Code Name: The Cleaner review, Code Name: The Cleaner DVD review

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Buy your copy from Code Name: The Cleaner (2007) half starno starno starno starno star Starring: Cedric The Entertainer, Lucy Liu, Nicollette Sheridan, Mark Dacasos
Director: Les Mayfield
Rating: PG-13
Category: Comedy

Do you hear that? It’s the sound of Hollywood ringing in the New Year with the first official flop of the winter season. We all knew it was coming, but Cedric the Entertainer’s latest flick is so bad that some might actually mistake the sound of laughter for genuine comedy. Of course, the audience is really just reacting to how utterly ridiculous this movie is – a feeling shared by my critic brethren – but it’s not surprising in the very least considering director Les Mayfield’s more recent contributions to film. Heck, a two-year-old with finger paint could create a funnier movie, and at least we wouldn’t be subjected to 90 minutes of Cedric the Not-So-Entertaining Entertainer.

Once considered a King of Comedy, Cedric may be a funny guy when he’s dishing out his own material, but he’s positively horrible at choosing good scripts. This time around, the comedian-turned-actor plays Jake Rodgers, an easygoing janitor who’s suffering from a nasty case of amnesia after being hit on the head. Duped into believing that he’s actually an CIA agent working undercover on a top secret arms deal involving some crooked feds, Jake teams up with another agent (Lucy Liu) to take down the bad guys (Nicollette Sheridan and Mark Dacasos) and figure out just who exactly he really is.

Anyone that’s forced into seeing this piece of shit with a friend over the weekend should consider themselves extremely unlucky, though there are a few redeeming elements that help make it much easier to sit through. First off, it’s incredibly short. The story doesn’t take any unnecessary detours and it jumps right into the action from the first frame, despite the fact that the entire audience won’t have a clue as to what’s going on. Second, it co-stars Lucy Liu, and while the Asian-American beauty isn’t exactly delivering her best work to date, she still brings her usual charming presence to an otherwise lifeless cast of B-movie wannabes and Hollywood hopefuls. Plus, she’s awfully easy on the eyes; a comment that probably could have been said of co-star Nicollette Sheridan a decade ago. Instead, the Desperate Housewife winds up looking a little too desperate for her own good.

Unfortunately, this is where all the pleasantries end. Between Cedric the Entertainer’s annoying kung-fu shtick (which he manages to shove down the audience’s throat about 17 times throughout the course of the film; that’s once every 5.3 minutes, for those keeping track) and Mark Descasos' lame performance as the villainous executive, “Code Name: The Cleaner” has more or less guaranteed a top spot on every critic’s list of the Worst Films of 2007. True, we still have a whole year of cinema ahead of us, but the only way this movie could be any worse is if the Wayans Brothers shared the directing duties with Uwe Boll.

~Jason Zingale

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