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'Double Take'

Orlando Jones and Eddie Griffin keep the laughs coming in 'Double Take'

Friday, January 12, 2001

By Rebecca Sodergren, Post-Gazette Staff Writer

Walking into the theater, I could think of only one thing:

"Make 7 ... Up Yours."


'Double Take'

RATING: PG-13 for violence and language.

STARRING: Orlando Jones, Eddie Griffin.

DIRECTOR: George Gallo.

WEB SITE: bventertainment.go



Orlando Jones might be at least vaguely funny in the soda commercial, but two hours of his shtick? I prepared myself to be annoyed.

But I soon discovered that "Double Take" is all about breaking stereotypes -- and that I'd better break my own stereotype of Jones as a goofy TV-commercial actor.

He plays Daryl Chase (Chase Manhattan Bank? He's being chased?), a hoity-toity New York investment banker framed for laundering millions for a Mexican drug cartel. He takes off for Mexico in search of T.J. McCready (Gary Grubbs), who says he can protect Daryl because he's from the CIA. To try to cover his tracks, Daryl switches identities with Freddy Tiffany (Eddie Griffin), a petty street criminal.

Much of the comedy lies in the gyrations both characters undergo to try to adopt each other's personalities. Daryl has to loosen up and put a little jive in his step to imitate Freddy, a hip-hop street guy, while Freddy affects a snooty accent and carries on about Harvard to imitate Daryl.

At first, Freddy seems like an annoying big-mouth -- both to Daryl and to the audience. But then nutty Freddy claims to be an FBI agent and says the ultra-professional McCready is the one who can't be trusted. Is the stereotype of Freddy false? You won't know for certain until near the end of the movie -- and neither does Daryl.

Daryl runs from Freddy, who just keeps popping up to pester him. At one point, they end up on an emu farm, where redneck owner Brent Briscoe (Junior Barnes) delivers an oration on the 98 percent fat-free "meat of the future" while the birds strut around the coop out back.

The language gets rough at times, and violent scenes wipe out many characters -- perhaps too many for believability. But even during the violence, comedy reigns. During one of the shoot-'em-up scenes, one character's very fake eyeball -- a running gag throughout the film -- pops out and rolls across the floor.

In a side note, one of the best performances is given by a comical, well-trained little Pomeranian that travels with Freddy, ostensibly because she's at the center of the murder he claims to be investigating.

In an era when the plots of most movies can fit in a thimble, this script by director George Gallo, based on a story by the late British novelist Graham Greene, delivers more. Complicated twists leave the audience guessing the identities of the white hats and black hats until the end.

If you think this is just some dumb action/comedy, think again. Stereotypes are made to be broken.

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