NAME: THE CLEANER
Community Relations Manager
KUNV 91.5 FM
University of Nevada Las Vegas
I don’t think anybody had really high expectations for Code Name: The
Cleaner, despite the big names that starred in the film. In fact, The
Cleaner was exactly what I expected: a lame premise, an implausible plot
with a few moments of good comedy, and a lot of cheesy action sequences.
What I didn’t expect was to have to solve a mystery, but that’s exactly what
I had to do, and it almost turned out to be a good time.
Cedric the Entertainer stars as Jake
Rodgers, a bumbling janitor who gets caught up in a corporate and government
scandal. The movie opens on Jake waking up in bed with an FBI agent who has
been murdered, and because Jake was hit in the head, he has no short-term
memory. What he does have, for some inexplicable reason, is a briefcase full
of money and a bombshell of a wife played by Nicollette Sheridan.
Sheridan’s character, Diane, takes Jake
Rodgers back to their “home” where of course, she ends up in her underwear
as part of an effort to jog Jake’s memory. Instead, Jake discovers that she
has ulterior motives and he escapes to find out who he really is. What he
finds is his “boo,” Gina, played by Lucy Liu. Gina is a cocktail waitress in
a diner across the street from a video game corporation. He feels like he
can trust her, so he tells her that he thinks he’s a government agent
involved in a government conspiracy. She tries to burst his bubble by
telling him that he’s just a janitor for the video game company, but then
somehow she gets dragged into the adventure too. And since it’s Lucy Liu,
she predictably kicks some ass along the way.
In my opinion Lucy Liu was the
highlight performance in the film, but I thought the writer and director
could have done a better job of breaking her out of the standard
butt-kicking roles she always plays. The other actress that stole the show,
for me at least, was Niecy Nash playing a security guard named Jacuzzi. She
only had about 3 minutes of screen time, but her lines were the most
memorable from the entire 91 minute fiasco.
I was especially surprised to find that
Les Mayfield directed this movie, because it definitely didn’t reflect the
style of his other films like Encino Man, Flubber, or Miracle on 34th
Street. In fact, I think that if he had aimed the film more toward a young
audience, it could have been pretty successful, and maybe even good.
Instead, the movie is a slowly unfolding mystery filled with bad kung-fu
action sequences, even worse lines, and a sprinkling of funny moments. The
movie showed a good effort, but overall it was just bad.