Foxhole Men, Women Dig in for Battle of the Sexes in 'Two Can Play That Game'

Article excerpt

Byline: Dann Gire Daily Herald Film Critic

"Two Can Play That Game"

Opens today

Written and directed by Mark Brown. Produced by Doug McHenry, Mark Brown and Paddy Cullen. A Screen Gems release. Rated R (language). Running time: 90 minutes.

Cast:

Shante Smith Vivica A. Fox

Keith Morris Chestnut

Tony Anthony Anderson

Connie Gabrielle Union

With Mo'Nique, Wendy Rachel Robinson and Tamala Jones.

Pssst, guys! Have a girlfriend or wife you wanna take to the movies? I've got a perfect selection: "Two Can Play That Game."

I know. Sounds like some poor mope at Screen Gems won the office pool and got to name the movie, doesn't it? Anyway, "Two Can Play That Game" has everything a guy could want in a modern romantic comedy.

It has sexy Vivica A. Fox looking fine and talking sweeter than molasses during almost every scene. It has bawdy jokes and nasty situations. Mostly, it has a vitriolic, male-bashing theme that equates guys with stray dogs and constantly blasts males for being shallow and predictable.

I know, I know. Why would you want to take a woman to see a movie like that?

Because Mark Brown, who gave us that battle-of-the-sexes epic "How to Be a Player," has written and directed a film that slam- dunks your date and all her sisters without them even seeing it coming. Word.

Brown cleverly sets up "Two Can Play" as this tell-it-like-it-is diatribe against men, then subtle as a mosquito bite, turns the tables on strong, independent women so they can see how wrong and conniving and manipulative they are.

Guys, I'm telling ya, this movie is the bomb to put the little woman in her place.

See, Fox plays this independent, big-city businesswoman named Shante Smith. Since this whole story comes from her point of view, she talks directly to us through the camera, except during the parts where we see other characters saying and doing things Shante couldn't possibly know about.

(I know what you're thinking. Doesn't that violate the narrative rules set up by the screenwriter? Sure. But Fox is so easy on the eyes, we can cut the film some slack, can't we? …