It's time for a name change

Code Name: The Cleaner

on January 05, 2007 by Tim Cogshell
A guy named Jake (Cedric the Entertainer) gets knocked out and wakes up with a wicked, though utterly implausible case of amnesia. Not that any case of amnesia in any movie has ever been particularly plausible. In any case, there's a dead FBI agent next him, so Jake, who's actually the janitor, splits with a case of cash and a mess of bad guys on his tail.

Director Les Mayfield has made a number of these insipid formula comedies, including Encino Man, a remake of Flubber, Blue Streak (starring Martin Lawrence) and most recently, the Eugene Levy/Samuel Jackson stinker The Man. Code Name: The Cleaner is no exception. In short order Jake has Nicollette Sheridan (TV's Desperate Housewives ) telling him they're lovers and he's a badass secret agent involved in a bunch of narrative poo regarding arms dealers and whatnot — and the little fat black man believes her. Even as a comedy all of this begs credulity.

The writing here is bad, which is interesting given that the screenwriters include George Gallo, who wrote by the brilliant comedy Midnight Run, starring Robert De Niro and Charles Grodin. Of course, he also wrote Bad Boys and its sequel, so there.

Yet, beyond all of the bad filmmaking here, and there's plenty of it, the question that one ponders most is just how the cherubic comic-turned-actor Cedric the Entertainer got his name. Of late, he's been anything but: The Honeymooners, ill-conceived from conception, was not entertaining; neither was Man of the House nor most of Johnson Family Vacation. Not entertaining, not any of it. We remember an interesting turn here and there — Barbershop and The Original Kings of Comedy (a concert film) come to mind — but for the most part a more appropriate moniker might be something like Cedric the Not That Funny. Distributor: New Line
Cast: Cedric the Entertainer, Lucy Liu, Nicollette Sheridan and Will Patton
Director: Les Mayfield
Screenwriters: Robert Adetuyi, George Gallo
Producers: Jay Stern, Eric Rhone, Brett Ratner and Cedric the Entertainer
Genre: Action comedy
Rating: Rated PG-13 for sexual content, crude humor and some violence
Running time: 91 min.
Release date: January 5, 2006

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