Cedric may be “The Cleaner,” we’re still not entertained
Only two weekends into the new year and we already have a front runner for Worst Movie of the Year that will be hard to top.
Have film fans just been spoiled the last two months with a seasonal flurry of top-notch offerings? Welcome to January-the clearance rack of multiplex entertainment. One wonders how, with the ever escalating costs of making, marketing and distributing a movie, such a banal movie like Code Name: The Cleaner can get made-but it does underscore, once again, one of the mantras of your humble film critic: “I see bad movies so you don’t have to.” Cedric the Entertainer whose presumptuous moniker he has yet to prove, stars as Jake who when the movie begins wakes up in a hotel room next to a dead FBI agent, a briefcase containing $250,000 cash, a bleeding bump on his head and amnesia.
Think “Bourne Identity for Boneheads” and you will get an idea of the plot. Jake tries to determine whether he really is a wealthy super agent married to a bodylicious, femme fatale (Former “Desperate Housewife” Nicolette Sheridan who looks great from her oft-denied face lift down) or a sloppy janitor who lives with tough, faithful girlfriend Gina (A must be desperate herself, worthy of better material Lucy Liu).
Slapstick and attempts at comedic mayhem ensue none of which is original, witty, or interesting. Any number of acting-challenged goofballs, say Martin Lawrence, or Seann William Scott could have been substituted in the lead role with no significantly improved results. Does the fact that the film’s best scene involves another actor, DeRay Davis as Jake’s custodial colleague, hint at Cedric’s generosity (He also produced) or reflect greater light on Cedric’s inability to carry a film?
Even the teenagers present at the screening I saw, to whom the movie is presumably targeted, were restless and noisy after only 10 minutes.
There must have been something in director Les Mayfield’s previous work (“Flubber” “Encino Man” “Blue Streak”) that Cedric really respected. More believably, he never saw those epic disasters.
Rated PG-13 for sexual content and crude humor.