Mini Reviews (August 2001)
For Keeps, Cop, Double Take
For Keeps (August 2/01)
For Keeps takes a potentially intriguing subject (two teenagers attempting to start their lives together) and piles on cliche after cliche, until it's about as compelling as an afterschool special. Molly Ringwald, in one of her last pre-erotic thriller performances, stars as a young woman that finds herself pregnant by her long-time boyfriend, and the two decide to settle down and start a family. Obviously, it's not as easy as they might have hoped. Every possible cliche you could think of is thrown into the mix - from strained relationships with parents to alcoholism to Ringwald being on the business end of some serious resentment from her classmates - For Keeps really runs the gamut. And in the process, almost becomes a parody of itself. But it's reasonably entertaining, I guess, and various celebs pop up in pre-fame bit parts (Pauly Shore and Larry "Dr. Giggles" Drake, to name a couple).
The less said about Cop the better. Aside from a great ending, the film doesn't really have much going for it. Cop stars James Woods as a Determined Cop who's not going to let his Angry Captain stop him from catching a Crazed Serial Killer. Yes, Cop revels in cliches - but sometimes cliches can be a good thing. But only if you're willing to try something new and exciting and work around the cliches. Cop doesn't do this. And besides all that, it's extraordinarily slow-paced. Much of the flick consists of Woods running around trying to find clues - or just attempting to date an ex-hooker. Woods is good (but then, he's always good), but he's never given anything to do. Cop might have worked better as a 20-minute short. But kudos to that cool ending, which poses more questions than it answers but is regardless very badass.
Double Take spends most of its running time being so incredibly confusing that by the time everything's explained in the last 15 minutes, you've completely lost interest (well, I had anyway). Orlando Jones stars as a successful businessman that finds himself on the run after being framed for murder, while motormouth "comic" Eddie Griffin stars as an "obnoxious little sprite" that seems to always know exactly where Jones is going to be. The real problem with Double Take, besides not being even a little bit funny (that part from the trailer, the "Schlit's Malt Liquor" scene, is certainly the highlight) is that it just doesn't make any sense most of the time. Who is Griffin? It's not explained until the very end and until then, he's so irritating that you just don't care. And there's no plot here, either, just a rambling series of sequences loosely strung together. Skip this and rent Midnight Run, instead (which, perhaps not coincidentally, was written by this flick's director).