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Double Take

movie review out of 4 Movie Review: Double Take

Starring: Orlando Jones, Eddie Griffin
Director: George Gallo
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 100 Minutes
Release Date: January 2001
Genres: Action, Comedy

*Also starring: Edward Herrmann, Daniel Roebuck, Garcelle Beauvais, Vivica Fox, Gary Grubbs

Review by MrBrown
1 star out of 4

Eddie Griffin, stand-up comic and star of the defunct UPN sitcom _Malcolm_&_Eddie_. Orlando Jones, co-star of _The_Replacements_ and commonly recognized as the "7Up Guy." Put these two together, and you get an action comedy that can be called just about anything... but funny.

Despite what the ads lead one to believe, _Double_Take_ is not about swapping identities so much as simply swapping outfits. When some heavies target Wall Street banker Daryl Chase (Jones) thanks to some dirty dealings at his firm, he trades clothes with loudmouth street hustler Freddy Tiffany (Griffin) to get out of a sticky situation. After the danger has been avoided and the two take a long trip to Mexico for safety, for some reason the pair never think to switch back, and for equally inscrutable reasons they start to play at being the other--leading to all sorts of mistaken identity situations. Never mind that their impressions of each other wouldn't fool anybody, nor the fact that Griffin and Jones simply LOOK NOTHING ALIKE--in changing from formal to casual wear, they are taken as completely different people.

Maybe writer-director George Gallo was trying to make some sociopolitical comment about how non-blacks think all blacks look alike, but that's giving him way too much credit. Besides, Gallo has a lot of other things on his mind: namely the convolutions of his overly plotted script. _Double_Take_ appears to be a lark of an entertainment, but there are so many sudden doublecrosses and reversals that it's bewildering. Not that deciphering the plot is worth the effort; the explanations Gallo offers are crude at best. If there's anything Gallo successfully does, it's confuse the audience.

And if there's one thing Gallo certainly does not do, it's make the audience laugh. Given the right material Griffin and Jones can be funny, but one would never know that from the few amusing moments they are able to create here. Jones' more lively qualities are muted in the straight man role, and the goofy Griffin is hardly convincing when called to do gunblazing action, not to mention he's just hampered in general by the PG-13 limitations. He was a lot more effective in the misbegotten Master P vehicle _Foolish_--a far worse film than _Double_Take_, mind you, but at least there he wasn't required to rein in his more profane (and more effective) comic instincts.

But a lack of joyous abandon is the least of _Double_Take_'s problems. So what is the greatest? A writer-director with a half-baked script and not the vaguest clue of how to bring it to life.

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