A mindless mess
At first glance Code Name: The Cleaner appears to be The Bourne Identity, but funny. Upon further investigation, though, you begin to realize that there’s not much funny, just a man who calls himself an entertainer, a few hot chicks and a ludicrous plot. Luckily, the supporting cast comes to the rescue to supply at least a few much-needed laughs.
Cedric the Entertainer plays Jake, a bit of a bonehead who wakes up one morning next to a dead FBI agent and can’t remember who he is or how he got there. He finds a briefcase full of cash, makes a run for it and winds up in the arms of Diane (Nicollette Sheridan), who claims to be his hot, white wife. She takes him to their estate and, though he’s skeptical of his newfound riches, he goes along with it long enough to squeeze out a few lame butler jokes and get Sheridan down to her knickers.
After a few horribly out-of-place combat memories and an all-too-easy escape from Diane, Jake finds himself face to face with his “hot-ass girlfriend,” Gina (Lucy Liu), who tries to help him remember his life as a janitor. But did he fight grime, or crime? And what is this missing computer chip everyone seems to be after? The struggle to answer those questions, ridiculous as it is, takes us on an only somewhat amusing ride and ends with an unsatisfying “duh.”
Liu is the standout in this flick, but she’s unfortunately weighed down by Cedric and stupid dialogue (her “Blambo” line is only funny because it’s so stupid). The unsung hero in The Cleaner is, without a doubt, comedian DeRay Davis, who plays a janitor with hip-hop aspirations. His rhymes and a scene between him and an FBI agent are some of the funniest moments in the movie. Add to that a memorable performance by Niecy Nash (think Reno 911) and you have yourself a hefty supporting cast.
The laughable moments are few and far between, but Code Name: The Cleaner is passable if you’re merely looking for a mindless, mostly clean (i.e. it’s cool for the kiddies) hour and a half.