other
hand, it is also unexceptional and predictable, and an overall score
approaching eight should be indicative of an all-time classic, which
Ten Inch Heroes simply is not. Dial M for Murder and Patton, for
example, are rated 8.0. Clearly this film does not belong in that
company. A reasonable rating would be about 6.0.
There are three dates listed above because Ten Inch Heroes was
first screened at festivals two years ago, in the spring of 2007,
and had still not been distributed in North America as of the end of
2008, neither to theaters nor on DVD. (It was released on a Region 2
DVD in Scandinavia in October of 2008.)
The film's MySpace page says it "releases" in the USA in
February of 2009. The authors of that page don't define what they
mean by that, but I'm assuming it means a DVD release rather than
theatrical distribution. If I were a theatrical distributor, I would
not take a chance on this. While I personally enjoyed the R-rated
aspects of the film (two sex scenes and lots of suggestive
dialogue), those elements will work counter-productively for the
film in North American theaters, given that it will play best with
girls 10-17 and the presumptive R rating will prevent them from
buying a ticket.