A movie that preaches dishonesty, trickery and manipulation as the keys to romantic happiness, "Two Can Play That Game" is populated by pathetically shallow "players" of both sexes and very talented actors trapped by their skin color in a tired genre of self-perpetuating stereotypes.
"Two Can Play" is about a successful black ad executive (Vivica A. Fox) who thinks her man, a successful black lawyer (Morris Chestnut), may be running around on her. Her solution for shaping him up (rather than confronting him and having an adult conversation or just leaving to find someone better) is to launch into a 10-day plan that includes breaking up, not returning his calls, making sure he sees her with other men, going to his house, getting him hot, then leaving, and a whole litany of other vindictive head games.
Of course, all of this is meant to be risqué and amusing, but in fact it just makes the movie's heroine look like the kind of shrill, immature, self-centered strumpet whom no man in his right mind would want to be saddled with.
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Bernie Mac is the kind of comedic actor who can genuinely envelop himself in a character while still being his own distinctively hilarious self. He is not a one-note caricature clown like Jack Black, Rob Schneider, Chris Kattan, David Spade, Mike Myers or Martin Lawrence.
In "Mr. 3000," he proves it by laying down a lot of subtle psychological nuance as egotistical Milwaukee Brewers superstar Stan Ross, a talented slugger who quit baseball and left his playoff-bound team in a lurch the moment he hit the 3000th run he thought would guarantee him a spot in the Baseball Hall of Fame.
But nine years later he's still never gotten close to being voted into Cooperstown because, well, he hacked off virtually everybody on his way up. And what's worse, he's recently been stripped of three runs awarded him in error, leaving the out-of-shape 47-year-old short of the milestone he's milked as his legacy since retirement. Ross's "Mr. 3000" sports bar anchors an entire "Mr. 3000"-themed strip mall, so he'll be damned if being over the hill athletically is going to keep him from rejoining the team (which he calls "a bunch of Little Leaguers") to earn back those three hits.
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Take a look back at October's inaugural event.
The film is expected to continue without Mendes' involvement.