Double Take

Directed by George Gallo
Starring: Orlando Jones, Eddie Griffin, Gary Grubbs, Andrea Navedo, Vivica A. Fox.
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for violence and language.

Review by Matt Heffernan <matt@filmhead.com>
January 20, 2001

Last year at this time, there was a wonderful adaptation of Graham Greene's The End of the Affair in theatres. Very few people realize that we have been blessed with another Greene adaptation, courtesy of Disney. For their first release of 2001, they have adapted a Greene story called "Across the Bridge", which was previously filmed in 1957 by Ken Annakin, starring Rod Steiger as a businessman on the run.

The new version is called Double Take, and stars Orlando Jones as a Wall Street banker named Daryl Chase. His company manages the account for Don Carlos Cola, a new company in Mexico run by Tomás Gutierrez (Shawn Elliot). He finds out that the beverage business doesn't really exist, and that it's really a front for a drug cartel. He tries to tell his secretary (Vivica A. Fox), but he finds her murdered in her own apartment and finds himself in a crossfire between the cops and the cartel assassins.

C.I.A. agent T.J. McCready (Gary Grubbs) comes to Daryl and tries to help him get to Mexico until the confusion is cleared up. At the train station, Daryl meets Freddy Tiffany (Eddie Griffin), a con man who had earlier swindled $100 from him. They exchange clothing to conceal Daryl's identity, and embark on a buddy action picture.

Every cliché that goes along with the genre is shamelessly brought forth, including a stock conversation on how "street smarts" are better than "book smarts". It's appalling, really, to see this sort of thing happening in a new millennium. The week since I saw Double Take has been long and busy, but I still can't get over its banality. I don't just mean in the plot, but in the comedy as well. A buddy action picture doesn't have to be original, but it should at least be funny. Jones and Griffin are talented comic actors, but this material gives them very little to work with. The brief sequence after they first dress as each other allows them to riff on their mundane characters: the homeboy and the uptight banker. The trailer is composed almost entirely of this sequence because there is little else of entertainment value.

The rest of the film involves sequences that alternate between standard violence and weak comedy, with a little male bonding thrown in for flavor. Writer/director George Gallo, who wrote the best example of this genre: Midnight Run, tries to compensate for his weak script with some interesting visuals. The result is a film that is somewhat entertaining to watch, but dreadful to listen to. He should definitely stick to one side of the production in the future.

As for Greene, all is not lost for this year. Phillip Noyce is filming an adaptation of The Quiet American with Michael Caine and Brendan Fraser. He's not exactly my favorite director (Sliver -- need I say more?), but it's got to be better than this.


For more information, go to the Internet Movie Database:
Double Take (2001)

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Double Take (2001) -- VHS
Double Take (2001) -- DVD


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Review © 2001 Matt Heffernan