MUCH HO HO, NOT ENOUGH HA HA.
'Two Can Play That Game' is one of those movies where the
lead character constantly looks straight into the camera and
talks intimately to the audience. The best example of breaking
the third wall being the 60s Mike Caine smash 'Alfie'. Unfortunately
this ain't no Alfie, dog! Though it is a bit of a dog.
Maybe that's because the word 'dog' appears a lot in 'Two':
as in 'Wassup dog?' or 'Where you at, dog? As does: 'you go
girl', 'Ho', 'yo skinny white ass', and other racially tinged
You see, this is a movie that pretends to be one thing - but
is actually the total opposite. Which is a shame, because
its talented, mainly black cast is wasted on this mainly laugh
Maybe I'm reading too much into this, but the lie is that
it's a light-hearted flick about beautiful middle-class African-Americans
who maintain their Compton (i.e. L.A. ghetto) street roots
whilst leading stunningly successful lives. Now't wrong with
that, by the way.
Except that it's really a shallow, relentless ball-breaking
relationschtick, without an ounce of real emotion, character
growth or, dare one say the word: love? Well yeah I do dare,
actually, as it is meant to be a romantic comedy. Did I already
mention that it's also misogynistic, mean-spirited and totally
The plot is as follows. Shanté Smith (played by ace babe Vivica
A. Fox) is a hypersuccessful L.A. ad honcho and control freak
who leads her gaggle of less assured yo-yo girls through the
pitfalls of bagging and trapping 'men' - into a steady relationship.
She's the world champ at this type of advice that comprises
a ten day program to whip (and yes, pussy whip is actually
used) your straying man back into shape and ensure their fidelity.
But doncha know, she catches her very own man (Keith played
by the highly chisled Morris Chesnut) out on a date with a
business rival - so, what's a girl to do but go apply her
own 10 Day offensive?
Offensive? Yep! This consists of a punishment/torture regime
that could teach the Taliban a thing or two. I assume this
is supposed to be funny and charming, but honest, it's just
pulling finger nails. Most of the laughs are provided by the
ghetto fab talking Anthony Anderson who plays Keith's rotund,
crotch scratching office mate, always cracking with the wise.
And yes, there are a few amusing set-pieces, but they seem
to have been borrowed from another slap-slip flick being shot
on the next stage. In particular, I have to admit to laughing
out loud at the freak show of loser men, with whom Shanté
flirts to make Keith mad.
So what's the lie - and why am I sounding so ticked about
what would only be a bit of boy meets, loses and regains girl
fluff, even if it was done well like 'When Harry Met Sally'?
In an industry that routinely sublimates African-Americans
and Afro-Carribeans into stereotypes, here we have an all
black cast (great), some token white actors in service roles
(great), and a film that pretends to be empowering, when all
that's on screen are J.Crew/Innovations catalogues come to
life. And that's as dead as it gets emotionally. Ah well,
at least it shows that crappiness is an equal-opportunity
employer, I suppose.