Talented comics flop in lowbrow 'Double Take'

Some movies are so bad you can't bear to look. But some, like "Double Take," are so bad you can't look away. Director George Gallo's script seems to write itself as it goes along, twisting into blind alleys and inventing one implausible wrinkle after another, never even considering a stop to catch its breath. You half expect someone from the screen to call out and ask the audience for suggestions like some technologically advanced improv comedy show.

Instead, we get two talented comic actors, Eddie Griffin and Orlando Jones, riffing off the skeletal frame of a premise. They know how to riff, mind you. Griffin, the diminutive comedian whose character is described in the movie as a "leprechaun pimp," snarls out insults and challenges with delicious verve; Jones (of "Make 7-Up yours" fame) has the deadpan instincts of a top straight man. But they might as well be performing before a blank backdrop (with a few random bullet holes). "Double Take" is a fascinating exercise in jettisoning even the pretext of context. It's a minimalist lowbrow comedy.

It's tough to refer to a story per se, but there are some plot points. Jones plays New York investment banker Daryl Chase, who is framed for murder and money laundering for a Mexican drug cartel. Griffin is Freddy Tiffany, a fast-talking petty thief. Or assassin. Or maybe former FBI agent. Perhaps current FBI agent? You could honestly assume that no one on the film could decide until the last day of shooting.

Anyway, Darryl has to hit the road to Mexico, and Freddy comes along. To protect him. To kill him? Something like that. They exchange identities, which gives the actors a chance to trade shticks (presumably the reason why the project was given the green light).

You thought "The Big Sleep" was confusing? This is the kind of movie you'll encounter in the wasteland of late-night cable � and watch with a measure of awe. Supposedly based on a Rod Steiger melodrama called "Across the Bridge," "Double Take" is a series of plot twists in desperate search of a plot. It's a movie for viewers who can't be bothered with such niceties as logic, story arch, characters, direction and pace.


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