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Code Name: The Cleaner
Hopefully they can clean it up before the release
Code Name: The Cleaner
Lucy Liu and Cedric The Entertainer Star in "Code Name: The Cleaner".
OPENING WEEKEND: $19,000,000
DOMESTIC TOTAL: $61,000,000
  This Film is NOT a Future Release.
  The Following Preview has been Archived.

August 15th, 2006: Jake (Cedric the Entertainer) has amnesia. In a case of mistaken identity, he has come to believe that he is an undercover agent, when in fact he is only a janitor. As a result, he becomes entangled in a dangerous government conspiracy. Subconsciously, he holds a key piece of information that could expose the CIA and FBI’s involvement in illegal arms operations and consequently becomes a vital asset to two attractive women. Gina (Lucy Liu) is an agent involved in the case, who begins to fall in love with Jake while trying to uncover what he knows. Adding to the intrigue is a femme fatale (Nicolette Sheridan) that has her own intentions with the hapless guy. Unsure of whom he can trust in this dangerous game, Jake is at the mercy of others.

What to Expect: The pilot and his two copilots on this mission have a solid record of returning just about every single plane they’ve taken up, shattered into smithereens. I’m speaking about writers Robert Adetuyi and George Gallo and director Les Mayfield, who are the ones steering Code Name: The Cleaner. Adetuyi comes in with only one film to his credit, the highly unnecessary crime drama Turn It Up, which served primarily as a promotional vehicle for rappers Ja Rule and Pras. Gallo, on the other hand, started out promising when he wrote the screenplay for the Robert De Niro-Charles Grodin buddy action-comedy, Midnight Run. Things soon turned for the worse with scripts for the abominable Trapped in Paradise, Double Take, See Spot Run, and The Whole Ten Yards. Unfortunately, Mayfield’s record as a director isn’t superior. He’s helmed several atrocities, including Encino Man, Flubber, Blue Streak, American Outlaws, and especially his latest offering, The Man, which tanked at the box-office and won no brownie points with the critics either. His films typically feature outlandish characters that behave erratically and irrationally for the singular purpose of garnering a few obvious laughs. Mayfield’s comedies feel more like big-budget, feature length sitcoms than like movies.

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I don’t really object to the cast, however. Both Cedric the Entertainer and Lucy Liu are likeable enough to carry the picture. Sure, their romance is probably just another implausible case of the overweight, comic figure landing the attractive girl, but it is an odd pairing that may produce its share of potentially amusing moments. For Nicollette Sheridan, whose career has been resurrected thanks to the immensely popular television show “Desperate Housewives,” the film marks her first noteworthy theatrical release in nearly a decade. Ironically, her last significant feature film was Beverly Hills Ninja, which also revolved around an oblivious fat guy in perilous situations, as played by the great, late Chris Farley. She took over the role after Elizabeth Hurley bailed and I personally would have preferred to see Hurley in the part. Finally, martial arts expert Mark Dacascos, who some may remember from prominent parts in films like The Brotherhood of the Wolf and Double Dragon, hopes to get some more exposure. The Hawaiian-born actor has garnered quite a cult following thanks to his fighting prowess and numerous B-movie roles and will have many fans cheering him on once again.

Code Name: The Cleaner is essentially a parody of The Bourne Supremacy, although “parody” may be too fancy of a word to describe what the film’s content is likely to be. The pairing of a black comedian with the world of action and martial arts is reminiscent of the Rush Hour movies. I have never been a fan of those so a tired imitation may be even more arduous to sit through. I’m most concerned that there are going to be the inevitable scenes of Cedric the Entertainer’s character trying to scare-off his adversaries by pretending to know kung fu. You know what scenes I’m talking about – where the hero makes a bad poker face, throws his arms around, makes a lot of noise and hopes that his opponents will run away from fear. If this film will feature Cedric in any type of action like that, then the picture has no chance.

Sadly and unsurprisingly, the movie has done poorly at test screenings, prompting the filmmakers to go back, re-touch, and even re-shoot some scenes. As a result, the film’s release date has been pushed back from its original slot by nearly a year. That kind of buzz can only spell disaster.

In Conclusion: As long as movies like Blue Streak, Big Momma’s House, and Rush Hour are raking in cash, there will always be room for another dumb, undercover cop, action-comedy. I may have had enough, but for millions of people there is an infinite desire for cheesy entertainment and you can’t blame the studios for capitalizing or exploiting those needs. The film probably will not do much in advancing the careers of anyone on board, except maybe Dacascos. As bad as it may be shaping up to be, I still guarantee that Code Name: The Cleaner will sell plenty of tickets. The title, however, is truly weak and could use some tweaking.

Similar Titles: The Pink Panther (2006), Blue Streak, Big Momma’s House 2
January 5th, 2007 (wide)
April 24th, 2007 (DVD)

New Line Cinema

Les Mayfield

Lucy Liu, Cedric The Entertainer, DeRay Davis, Nicollette Sheridan, Mark Dacascos, Will Patton

Total: 47 vote(s).

Action & Adventure, Comedy

Click here to view site

Rated PG-13 for sexual content, crude humor and some violence.

91 min





Code Name: The Cleaner at AskMen.com

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