Two Can Play That Game (2001)

Genres - Comedy  |   Sub-Genres - Romantic Comedy, Sex Comedy  |   Release Date - Sep 7, 2001 (USA)  |   Run Time - 91 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - R
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Review by Derek Armstrong

Two Can Play That Game is a lightly entertaining case study of how to properly -- but blindly -- apply The Rules, with hostess Vivica A. Fox almost Martha Stewart-like in her how-to earnestness, and just as evenly controlled. Despite that triple-snap, you-go-girl title, Mark Brown's directorial debut is a far more restrained endeavor than other recent African-American fare. This can be both a strength and a detriment. Brown's script is careful, almost self-conscious, about making certain his successful urban professionals retain their sassy rapport amid their evident refinement -- loosely, he tries to keep it real. But the balance leaves his cast in a flat middle ground. In contrast to her name, Vivica Fox is not very vivacious -- merely competent. The same can be said for the handsome but undistinguished Morris Chestnut. Brown is trying to demonstrate that movies made by and for African-Americans don't have to play to the lowest common denominator, but his effort achieves lukewarmth, what might be described as comfortable insignificance. The one actor who brings the appropriate level of fun and enthusiasm is the ever-watchable Anthony Anderson, a rotund bundle of energy who first gained notice as one of Jim Carrey's big-brained, house-sized sons in Me, Myself and Irene. Everyone else just plays a tepid version of the usual game.