Review: “Codename: The Cleaner”

One day Cedric the Entertainer will actually live up to his moniker, but today is not that day. Is “Code Name: The Cleaner” bad? Oh yes, and by bad I mean not just stupid but dull as well – a double header. ‘Cleaner’ is so bad it made me want to revisit Cedric’s own “Johnson Family Vacation” or awful spy spoofs like “I Spy” or “The Tuxedo” because at least those had vague attempts at laughs and thrills.

Les Mayfield’s far too rough cut direction and a tedious script obviously lifted from some magazine competition winner somewhere combine to deliver a new level of boredom not seen since, well Cedric’s own disastrous “The Honeymooners” remake. Horrifically stereotypical movies like these seem to indicate obese middle aged men in the African-American community have the same stupid wannabe James Bond fetish that most white guys do. Cedric as a man of action and Lucy Liu as his love interest? Come on.

A list of C-grade, but pretty in that plastic way, stars populate the supporting cast with Nicolette Sheridan and Mark Dacascos fighting over who’s got the more chiseled cheek bones (the latter throwing in some quick kung fu just to show he can), Liu doing her standard flat but sassy woman of action routine, and the guy who plays one of the Cylons in “Galactica” as a henchman.

Cedric’s few moments of improvisation towards the film’s end, and the odd laugh leading up to it, can’t overcome the embarassing food product placement, bad “Bourne”-esque amnesia subplot, and simply out of nowhere silliness such as Cedric stumbling into a Riverdance style show with clogs style stage show or the hot tub scenario fantasy meets cat fight between the two girls.

If only we could be as forgetful of this mess as Cedric’s character is. ‘Cleaner’ is just atrocious. Random ideas, mostly ripped off from other far better films, are thrown together without any regard. There’s no laughs, no real action and Cedric makes for a terrible leading man. In the future, lets hope he sticks to the supporting roles that made him famous. An awful start to the year.