Two Can Play That Game

"Grim"

Two Can Play That Game Review


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.

Writer-director Mark Brown (who, not surprisingly, penned the similarly callow "How To Be a Player") jumps back and forth between the two warring camps: Fox and her gaggle of "giiiirrrll!"-friends sip wine, talk dirty and strategize how to keep their men whipped. Chestnut and his one-tracked-mind clown of a pal (Anthony Anderson) hunker down on defense, planning rendezvous with skanky tramps (the gorgeous Gabriel Union, for one) and other idiotic demonstrations of vengeful independence, when what Chestnut should be doing is running away as a fast as he can.

Every one of these actors has the goods, but they keep taking interchangeable roles in interchangeable movies about black women having to reign in their black men. Every one of these films ("Baby Boy," "The Brothers" and "love jones" come immediately to mind) has moments of divine comedy or veracity, but they all imply that a woman tricking a philanderer into marrying her is a happy ending. Their respective filmmakers also seem to think cheap, last-reel regrets are all it takes to shore up a flimsy relationship between superficial people.

While these themes are not exclusive to African American cinema, there does seem to be a repetitive pattern emerging and "Two Can Play That Game" is simply more of the same. It also adds a few more patience-testing elements to the mix: A non-stop soundtrack, insultingly blatant product placement and the fact that Fox talks to the camera so much about her "rules" for controlling men that before the very first scene is over she's already come off as an insufferably stuck-up know-it-all.



Two Can Play That Game

Facts and Figures

Run time: 90 mins

In Theaters: Friday 7th September 2001

Box Office USA: $22.0M

Budget: $6M

Distributed by: Screen Gems

Production compaines: Screen Gems

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 43%
Fresh: 27 Rotten: 36

IMDB: 6.1 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: Vivica A. Fox as Shanté Smith, as Keith Fenton, as Tony, as Conny Spalding, as Karen, as Tracey Johnson, as Diedre, as Michael, Dondre Whitfield as Dwain

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Captain America: Civil War Movie Review

Captain America: Civil War Movie Review

After the formulaic thrills of The Winter Soldier and Age of Ultron, Marvel's Avengers were...

Son of Saul Movie Review

Son of Saul Movie Review

From Hungary, this year's Oscar-winning foreign film is a remarkably fresh take on the Holocaust...

Demolition Movie Review

Demolition Movie Review

With its darkly emotive themes and brittle humour, this well-made drama by Jean-Marc Vallee (Dallas...

Bastille Day Movie Review

Bastille Day Movie Review

An attempt to muscle in on Luc Besson's Taken-style of thriller, this is an odd...

Secret Cinema Presents: 28 Days Later Movie Review

Secret Cinema Presents: 28 Days Later Movie Review

Expectations are a problem with this year's Secret Cinema event. After the jaw-dropping, goosebump-inducing surprises...

Jane Got a Gun Movie Review

Jane Got a Gun Movie Review

With its grindingly low-key tension and unusual perspectives, this Western has a chance to revamp...

Criminal Movie Review

Criminal Movie Review

Almost criminally entertaining, this preposterous thriller mixes buckets of humour and emotion into the violent,...

Advertisement
The Jungle Book Movie Review

The Jungle Book Movie Review

Using remarkably photorealistic animation, this remake of the 1967 Disney classic is warm and enjoyable,...

Eye in the Sky Movie Review

Eye in the Sky Movie Review

Almost forensic in its approach, this smart thriller explores a drone strike from a variety...

Midnight Special Movie Review

Midnight Special Movie Review

Gifted director Jeff Nichols takes on another genre in his fourth film with actor Michael...

Boulevard Movie Review

Boulevard Movie Review

This dark, introspective drama hinges on one of Robin Williams' final film performances before his...

The Huntsman: Winter's War Movie Review

The Huntsman: Winter's War Movie Review

Aside from success at the box office, there was nothing about 2012's rather uneven fantasy...

Black Mountain Poets Movie Review

Black Mountain Poets Movie Review

It's fairly obvious that the cast and crew began making this film with only the...

Victoria Movie Review

Victoria Movie Review

One of the most breathtaking films of the year, this ambitious story shifts from a...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.