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The Tuxedo
2002 - PG-13 - 96 Mins.
Director: Kevin Donovan
Producer: John H. Williams, Adam Schroeder, Walter F. Parkes, Brian Gersh
Written By: Philip Hay, Matt Manfredi, Michael Wilson (II), Michael Leeson, Michael Wilson, Phil Hay
Starring: Jackie Chan Jennifer Love Hewitt Jason Isaacs Debi Mazar Ritchie Coster
Review by: John Ulmer
   
He's Not Looking For Trouble...He's Wearing It.

Jackie Chan’s newest film, “The Tuxedo,” attempts to spoof the spy/secret agent genre. It doesn’t completely achieve its goal.

Chan is Jimmy Tong, a NY cab driver with mad driving skills. Jimmy transports a mysterious woman one day, who ends up recruiting him to be a personal chauffer for millionaire playboy Dean Devlin. There’s only one catch. Never touch the playboy’s prized tuxedo. But after some baddies make an attempted hit on his boss, Jimmy Tong has only one choice: to wear the tuxedo until Devlin is out of the hospital.

Of course, this goes on to develop into a spy story, in which an annoying Jennifer Love Hewitt mistakes Chang for Devlin. And then, throughout the rest of the movie, the two go around doing funny things, including accidentally knocking out James Brown (guess who goes on stage instead of Brown?).

“The Tuxedo” is surprising in a few ways. First of all, two things in the plot I didn’t expect. One, I thought that it would be a typical comedy where a butler-type ends up touching his employer’s prized object, and at the end of the film the employer finds out and blows the butler’s cover. You know what I mean. Instead, in “The Tuxedo,” Chan’s character is supposed to touch the tuxedo. His boss tells him to before being escorted to the hospital. Also, the ending is a bit…well…odd. Not what I’d expected. It breaks away from the typical guy-gets-girl ending.

Unfortunately, the film also has many flaws. Perhaps its biggest is the fact that they use special effects on Jackie Chan. Who would ever want to do that?! The whole point of Chan film is that he does his own stunts! Maybe he does some of his own stunts in this film, but the majority of them are computer generated.

Also, casting Jennifer Love Hewitt was a mistake. Talk about bad acting…whoa…

Maybe another one of “The Tuxedo’s” major flaws is that it never knows whether to be a satire on James Bond films, or the next Matrix. The movie has no sense of stability. It’s like a pack of playing cards stacked into a pyramid. Sooner or later, after you build up too much on a small base, it’s just going to fall over because you have the base put together sloppily and it has been ignored.

Also, the film tries to go for juvenile jokes at many times. The very beginning opens up with a crude joke. Now, I don’t mean crude as in “Shrek”-crude. I mean just plain dumb and juvenile. I worried when the first “joke” received laughter from children in the audience. Yet, later in the film, they go for sexually suggestive laughs. Even most of the laughs are unstable.

And then there’s the action in the film. It mixes between WB Looney Toons to “The Matrix.” Like the roots of the film, the action is unstable. I didn’t know whether they wanted us to laugh at the action or feel a sense of suspense, especially the climax.

Overall, I can’t say “The Tuxedo” was disappointing, because I had already read many bad reviews on it. I wasn’t expecting something excellent or satirical. So, with that in mind, believe it or not, I recommend this film. Perhaps it is because there are some good moments – enough to watch for, even if the bad moments negative the good moments overall. Not great by any means, but worth seeing once, especially if you’re a Jackie fan.

Also, note the cameo from Colin Mochrie, of TV's "Whose Line Is It Anyway" as the gallery owner in the beginning and end of the film.
 
Movie Guru Rating
Below Average.  Mediocre. Has substantial flaws, but is watchable. Below Average.  Mediocre. Has substantial flaws, but is watchable. Below Average.  Mediocre. Has substantial flaws, but is watchable.
  2.5 out of 5 stars

 
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