Lisa Schwarzbaum
September 13, 2001 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Two Can Play That Game

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
R
runtime
90 minutes
Wide Release Date
09/07/01
performer
Morris Chestnut, Vivica A. Fox, Anthony Anderson, Tamala Jones, Mo'Nique, Wendy Raquel Robinson, Gabrielle Union
director
Mark Brown
distributor
Screen Gems Inc.
author
Mark Brown
genre
Romance, Comedy

We gave it a C-

Just when the efficacy of ”The Rules” — that asinine pop manual of recidivistic sexual warfare — has been scientifically disproved by the divorce of one of its authors, along comes Two Can Play That Game to demonstrate that antifeminist silliness is color-blind. The women’s team in this innocuous comedy consists of four dynamic African-American girlfriends, the self-appointed captain of whom is a sophisticate named Shanté (Vivica A. Fox), holder of a perfect job, perfect home, perfect car, and perfect boyfriend, Keith (Morris Chestnut).

Shanté believes men should be trained like paper-wetting pets, and her friends (played by Mo’Nique, Wendy Raquel Robinson, and Tamala Jones) revere her for her methods (and flawless buppie success). So Shanté’s discovery that she might have boyfriend troubles of her own is an embarrassment she hides — and attempts to rectify by way of an elaborate “10-Day Plan.”

”Two Can Play” follows Shanté and Keith through the convoluted steps of their behavior modification program, and writer-director Mark Brown makes sure no one takes this ”warfare” seriously by regularly having Fox (”Kingdom Come”) address the audience directly. The ploy is amusing once, maybe twice; after that, the routine of the comedy is predictable. Fox and Chestnut, with their fine looks and fine wardrobes, are all dressed up for a party that most guests bailed on in the last days of the old millennium.

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