Double Take Movie Review
Somewhere between "The Fugitive," "Bad Boys" and "Beverly Hills Cop" lies the plot of "Double Take," an action-comedy that's deadly short on both action and comedy.
Orlando Jones ("Make 7-Up yours!") stars as a posh Manhattan investment banker, with a supermodel girlfriend, who becomes a hunted man in an unnecessarily complex conspiracy of FBI and CIA agents when he discovers a $1.6 million irregularity in the accounts of a Mexican soda pop company -- his firm's biggest client -- and accidentally exposes the company as a drug front.
Because he's too stupid to ask questions of people who flash badges, he's soon on the run, trying to get to Mexico where a CIA spook has promised to protect him -- as if the CIA hasn't any branch offices in New York.
With Jones -- a talented comedy veteran of Mad TV and films like "The Replacements" -- trapped in a straight-man role, the alleged comedy comes in the form of Eddie Griffin (UPN's "Malcolm and Eddie"), doing his passé loud-mouthed ghetto schtick over and over and over again as he continues to pop up in Jones's path.
It's abundantly clear to everyone except dumber-than-he-looks Jones that Griffin must be some kind of government agent assigned to protect him. Annoying him doesn't appear to be part of Griffin's job description, but he does it anyway.
To avoid being snatched by men he's been told (by the supposed CIA guy) are out to kill him, Jones swaps clothes and identities with Griffin, providing the movie's only true laughs as they imitate each other's mannerisms in the dining car of a train -- Griffin acting snobby and ordering wine, Jones demanding malt liquor at the top of his lungs.
A few randomly choreographed gunfights occur now and again, secondary characters turn out to be double-agents or double-crossers, a few immigration jokes are sprinkled here and there, then the credits roll without the picture ever becoming engaging in the least.
The plot of "Double Take" is based on an obscure Rod Steiger film (and Graham Green book) called "Across the Bridge" in which a man charged with embezzlement steals the identity of a man he meets on a train, only to discover that man is even more wanted than he is -- for murder.
I only mention this to point out there was potential here -- and even potential comedy -- but writer-director George Gallo seems interested only in tiresome gags for lowest common denominator audiences. He doesn't even bother to maintain the illusion of intelligence for Jones's character, who defies common sense half a dozen times in order for the plot to move forward.
Griffin and Jones are both good actors, but they're wasted here on cheap black-thang burlesque. It's a shame African-American actors have to cut their teeth on this kind of crap in order to make a name for themselves.