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Double Take

Starring Eddie Griffin and Orlando Jones
Written and Directed by George Gallo

IN SHORT: A waste of time. [Rated PG-13. 90 minutes]

So . . . you're on the run from the cops, who think you've committed a triple homicide, including two in blue. You're heading south from Texas towards Mexico and you get stopped at the border. You slam down on the accelerator and crash through the border gates, past machine gun firing federales to your freedom. What country are you in?

You're in Texas. Of course, we're told that Texans think that their State is a country, in which case said scene from Double Take would make sense. We stopped caring much earlier in this so-called comedy, which requires that 99.9 per cent of you brain cells ignore the painful fact that almost nothing in it is funny. Truthfully, we were a bit worried that this urban targeted movie would be like the last urban flick we sat through, which means dialogued in the new language of hip hop, which is a foreign language we don't speak <g>. No such luck. Double Take is written in English. It's just incredibly off target, featuring one character who insists in acting in an over the top stereotype, even as he's trying to convince the straight laced money manager co-star character that he's just a regular guy.

That money guy, Daryl Chase (Orlando Jones), tipped by his secretary, tells his boss (Edward Herrmann) that a new account from Mexico had transferred way too much money into their new accounts. Drug dealing, perhaps? "Look into it" says the boss, before everyone heads off that eve to watch Daryl's girlfriend, lingerie model Chloe (Garcelle Beauvais) do her thing. Chloe sees a pretty lady standing next to Daryl and immediately gets jealous. They fight when they get home, only to be mugged in their apartment by thugs who get shot down as CIA agent T.J. McReady (Gary Grubbs) busts through the door. "Mexican drug dealers are after you" they're told and, in short order, Daryl's secretary is dead. He's found in her apartment and shot at by, we guess, the murderer. Two cops miraculously bust through the door and, when the smoke clears, the cops and burglar are dead and Daryl is seen holding a smoking gun.

Frenetic is a good thing only when the story is clear and we're doing all the work clearing it up for you. Because... all the while these events are happening, Daryl is continually hounded by "internationally known" Freddy Valentine (Eddie Griffin), a loud mouth, fast talking street punk who a) saves Daryl from a mugging, only b) to be revealed as part of a set up; c) surprisingly appears in Daryl's office -- it's never established how Freddy knows Daryl's name or place of employment; d) surprisingly appears at the lingerie show and e) miraculously appears at Penn Station to help the fugitive Daryl get out of town as f) they swap clothes -- no white cop can recognize a successful black man in street hustler garb. The rich guy to street dude switch shtick has been done before, in Trading Places and Silver Streak, but never with participants of the same race.

It gets even more complicated from there, but we're not about to try to lay that out. Neither principle behaves with any "normal" reaction -- Griffin's attitude is such that any man, white or black, would at least yell "get out of my face" at least once. Not here. Jones doesn't maintain panic or shock or confusion or any easily defined emotional response.

First time director George Gallo, who had previously written Midnight Run, front loads his script with way too much material and substitutes speed of events for story pacing. None of it makes any sense. None of it makes you want to care about the characters and none of this worked for anyone in the audience, regardless of skin color. African-Americans in our audience got about three laughs out of the ninety minutes, and walked out calling the flick "silly," "stupid" and categorizing it as "[trying] too hard."

We want our ninety minutes back.

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Eight Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to Double Take, he would have paid...


An absolute stinker on every level.

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