The Tuxedo: George Kraychyk
August 16, 2002 at 04:00 AM EDT

The Tuxedo

Current Status
In Season
99 minutes
Wide Release Date
Jackie Chan, Jennifer Love Hewitt, James Brown, Ritchie Coster, Jason Isaacs, Larissa Laskin, Debi Mazar, Peter Stormare
Kevin Donovan
Phil Hay, Michael Leeson
Comedy, Action Adventure
We gave it a C+

As Jimmy Tong, a bumbling New York shlub who chauffeurs supersuave Bondian spy Clark Devlin (Jason Isaacs), Jackie Chan finally gets the opportunity to play against type. ”He’s bad with women,” laughs Kevin Donovan, a commercial director making his feature debut with this $60 million action comedy. ”And, ironically, he’s a very poor fighter. It’s a nice counterpoint when you see Jackie running from someone else.” But a Chan movie minus martial arts is kind of like a De Niro movie without the Method. So Tong soon finds himself thrown into Devlin’s latest mission, armed with nothing but the titular gadget-filled piece of formalwear.

Jennifer Love Hewitt plays a water expert suddenly paired with Tong to bring down an executive (”As the World Turns”’ Ritchie Coster) attempting to sabotage a vast aqua reserve. ”[Jackie and Jennifer] are both fish out of water pretending to know everything when each of them knows hardly anything,” says Donovan. Apparently, that includes how to bust a move: When Tong accidentally incapacitates funk legend James Brown before a gig, he’s forced to warble ”…Sex Machine” in front of a slack-jawed audience. ”Jackie has a long recording history in Asia, and he really can sing,” the director says. ”The hard part for him was getting coordinated. He got a real crash course in dancing.”

THE LOWDOWN Can Chan re-create the same crackerjack camaraderie he’s mastered with Chris Tucker and Owen Wilson with, of all people, Jennifer Love Hewitt?

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