The Tuxedo looks pretty silly on the surface--and there are plenty of moments in the film where you try hard to suspend your disbelief. But in actuality the film's fast-paced action and tongue-in-cheek humor ends up pleasantly surprising you. It starts off a little contrived as we are introduced to mild-mannered Jimmy Tong (Jackie Chan) a speed-happy cab driver who takes a job as chauffeur to millionaire Clark Devlin (Jason Isaacs). Jimmy likes his devilishly smooth new employer and adheres to Devlin's only rule: don't mess with his prized tuxedo. But what Jimmy soon discovers is that Devlin is not who he seems to be. When the millionaire is suddenly taken out of commission by a car bomb he tells Jimmy to put on the tux and go save the world. This is where things start getting interesting. What is it about this suit that is obviously "not a rental" (and where can we get one)? To find out our friend puts it on and is immediately thrust into a dangerous world of espionage where the walking super computer disguised as a tuxedo is Jimmy's only ally. Pairing up with a rookie partner Del Blaine (Jennifer Love Hewitt) who thinks she knows everything Jimmy becomes an unwitting--if nicely dressed--secret agent trying to stop a madman (Ritchie Coster) from poisoning the world's water supply.
One of the hardest working men in Hollywood Chan just has a golden touch. Starting with 1998's Rush Hour his movies showing his affable personality and his particular martial arts magic have proven to be profitable at the box office again and again--and The Tuxedo should fall right into that pattern. Besides his amazing physical abilities the best thing about Chan is his knowing how to laugh at himself. And does the guy have a rapport with every American actor out there (i.e. Chris Tucker and Owen Wilson)? The stumbling block to this movie could have easily been his chemistry with co-star Hewitt but they haven't stumped the man yet. Clearly these two had a lot of fun making this movie together and we finally get to see Chan display some romantic tendencies. Hewitt has deftly moved from horror queen (I Know What You Did Last Summer) into comedy with this performance as well as with her comic turn in last year's sleeper Heartbreakers. She can play the tough vulnerable bitch along with the best of them. Coster as baddie Diedrich Banning has a menacingly British look to him (a la any of the British villains in Snatch) which against our lovable Asian works well.
Director Kevin Donovan basically just has to sit back and let Chan do all the choreography. Of course he throws in a few bells and whistles of his own especially in the opening sequence that follows the path of a mountain spring right into a water bottling plant as well as letting us in to see the inner workings of the infamous tux. But the film is pure Chan from fight sequence to fight sequence. For his amazing stunts he puts to use the simplest of things--rope a pair of pants a shot glass balanced atop Jennifer Love Hewitt's head all while fighting off 50 men at a time. Just as Fred Astaire could dance magnificently with just about anything in his surroundings so does Chan elevate butt kicking to an art form. His show stopping singing and dancing routine to James Brown's "Sex Machine" shows a new side to Chan. The Tuxedo definitely has a very secret agent feel to it from Banning's underground lair to his dastardly master plan but it's more like TV's Batman than anything else. In essence the film doesn't take itself seriously so even though the plot line is thin you can still enjoy the fun.