Producer Jerry Bruckheimer, whose résumé is gold-plated with dimwitted escapism -- The Rock, Armageddon, Con Air, Gone in 60 Seconds -- has always insisted he not only gives audiences what they want but what they didn't even know they craved. Here, he's made a major miscalculation: Bad Company is something no one wants or will ever need. It's so out of touch it seems to exist in a fantasy world -- one in which New Yorkers aren't upset at, or even distracted by, the sight of Anthony Hopkins and Chris Rock running through Grand Central Station shouting, "Out of my way! CIA!"
Bad Company's story doesn't even sound like a real movie: Chris Rock plays a CIA agent gone undercover as an antiques dealer who also buys nuclear weapons. When Rock is killed by rival buyers, CIA agent Anthony Hopkins recruits Rock's streetwise, ticket-scalping, chess-playing twin to seal the deal, with only a week to train him.
Directed by Joel Schumacher (the man who killed the Batman franchise) and written by a gaggle of hacks, Bad Company is the first Bruckheimer film to bore the hell out of its audience. Hopkins proves there is a fine line between a character played weary and an actor grown uninterested; he appears to be in a different movie altogether. (At least Robert Duvall, who occasionally slums it in Bruckheimer pics, gives his all.) As hustler Jake Hayes, Rock is at his best when mimicking his own stand-up act. But as in Nurse Betty and Down to Earth, Rock hints that there's no substance to his work without the spotlight focused directly on him. He plays every scene so broadly that there's no room for anyone else; he's a ball hog who keeps dropping the ball at key moments. If this is supposed to be comedy, why isn't it ever funny?
To damn Bad Company as insensitive and empty-headed is, ultimately, to give it too much credit. The filmmakers aren't serious men, and theirs is not a sober movie. It doesn't even make sense, and everyone involved apparently knows it: Scenes are bogged down with reams of jargon and jibber-jabber, exposition meant to imply great depth but there only to confuse and distract us from the sad reality that in this movie, like most everything else Bruckheimer's ever done, nothing means anything.