CODE NAME: THE CLEANER Directed by Les Mayfield. Starring Cedric the Entertainer, Lucy Liu, Nicollette Sheridan 12A cert, gen release, 84 min
IF THE movies have taught us anything, it is that a bump on the head can wipe the memory clean and make a tabula rasa of the mind. Well, ever since the credits rolled on the latest outrage from the misleadingly named Cedric the Entertainer, I’ve been vigorously smashing my skull against every hard surface I encounter. Regrettably, some traces of the film’s chaotic plot and rancid performances still refuse to budge.
Code Name: The Cleaner begins with Cedric, a man of great girth but little subtlety, waking up in a hotel bedroom beside a dead FBI agent. The profane behemoth, whose head spills trickles of blood, cannot remember who he is or how he got there. As events unfurl, various identities announce themselves: an insanely wealthy golf enthusiast; a janitor at a video game company; a secret agent with deadly hands.
At some stage, the film-makers must have intended their unlovely entity as a rollicking parody of the Bourne films. Too many other terrible ideas have, however, elbowed their way into the script, and we end up with a disordered hash whose only significant achievement is to avoid immediate banishment to the bottom shelf in the video store. Forget about it.