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Bad Company

Bad company is both the name of this movie and an admonition to Touchstone Pictures and its parent company, Disney. Man, what a stinker. This comes hot on the heels of another wretched piece of cinema by the same company, Sorority Boys. Ugh. Bad Company is not an outright stinker. Its high level of merde is the result of a combining of many standard, tired movie plots into one long boring movie. There is the rookie and the veteran. Then, there is the square white man and the hip black man. There is the standard bomb plot, and even worse, the twin brother story, last seen (barely, thankfully) in the awful Mercy Streets. Combining all of them into one yields this movie, even more disappointing given the talents of its two stars, Chris Rock and Anthony Hopkins.

Rock (Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, Osmosis Jones) is Jake Hayes, a small-time ticket scalper. He learns that he had a twin brother, Kevin Pope, who worked for the CIA. Pope, as Michael Turner, was in the process of procuring a nuclear weapon from a renegade Russian scientist when a rival bidder assassinated him. In a bid of desperation, Agent Gaylord Oakes (Hopkins, Hearts in Atlantis, Hannibal), realizes he needs Pope to complete the mission, so he recruits Hayes. Of course, Pope is polished, intellectual, and everything that Hayes is not. Hayes does have street smarts going for him, and of course, scripters Gary Goodman, David Himmelstein (Soul of the Game, Village of the Damned), Jason Richman, and Michael Browning (Six Days, Seven Nights, More Dog Than Bone) give him less than two weeks to get up to speed.

The catch is that nobody in the CIA believes Hayes can do it except for Oakes. He can see that Hayes does have a great deal of intelligence, he just needs to apply it. Hayes wants to do it for the money. With it, he and his girlfriend (Kerry Washington, Save the Last Dance, Our Song) can finally make something of their lives. Rock is at his best when he lets loose a vitriolic diatribe of missives against anything and everything, but the story does not permit him to do so until near the very end. Much of the movie consists of 'training' for Hayes. He needs to learn how to mimic Pope's speech patterns, to speak Czech, and to fool everybody who knows Pope. Needless to say, it is ridiculously impossible yet somehow Hayes will do it. He even manages to fool Pope's girlfriend (Garcelle Beauvais, Double Take, Wild Wild West).

For director Joel Schumacher (Tigerland, Flawless), this is another wildly divergent attempt at success. Lately his movies swing from terribly bad to incredibly good. This is not the latter. Production values are above average, but everything else is dreadfully unfunny. The intended effect of Hayes' training is to elicit laughs, but the only actual result is boredom and even annoyance. Hopkins and Rock are not working at their best, mostly because of a lame script. Ooh, so Oakes doesn't like rap, and Hayes hates classical music. Not funny. Their verbal sparring never materializes into anything either. Bad Company culminates in a huge action sequence that uses yet another cliche of disarming a bomb. Bad company! Bad company!

Haro Rates It: Pretty Bad.
1 hour, 57 minutes, Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of violent action, some sensuality, and language.

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