Double Take

View Date: January 13th, 2001

Cast :

Orlando Jones .... Daryl Chase
Eddie Griffin .... Freddy Tiffany
Gary Grubbs .... T.J. McCready
Daniel Roebuck .... Agent Norville
Sterling Macer Jr. .... Agent Gradney
Benny Nieves .... Martinez

Writer: Graham Greene  (story) Guy Elmes 

Director: George Gallo 

The buddy movie has been done, redone, overdone and nearly killed over the past few years.  Every original idea has been expended, every culturally diverse joke has been told, the key now, is present them in an entertaining manner.  Double Take is the latest entry, and comes from a director that knows how to make this kind of film. George Gallo made the wonderfully entertaining Midnight Run back in 1988, so the anticipation was raised a little bit when he combined two up and coming stars, stand up comic Eddie Griffin and 7-up pitchman and Mad TV star Orlando Jones, into a comedy whose preview had lots of potential for an action comedy. Unfortunately, Gallo decides to spend all his good ideas to get the audience into the theater, then spins a convoluted and confusing story full of so many twists, that it plays like a young child who has discovered a phone cord for the first time.  He gleefully spins and spins, until he reaches a point and tries to get out and stumbles flat onto his face.  Itís unfortunate that these two talents, and their chemistry and energetic performance are wasted in such a mess of script.

Daryl Chase is living the dream life.  He has a cushy banking job, a comfortable lifestyle, a supermodel girlfriend and enough financial security to stroll with ease through lifeís travails.  One day, his life is turned upside down, due to a large money transaction, thugs at his apartment, and an encounter with a street hustler who keeps appearing in his life.  When he is framed for the murder of either cops or FBI agents (its never really clear, which is the first, but not the last thing in the movie to be this way) Chase is forced to befriend Freddy Tiffany, the street hustler who may or may not be more than he seems.  He switches identities with Tiffany in order to elude those who are hunting him.   From here, it becomes a buddy movie, a road movie, a clash of cultures and an exploitation of stereotypes which sets the civil rights movement back 40 years.  The flaw in the directorís plan is that he canít decide if he wants to make an action movie with comedy or a comedy with action scenes, or a movie that keeps throwing plot twists in to maintain interest and generate curiosity.  Unfortunately, it does none of these.  There is not enough comedy, other than what shows up in the previews, and a couple of other instances which are more a result of Jones and Griffin than anything else.  The action scenes seem wedged in when thereís nothing else better to put on the screen, save an interesting scene involving a missile launcher and a lounge singer crooning ďI Fall To PiecesĒ, a sign of potential from a director who knows how to do these kind of movies successfully (he directed 1988ís Midnight Run, a wildly entertaining comic ride).  Finally and worst of all, Gallo watched the Usual Suspects too many times and decided that he could throw plot twists in wherever he felt like changing gears and then patch up the holes later.  It seems that this plot was pieced together from a film classes submissions on a similar idea.  Each time the story turns, or something new is revealed, it just convolutes an already confusing plot even more.  As a result the film tangles itself into knots that not even its performers can untie, but they sure do give quite the effort trying.

Orlando Jones is proving himself to be a bit more versatile actor than initial impressions would give, plays it straight, and then hams it up quite well as the straight laced broker turned hipster.   His jump from commercials, to TV, to movies takes a stumble here after roles in The Replacements and Bedazzled, I just hope he makes better choices and ends up the next Jim Carrey instead of the next David Caruso. But its Griffin, who infuses energy into dialogue heís given, that makes the movie tolerable.  His ease and comfort at stealing scenes and making them his definitely deserved better than what he is given here. The chemistry between the two of them is undeniable, and during a couple of scenes that actually arenít in the previews, they generate some genuine laughs.  These two deserve a much better movie than this.

Ultimately, Double Take is another example of wanting to capitalize on hot new talent, without giving them a good vehicle to do it with.  In a buddy comedy, the plot should be there as a framework and background for the jokes and actions of the characters. Here, it just confuses and ties things up so badly, that trying to point out the flaws and inconsistencies would not be worth the effort, and would definitely have more thought behind it than the writers put into the film. ($$ out of $$$$)

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