Bad Company  (2002) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

Stop me if you've heard this one:

The CIA is in the middle of an operation which may determine the very survival of the world. One of their key operatives is killed. In order to maintain the operation's integrity, they have only about ten days to find someone who looks exactly like the dead agent, and train him to impersonate the Fed. The agent has a long-lost twin brother. The twin brother is kind of a drop-out and loser. The dead-serious career CIA guy forms a mismatched team with the wiseacre slacker, as they fight to defeat world terrorism.

Have we already seen this movie? Didn't they just re-title some old movie?

Nope. That's really what the film is about.

Bravo for the British critics who gave this film the savaging it deserved. Average score: no stars. That's my kind of average. (The actual mathematical calculation was .8 out of 4, for the persnickety among you.)

It must take the prize for the dumbest script since The Skulls. Get this:

Chris Rock is the guy who plays the dual role, and the CIA has only ten days to prepare him to impersonate a man who was an expert in antiques. In that brief time, he learns to distinguish between a Louis XIV and a Louis XV, and he is forced to master infinite minutiae like the name of his next-door neighbor's cat in New York.

The actual operation will not require him to be in New York at all, so he is actually wasting precious time that should be spent learning details of his life in Prague.


no nudity, but some skimpy lingerie action and a shower behind frosted glass from Garcelle Beauvais-Nilon  

Later, when he's in Prague, actually on the mission, he finds a woman in his hotel room. He has no idea who she is!

Take a guess.

Yup, she's his dead twin's girlfriend.

The CIA made him memorize the name of his neighbor's cat, but they did not tell him that he had a girlfriend, and that she was stationed in the very city in which they would be operating. Oh, yeah, and she works for CNN, so any slip-up in his cover would become known to the world.

Is this because the CIA didn't know about her? Not at all. In the next room, the CIA spooks monitor him on a TV. When the girl shows up, the one guy says - oh, it's Nicole. Lucky for him that she showed up in the room. Imagine if she had met him on the street and he didn't know her! What is even more irritating is that after she finds out who he really is, and that he and his twin brother are both CIA operatives, they drop her character from the script, and she is not seen again.

DVD info from Amazon.

  • "In Bad Company" a behind-the-scenes feature

  • Widescreen anamorphic format

Did I mention that Chris Rock is expected to learn to speak Czech in nine days by reading phonetic pronunciations out of a book in his spare moments when he isn't memorizing cat names?

When a movie shows such obvious and complete disregard for its own credibility and the audience's intelligence, is it worth saying any more about it?

The Critics Vote

  • General consensus: one and a half stars. Ebert 2/4, Berardinelli 1.5/4, 2.5/5

  • UK consensus: less than one star. Daily Mail 0/10, Daily Telegraph 2/10, The Guardian 2/10, Independent 2/10, The Observer 2/10, The Times 2/10, Evening Standard 1/10, The Sun 3/10, The Express 4/10, The Mirror 0/10, BBC 2/5

The People Vote ...

  • with their dollars: made for a bloated $70 million dollars, it grossed $30 million in the USA. 


IMDb guideline: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence, about like three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, about like two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, about like two stars from the critics. Films under five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film, equivalent to about one and a half stars from the critics or less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.

Based on this description, D. Unoriginal. Dumb. Lacking in credibility. Featuring one-dimensional, silly bad guys. Poorly acted. Probably in poor taste to boot (a light comedy about international terrorists?). I did like the photography of Prague.

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