The Tuxedo
**.5 BM
Starring: Jackie Chan, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Jason Isaacs, Ritchie Coster, Debi Mazar


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You wanna like Jackie Chan at all times, you really do. He's a goofy, fun-loving cat that makes goofy, fun-loving movies, and there's nothing to fault with that. The problem is that he's getting up there in years, and that means the chop-sockey whimsy he's provided us with is running out of steam, and he's starting to feel the need to try to shift into actual acting, and that's gonna be a tough sell in America, if this film is any indication. The guy is entertaining, and when he stumbles into making jokes, they tend to be pretty good zingers, which is often surprising due to the fact that he's got such an aura of not ever being completely up on what's going on here that belies his quick wit. Romantic lead, though? Um... I'll root for the guy to get some action, but if he was supposed to have some sort of sexual tension with Jennifer Love Half His Age, they must have forgotten to include it.

The film starts out amiably enough - Chan is a happy-go-angsty cab driver in love with a chick out of his league that works at a museum that he has no idea how to talk to. Then he lucks into the job of being a chauffer for a superspy (Isaacs) with a high-tech tuxedo, and when he winds up falling victim to an insidious plot to corner the market on the world's water supply, Chan has to don the tux and stumble through some butt-kicking to save the world.

It's a passable storyline for a typical Jackie Chan movie, but this is the slowly-maturing Jackie, and thus it concentrates far too much on the awkward interplay and utter lack of chemistry between Chan and Hewitt and not enough on the funtime kicking and punching and jumping, and even when it does go off on a goofy fight scene, the editing is awkward and they just don't feel all that impressive or even interesting.

I've detailed my unpleasantly divided reaction to Hewitt before, after Heartbreakers, and I'm proud to say my intellectually aggravated reaction won out over my generic male reaction this time, and although she gets little help from the script, I found her unbelievable and just out of place. Pulling your hair back and wearing glasses does not make one a 'misfit nerd' automatically. I knew from the second she tried to say the word 'indicative' in her first little speech that I wasn't going to be buying any of this long enough to suspend disbelief. We're supposed to believe she's a dork who can't get a date, I think. This is absurd.

The dialog is no good, the story creaks and jerks around and the character interaction doesn't make much sense. This would normally be easily overlooked in a Chan movie, but since the action doesn't deliver and it's trying to be a little more than just Kicky McPunch, you have no choice but to notice things like this.

One of the few redeeming comedy bits, though, is Jackie Chan referring to his little flavor-savor bottom-lip fuzz as his "soul patch." That is amusing, and it gives me hope that, when used correctly, Jackie Chan can hang out in Hollywoodland after he gives up the Leapy McChop schtick and make for some good entertainment. It just should not be in "The Tuxedo II: Electric Boogaloo."

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