The Tuxedo (2002)
Directed by Kevin Donovan

Artistic Value: * ½
Entertainment Value: * *

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Jimmy Tong (Jackie Chan), a New York taxi driver, is hired to work as a chauffeur for a mysterious millionaire, Clark Devlin (Jason Isaacs), who just happens to be a secret agent. When Devlin is critically injured, Jimmy assumes his identity and is teamed with another agent, Del Blaine (Jennifer Love Hewitt). Then, with the help of Devlin's high tech tuxedo, which enables its wearer to perform virtually any action, including fighting, dancing, and even singing, Jimmy participates in an investigation into an insidious plot to poison the world's water supply.

Kevin Donovan's The Tuxedo truly is a bad film. In fact, there is almost nothing in it for which it can be praised. The story the director tells is filled with plot holes and is often painfully contrived. The performances of the actors range from hammy to inept. The special effects are often laughable, and even the action sequences are poorly realized and tiresome.

The central narrative is utterly uninteresting and specific events often make little or no sense. What is more, numerous occurrences have obviously been included merely to supply excuses for some pathetic fight or the like. At one point, for example, Del gives the villain the tuxedo Jimmy has been wearing for no reason other than providing the means by which the film's final showdown can be justified. The movie is absolutely filled with such contrivances.

Sadly, the actors do little to make this nonsense bearable. Jennifer Love Hewitt and Ritchie Coster, who plays the movie's villain, are completely unmemorable, and even Chan, whose presence in the film could have given it some appeal, is wasted. For whatever reason, his usual likeable on screen persona is entirely absent, and his character comes across as smarmy rather than engaging.

Moreover, Chan is never given a chance to perform any of his trademark stunts. The action routines that have been included are edited in such a way that the viewer can never clearly see what is happening. This, however, is probably for the best since, when he can make things out, the moviegoer is likely to realize that hardly anyone in the film appears to know what he is doing.

Although it is intermittently entertaining, The Tuxedo is so poorly made in so many ways that it really is best avoided.

Review by Keith Allen

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