(2007)2.5Derek ArmstrongFew films deserve to be released on the first Friday of the year more than Code Name: The Cleaner, and indeed, that very thing happened on January 5, 2007. This vehicle for comedian Cedric the Entertainer is not egregiously bad in any one area, but it does display an overall limpness that made it ripe for dumping in the January wastelands. The film's most obvious problem is tonal. Code Name: The Cleaner has the feeling of beginning in the middle of a sentence, as Cedric's portly amnesiac wakes up in a hotel bed next to a dead guy in a suit and bolts from the scene in no time flat. Only after five minutes does the film even announce itself as a comedy, when Cedric's on the elevator, trapped in a flashback, and snaps back to reality in the middle of spanking the elderly woman sharing the lift with him -- who takes pleasure in such treatment, natch. These happenings get at both the broadness and indecisiveness of this movie; when it eventually takes the shape of a conventional action comedy, it's a relief that things are at least headed toward uninspired yet comfortably predictable territory. Not that one should expect realism from a movie about spies and computer chips, especially featuring Cedric the Entertainer, but the comic's response to realizing he's lost his memory is just plain dumb. Instead of spending any time in shell-shocked disbelief and paranoid horror, he's immediately cracking wise with bits about female booty and bling bling. This, too, tones down into more standard and sympathetic hero behavior as the film moves along, but the bad taste lingers. Lucy Liu is on hand to receive a paycheck.