By Fred Topel | Image property of New Line Cinema.
Code Name: The Cleaner
I'm trying to figure out what made Hollywood start giving Cedric the Entertainer comedy vehicles. His only hits are the Barbershops and that was because of a very specific controversy. Yeah, Original Kings of Comedy did well, but every Johnson Family Vacation, Man of the House or Honeymooners just become instant DVD catalog titles.
Review: Code Name: The Cleaner
Code Name: The Cleaner should fit in perfectly. This time, Cedric plays an amnesiac who finds women manipulating him and government agents chasing him for some chip he can't remember. He bumbles his way through action scenes and discovers his true identity.
Cedric's style of humor seems to be stating the obvious, but doing it really fast. He mumbles out loud and makes lame observations. Speaking of a golf slice, he says, "Slice of what? Pizza?" You see, because slice means an unwanted curve to the ball's trajectory, but somebody who doesn't play golf wouldn't know that. Dutch chocolate and Jet Magazine are about as clever as the film's references get.
There are some action scenes, but any potential excitement is marred by Cedric's mugging and falling all over himself. We have real martial artists who make funny fight scenes. Shouting Bruce Lee noises and waving your arms around doesn't make you Jackie Chan.
Lucy Liu kicks some ass and Nicolette Sheridan is painfully hot as the vampy bad girl. Marc Dacascos gets to throw some quick moves as the bad guy, but it's embarrassing to see Cedric beat him.
It must be a New Line studio thing to have movies never end, because after everything is wrapped up, it still goes on for more and more unfunny Cedric sketches. And the movie's only about 80 minutes long and it feels interminable.
In the end credits, they go on to show even more unfunny improvisation in the way of outtakes. The final cut didn't have any laughs, so asking for a rainbow wig and an album cover or demanding someone take altoids isn't going to put you over.
Cedric the Entertainer can be funny. He was perfect as the "nail your ass" guy in Intolerable Cruelty. Perhaps his best forum is the stage and he should just stick to stand-up.