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Code Name: The Cleaner

Utterly Forgettable

In 2000, director Christopher Nolan blessed filmgoers with the brilliant Memento, a film that revolves around a protagonist who suffers from short term memory loss and vainly tries to track down his wifeís killer via notes he makes to himself and a myriad of tattoos on his body.

Director Les Mayfieldís Code Name: The Cleaner arguably explores similar territory with more of a comedic angle. Unfortunately, it falls way short of entertaining (or brilliant) and is the kind of film you will wish you could forget upon leaving the theater (if not sooner).

Jake (Cedric the Entertainer) wakes up in a strange hotel room next to a strange dead man (sounds like an average Friday night to me). Unfortunately, Jake canít remember why heís there, who the dead guy is, or even his own name.

Fortunately, he does remember to grab a briefcase filled with cash before he leaves the hotel room. In short order, Jake finds himself neck deep in some hackneyed, convoluted plot involving a high tech computer chip, game consoles, and various government agencies.

Presumably, Code Name: The Cleaner is a comedy with some feeble spy film elements. The purported comedy in the film is painfully half-baked. At one point in the film Jake tells his girlfriend Gina (Lucy Liu) that he thinks heís a Special Forces colonel, some kind of "Black Rambo". Gina retorts with, "Okay, Blambo." This is about as good as it gets.

Cedric tries ardently to make Code Name: The Cleaner funny, but he just doesnít have much to work with. As a result, much of Cedricís attempts at humor involve facial manipulations, gyrations, and wild gesticulations. That being said, Cedric does a halfway decent job playing an out of his element amnesiac with delusions of grandeur.

Aside from Cedricís floundering attempts at humor, there isnít much else in the movie to recommend (and Cedricís attempts at humor are hardly worth recommending). Nicollette Sheridan plays a throwaway role as Diane, who poses as Jakeís wife early in the film. Only marginally less forgettable is Lucy Liuís turn as Jakeís "girlfriend", Gina. Itís more than challenging to believe that either one of these women would go for Jake.

In the end what youíre looking at is a film that fails in the espionage department and also strikes out in the comedy department. Mercifully, the run time of the film is less than 90 minutes, so you wonít feel like youíve wasted too much time in sitting through Code Name: The Cleaner. Itís hard to believe the New Year has just begun and weíve already got a frontrunner for the worst film of 2007!

Rating: .5 out of 5 stars