Year Released: 2007
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 84 minutes
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I was as surprised as anyone to learn that Les Mayfield, director of 2005’s laughless wonder “The Man,” was allowed to point a camera at actors again. After enduring that atrocity, I felt sure Mayfield and his entire family would’ve been marched to a private CIA prison in Bulgaria and set upon with horsewhips and cattle prods before being deposited in shallow, unmarked graves.
Then again, as Charles Keating could no doubt tell you, justice is but a pipe dream in God’s America.
Mayfield’s latest, “Code Name: The Cleaner,” is notable not merely because it’s as bad as its predecessor, but because one has a hard time believing anyone would bother. Considering all the effort and manpower that goes into producing a major Hollywood release, it’s almost inconceivable that someone – during the lengthy filmmaking process – didn’t set fire to the film canisters and dust off their hands, confident they’d helped make a finer world.
Cedric the Entertainer plays Jake Rodgers, a man who wakes one morning in a strange hotel room next to a dead FBI agent and a suitcase full of cash. Rather than call the proper authorities, he grabs the money and hightails it out of there. He’s intercepted in the hallway by a woman named Diane (Nicollette Sheridan), who whisks Jake to a country estate she claims is his. Jake is prepared to believe all this, in spite of some troublesome flashbacks in which he appears to be the world’s flabbiest Navy SEAL, until he overhears Diane plotting to inject him with truth serum. Before you can say, “original kings of comedy,” he’s off to find out the truth behind his amnesia and whether or not he really is – as he suspects – a secret agent.
There’s more, involving Lucy Liu as a waitress, a mysterious microchip, and a janitor that wants to rap, but I’ve already wasted enough of my life on this. Sheridan looks haggard enough to make you believe they’re filming her through gauze on “Desperate Housewives,” and I humbly submit that Cedric the Entertainer be required to give up the “Entertainer” portion of his nom de plume until he actually starts entertaining us. He’s seems to be an agreeable fellow, and a little of that comes through here, but there are more laughs in one of his 30-second beer commercials than in the entirety of “Code Name: The Cleaner.”
Posted on January 7, 2007 in Reviews by Pete Vonder Haar
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