Company Script Leaves a Bad Taste
- Saturday, June 01, 2002
Bad Company - PG-13
Best for: Mature teens and adults.
The plot: Veteran CIA agent Gaylord Oakes (Anthony Hopkins) and CIA operative Kevin Pope (Chris Rock) are tracking a Russian black market nuclear bomb when Pope (posing as a rep for a buyer) is suddenly killed. Without Pope, the seller is likely to bolt and Oakes will lose the deal, so the no-nonsense agent reluctantly enlists Kevin's long-lost identical twin brother, Jake (also Chris Rock), to take his place. The loud-mouthed, uncultured, ticket-scalping Jake ends up being the exact opposite of his brilliant, sophisticated brother. Oakes only has 9 days to train Jake to mimic Kevin before negotiating the sensitive weapons deal. Peter Stormare plays a ruthless villain selling the bomb, John Slattery is the head of the CIA, and Garcelle Beauvaisa and Kerry Washington play the girlfriends.
The good: If you're a fan of producer Jerry Bruckheimer and director Joel Schumacher's films, then you know there will be lots of action, violence and great special effects in Bad Company. If you enjoy all of that, you'll probably like this movie.
If you think teaming the talented Hopkins and funnyman Rock would make for a winning buddy movie, you'd be wrong (I'll explain below).
I applaud Jake, who ends up taking the moral high ground by refusing the sexual come-ons and temptations from Kevin's old girlfriend (who thinks he's Kevin). He even talks about being faithful to his girlfriend -- something we don't see many men do or say in movies these days! I'm not saying it wasn't sensual, but I'm glad the movie was kept clean enough for the "PG-13" audience.
The bad: I'm a fan of Hopkins, who can make anything enjoyable or at least watchable, and I enjoy Rock's delivery. Unfortunately, even the best and most talented actor can't manufacture the chemistry needed to pull off a story that requires a working "buddy" team. Hopkins and Rock are about as opposite as they come, and the difference in their acting abilities and style makes it awkward and almost painful to watch. It's clear in almost every scene that their attempt to deliver the scripted lines isn't working.
I didn't enjoy this movie as much as I wanted to and was even embarrassed by several scenes where Hopkins had to use dialogue and language he clearly wasn't comfortable with. The lack of chemistry between the two leads and awkward scenarios that both had to endure made me feel like I was in the midst of bad company.
Offensive language: Whenever Rock is in a film you can count on lots of crude language and suggested sexual humor. Bad Company includes at least one "F"-word, numerous scatological and anatomical words, curse words and several religious exclamations.
Sexual situations: A woman in Jake's shower turns out to be his brother's ex-girlfriend (her shape is suggested through the frosted shower door, but no nudity is shown). She wraps a towel around her and is later shown in her underwear talking to him. Another scene shows her playing footsies with him in a restaurant. No nudity or sex.
Violence: Many intense chase scenes, fighting between agents and terrorists, a high body count and some non-lethal fighting that isn't graphic (we do see blood afterward). People are hurt or killed, a man jumps to his death and a woman is held at gunpoint. Several tense scenes show the CIA setting up its operations outposts. One difficult scene to watch involves the cutting of Jake's eyelid.
Parental guidance: This is one for mature teenagers and adults; it's not kid-friendly.
It's a wrap: I was hoping this would be a great pairing, but the chemistry gamble fell flat. It just goes to show that even when you have the best talent behind and in front of the cameras, a well-written script is still key to making the movie work.
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