Code Name: The Cleaner

2007, Movie, PG-13, 91 mins


Entertainment for the easily entertained, this inane but ultimately harmless action comedy attempts a variation on THE BOURNE IDENTITY's premise: a man awakens not knowing who he is or what he's done, but finds himself embroiled in a deadly plot. Here the amnesiac in question is Jake Rogers (Cedric the Entertainer), although, stripped of his wallet, it's not for some time that he knows even this much about himself. Jake comes to in a Seattle hotel-room bed, next to the murdered corpse of a FBI agent and a briefcase stuffed with $250,000. The wound on his head and the shards of porcelain on the floor suggest that he's been clobbered with a lamp, but he has no memory whatsoever. The beating has, however, left him with enough sense to hightail it out of the room — with the money — but he's quickly intercepted in the hotel lobby by Diane (Nicollette Sheridan), a leggy blonde in a skin-tight dress who claims she's his wife. Diane drives Jake to what she assures him is their lavish country home and attempts to seduce him. But spooked by the conversation he overhears about injecting him with a truth serum, Jake absconds. The skill with which he manages his getaway, along with some recurring-memory flashes of what appears to be a special-ops mission, suggest to Jake that he might really be a spy of some sort. But when he ducks into a local diner where Gina (Lucy Liu), a waitress who claims to be his girlfriend, works, Jake learns the simple truth about his identity: He's a janitor for DART labs, a video-game developer. Jake, however, refuses to give up on his spy theory: With both the FBI and Diane's hooligans on his tail, Jake is convinced that the whole custodial engineer thing must have been a cover. His suspicions are further confirmed when he begins receiving mysterious calls from a stranger named Riley (Will Patton) with the details of a terrorist plot involving video-game software. The humor is too adult for children and the plot far too childish for most adults; in fact, everything about the film is really too silly to warrant much consideration, though there is something poignant in the figure of a man who dreams that his reality may not be as mundane as he fears. On the plus side, there are funny supporting bits from two of Reno: 911's finest: recurring guest star DeRay Davis and series regular Niecy Nash, who plays a security guard named Jacuzzi. It's, you know, French.F leave a comment --Ken Fox

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