Bad Company

When does a knighted actor collect a paycheck?

When does a knighted actor collect a paycheck?

When he acts benightedly in a cliched spy thriller that is a virtual textbook of Hollywood expectations, right down to the scruffy mid-eastern terrorists and the oversized red digital readout on a nuclear bomb.

Anthony Hopkins plays a CIA veteran who must train a streetwise kid, played by Chris Rock, how to act like a real agent in 9 days. You can guess the outcome; in fact you can guess every scene before it unfolds. Movies like this make me know I couldn’t do reviewing for a day job—I’d have to see bombs like this everyday. Did I say bomb again? Did we just have one come to America in “Sum of All Fears”?

I am committed to saying something favorable for all movies if I can. Hopkins is always interesting to watch: he underplays here with a “sang froid” that would make Hannibal Lecter proud. The bad side of “Bad Company” is the bug-eyed, monotone, hysterical Chris Rock, who may have been medicated for this role because I didn’t have to cover my ears this time—I just bore up under his boring delivery.

Brooke Smith, who was the captured girl in “Silence of the Lambs”, plays Hopkins’ partner. “Lambs” this is not.

The film moves rapidly enough for espionage junkies. There, I said 2 good things. The movie still is “bad” company for the serious filmgoer.