The Tuxedo

"Good"

The Tuxedo Review


As a youngster, I never missed an episode of Inspector Gadget. The loveable, wannabe crime-fighting buffoon always had the necessary tools inside his trench coat to get out of a jam. Like Inspector Gadget, Jackie Chan's character in The Tuxedo has the essential secret weapons inside his formal wear. He has the one thing Gadget could never get however: a sexy super agent partner.

Chan is Jimmy Tong, an unlucky-in-love cabbie who drives his car like a madman through the streets of New York City. His wild driving skills pique the interest of a CSA (think CIA) agent named Steena (Debi Mazar) looking for a new driver for the millionaire secret agent Clark Devlin (Jason Issacs). Tong is hired, and after just a few days on the job, Devlin is maimed in a car bombing. Intrigued by Devlin's debonair lifestyle, Tong begins wearing Devlin's tuxedo and posing as the well-dressed playboy.

While wearing the tuxedo, Tong discovers he can fly through the air, run faster than a speeding car, walk on water, and use karate at warp speed. Tong has no idea Devlin was investigating a terrorist plan to contaminate the planet's drinking water, plotted by the evil bottled water tycoon Diedrich Banning (Ritchie Coster). Now thrust into the action, Tong is paired with the beautiful but naïve rookie CSA agent Del Blaine (Jennifer Love Hewitt) who has no idea Tong is not the real Devlin. Tong must utilize the power of the tuxedo to uncover the plot while keeping his true identity under wraps.

Basically, The Tuxedo is a one-man sideshow for the tuxedo-clad Chan. The useless and completely implausible plot simply facilitates the set-ups necessary to exploit the use of the tuxedo. How could a government agency not know its number one agent is hospitalized and being impersonated by someone else (someone who speaks little English)? When the suit is turned off and is not the center of the film's attention, The Tuxedo is a colossal bore. But when the tuxedo is working it's unpredictable magic, and the movie is light-hearted fun. One scene in particular finds Tong on a nightclub stage singing and grooving like the Godfather of Soul, whom Tong has accidentally waylaid in his dressing room. It's a riot.

Playing opposite Chan, Hewitt provides some scenes of comic relief as special agent Blaine. Their relationship produces enough chemistry to keep the laughs constant. In fact, I liked Chan's pairing with Hewitt better than with Owen Wilson (Shanghai Noon) or Chris Tucker (Rush Hour franchise). But in her scenes without Chan, she is reduced to mere eye candy for director Kevin Donovan's camera as he focuses extensively on her curves and her provocative dress. I had a difficult time believing her as a CSA agent, especially when she spouts out chemical compositions or fumbles various weapons.

Despite the absurd plot, and numerous other flaws, there are just enough super-charged action scenes with Chan to keep the film amusing. Chan's great charisma drives the movie and made me overlook many of its weaker moments. Without him, the movie wouldn't be the same. The Tuxedo is not a great film, but it certainly beats an episode of Inspector Gadget any day. Go go, gadget tuxedo!

Chan gets his groove on even more in The Tuxedo's extensive outtakes section on DVD. The best scene enhances the duet with James Brown (formerly spied only over the closing credits). The rest of the bits are safely skippable.

My, J. Love, what a massive bulb you have.



The Tuxedo

Facts and Figures

Run time: 98 mins

In Theaters: Friday 27th September 2002

Box Office USA: $50.2M

Distributed by: Dreamworks Distribution LLC

Production compaines: DreamWorks SKG

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 22%
Fresh: 30 Rotten: 108

IMDB: 5.2 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Kevin Donovan

Producer: John H. Williams, ,

Starring: as Jimmy Tong, as Del Blaine, as Clark Devlin, as Steena

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