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The Tuxedo

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Aging gracefully is difficult for movie stars, but it can be particularly hard for action heroes, who are still expected to decimate foes, create mass havoc, and kick ass even at an age when they'd rather be napping on a beach somewhere. Jackie Chan made his mark performing superhuman stunts, but time has a way of creeping up on even the most formidable daredevil and martial artist. Accordingly, Chan's last few vehicles have attempted to compensate for their star's decreased mobility by piling on costars and gimmicks. First, Chan was paired with wisecracking motormouth Chris Tucker for the smash buddy-comedy Rush Hour and its sequel. Then, he was partnered with Owen Wilson as a laconic, anachronistic cowboy for Shanghai Noon. Now, and least promisingly, he's been teamed up with Jennifer Love Hewitt and a super-high-tech piece of formalwear for The Tuxedo. Essentially Jackie Chan's Inspector Gadget, The Tuxedo casts Chan as a particularly thin version of his trademark put-upon everyman. A meek cab driver nursing an unrequited crush on a pretty art dealer, Chan is pressed into service as a chauffeur for a James Bond-like secret agent after impressing C.S.A. operative Debi Mazar with his reckless disregard for human life during a frantic cab ride. Chan is further pressed into service after his secret-agent boss, seemingly fatally injured, instructs Chan to don his computer-enhanced suit and assume his identity. In a slightly less obnoxious variation on her role as a sadistic sexpot in Heartbreakers, Hewitt costars as a driven government agent who reluctantly teams up with Chan to fight a Bond-derived villain intent on taking over the world. Chan's American vehicles often rise or fall on the strength of his chemistry with his costars, but his sparks with Hewitt can charitably be described as nonexistent. Hewitt seems eager to shatter her girl-next-door-in-a-Wonderbra persona by playing rough-edged characters, but here, as in Heartbreakers, her acidic insults and put-downs are off-putting and unfunny. Like its titular garment, The Tuxedo is a frenetic, busy, expensive machine that looks good but runs on autopilot.