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Better Throw This One Back

By Rita Kempley
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, September 15, 2000


Federal agents use con man Alvin Sanders (Jamie Foxx) as "Bait."
(Castle Rock Entertainment)
Jamie Foxx plays the title role in "Bait," a haphazard, ham-handed, wholly illogical comic thriller that really ought to be called "Hook, Line and Stinker."

Foxx brings plenty of comic presence to the part of a petty con man who becomes the unwitting tool of a ruthless T-man (David Morse) who seems to think Miranda Rights is the name of a Spanish gal in a big fruit hat.

Unfortunately, Foxx's performance is all but negated by the inept direction of Antoine Fuqua ("The Replacement Killers"). A graduate of commercials and music videos, the filmmaker spends more time crafting elaborate car chases than he does on the hero's zany shenanigans.

Fuqua, who wouldn't know what's funny if he fell into a barrel of monkeys, also takes a ludicrously sober approach to this slight, shopworn caper, as do the picture's co-stars. Morse is utterly humorless as the dour U.S. Treasury agent, who has the protagonist's jaw broken and a tracking device inserted when the poor boob undergoes surgery. This will enable the task force to keep tabs on Our Hero, who is being stalked by a wacky robber.

Doug Hutchison ("The Green Mile"), as the movie's lisping, psychotic villain, is almost literally being John Malkovich–his performance mirrors Malkovich's quietly menacing stalker in Clint Eastwood's "In the Line of Fire." Now that was a ripping thriller. "Bait," on the other hand, casts a wide net and comes up without so much as a red herring.

BAIT (R, 118 minutes) – Contains violence, sexuality and profanity.


© Copyright 2000 The Washington Post Company

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