“Let’s go sit down front and make fools of ourselves!” a wannabe prankster shouted to his cohorts as they raced ahead of me into the theater for opening night of Double Take. Seems they, too, had believed the trailers and assumed the movie was going to be a love-in of foolish fun. Oh, well. Conned again. Double Take is a lot of things, but funny it is not. Snooty Harvard grad Manhattan banker Orlando Jones (Magnolia) must flee the country to escape a Mexican drug lord’s vendetta. Sticking to him like Super Glue is Eddie Griffin ( Foolish), a wise-ass Energizer gutter-bunny. A twisting trail of double-cross and violence on both sides of the border — uplifted by philosophical repartee — leads the two guys to experience male bonding, as they change their hair styles and celebrate on the beach in Malibu. Contrary to what many critics are claiming, this is not the “worst movie of the year” (it’s only January after all), but it might be the most disappointing. George Gallo wrote one of the best “odd-couple” buddy movies ever — 1988’s Midnight Run with Robert DeNiro and Charles Grodin. Thus, expectations were high that, despite a decade-long hiatus, Gallo would repeat Midnight‘s magic formula. Didn’t happen. Double Take fails, not so much because it ended up being unfunny, but because it tries to pretend you can have a buddy movie with people who would in reality be incapable of achieving friendship. Eddie Griffin’s character, who wavers between idiotic jerk/street-smart angel/FBI agent, is not who he pretends to be. Friendship can’t happen if people are dishonest with one another. And a movie based on a false premise is going to fall apart when real people see it, because the audience doesn’t suffer the same myopia the filmmakers do. We also know that friendships usually occur between interesting people. But the character played by Orlando Jones is so boring — he has no quirks, no secret passions, no nothing (except money) — it’s hard to believe anyone would ever bond with him, much less a smart guy like Eddie Griffin. With all that said, Double Take is worth catching at the bargain matinee: There’s lots of action, the photography and set design are commendable, and you can’t fault the actors for the script flaws — they seemed to be giving their all. Giving more than her all — thanks to cartoon-sized breast implants — was cowboy-bar songbird Donna Eska, who deserves special mention as the funniest character in the movie. The soundtrack was outstanding — exciting, catchy, innovative. It’s as if composer Graeme Revell’s music achieved the promise of Double Take that the movie itself just couldn’t deliver.
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