When the fate of the world rests in the hands of The Worm, its time to just curl up in a ball and kiss your ass goodbye.
Cast of Characters:
Simon – Dennis Rodman
Nick Miranda – Dane Cook
Macro – Ricky Harris
Micro – John Pinette
Michael Gabrielli – Filip Nikolitch
Claire Fence – Natalia Cigliuti
Xin Xin – Xin Xin Xiong
The Dancer – Emma Sjoberg
Ashton – Jerome Pradon
Bernard Gabrielli – Henry Courseaux
William Fence – Clayton Day
Director – Kevin Elders
Screenplay – Andrew Miller & Andrew Lowery
Producer – Moshe Diamant
Rated PG-13 for violence and sexuality
Interpol agent Simon (Dennis Rodman) is living quite the idyllic life in Southern France, but all that gets interrupted after bumping his old C.I.A. academy buddy Nick Miranda (Dane Cook). After a deal from American magnate William Fence (Clayton Day) that is run by Nick goes awry, a corrupt madman named Ashton (Jerome Pradon) has Clayton’s daughter, Claire (Natalia Cigliuti) kidnapped in order to receive the source of said deal – software which will activate the dangerous weaponry he seeks.
All this effort just to rule over a country whose only win at war was against itself.
Knowing Nick is so high-strung and inept he can’t even take a single step without stumbling over himself, much less save a high-profile daughter from power-hungry villains, Simon steps in to the rescue. With the help of tech-savy monks, Macro (Ricky Harris) and Micro (John Pinette), and Claire’s boyfriend Michael Gabrielli (Filip Nikolitch), Simon and Nick set out to save Claire and stop Ashton before it’s too late.
And who better to save the day than a basketball hall of fame sideshow who married himself?
Outside of hall of fame Houston Rockets center Hakeem Olajuwon, there was no better defender of the hardwood frontcourt during the late ’80s and ’90s than Dennis Rodman. Though undersized for the power forward position at 6’7″, his energy and no frills style of defense allowed him to capture two consecutive Defensive Player of the Year awards, eight selections to the NBA All-Defensive 1st and 2nd Teams (seven of which were 1st Team selections), seven league-leading rebounding titles and five NBA championships on two iconic NBA teams – the Bad Boy Detroit Pistons and the 2nd three-peat of Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls. Also in his defensive skillset was an incredible ability to play pesky mind-games with his opponents, which allowed him to get in the heads and frustrate hall of fame legends such as Magic Johnson, James Worthy, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Kevin McHale and Karl Malone.
If squeezing Big Game James’s ass for four quarters guarantees you a ring, then you grab that ass tightly and never let go.
Naturally, studios heads, for every understandably justifiable reason known to man, saw those career accomplishments and said, “Hey, this guy would be great in movies.”
Sure, makes perfect sense to me.
Simon Sez – Rodman’s sophomore effort following his tour-de-force turn opposite Jean Claude Van Damme and Academy Award nominee Mickey Rourke in Double Team – wants to be the action-comedy hybrid of Lethal Weapon and Spy Game. Wants to be. Instead, it is so mind-numbingly idiotic it makes Leslie Nielsen’s Spy Hard look like Bruce Willis’s Die Hard. The only similarity it shares with Lethal Weapon is that the two leads are black and white.
At its core, Simon Sez might seem your basic made-for-TV espionage thriller revolving around Rodman’s hero rescuing the daughter of a poor man’s Robert Redford (the real-life Redford didn’t appear, probably ’cause he had anything else better to do). However, director Kevin Elders and writers Andrew Miller and Andrew Lowery have taken your basic, ho-hum, made-for-TV espionage thriller and patched together a cinematic abortion that features so many “What the fucks?” that defy explanation, the first and foremost being why Interpol would think that a heavily pierced, tattooed and hair-dyed circus freak would make an effective espionage agent.
The second being why Simon’s tech-savvy sidekicks are monks. There’s no real reason as to why they’re monks, but I guess friar robes were the only costumes left in the wardrobe closet. Apparently, monks are skilled at monitoring spy missions, dancing awkwardly, martial arts, creating useless quicksand pits, playing poker… pretty much nothing that monks actually do.
The third being if Dane Cook can go five seconds without uttering an abhorrent, freakish animal sound.
The fourth being how many people developed epilepsy during that heavily strobe-lighted sex scene between Rodman and Emma Sjoberg.
The fifth being if the flamboyant-est of all flamboyant villain’s reasons for blowing up the Paris’s Eiffel Tower extend beyond it being “big” and “delicious” and “he’s tired of looking at it”.
Yes… it’s big… and delicious… and he’s tired of looking at it.
To this film’s mild bit of credit, and I can’t emphasize mild enough, it never takes itself too seriously. It’s clear Elders, Miller and Lowery aimed to make their own buddy-cop action/comedy. The problem, however, is that Miller and Lowery’s script is about ten intellectual points below full-blown retarded. Every lame-ass attempt at humor falls flat on its face and dies right there on the spot, yes, right there along with everyone else’s film careers. What else do you expect with choice gems like these?
“When did Interpol start hiring sideshow freaks?”
“When did you start doing business with arms dealers?”
Now, admittedly, the first line is a decent crack that at least shows a little bit of self-awareness to the absurdity of Rodman as a secret agent, but what the hell kind of blank, matter-of-fact comeback is that?
The production quality isn’t any better. It’s not like Elders is shooting for style over substance points here, and if that was his intention, then his interpretation of style must be vastly different than mine… and everyone else’s. The effects look like they were ripped straight out Eiffel 65’s “Blue (Da Ba Dee)” music video, and the stunt choreography is a mixed bag that ranges from a decent kick or two, John Pinette (most will recognize him as the fat armed robbery victim from the season finale of Seinfeld) trying to jump and Simon taking a motorbike and magically looping it around the roof of a tunnel.
Fast & Furious called. They said they have an issue with the total disregard for physics in your stunts.
The grand money shot here, though, is one particular stunt that involves Pinette stumbling over a bridge and hanging on for dear life from it. The surprise here isn’t so much the stunt being pulled as is the glaringly obvious stunt double that looks a quarter of Pinette’s size. Now, I get that overweight stunt doubles aren’t exactly a surplus commodity in Hollywood, but they at least could’ve picked someone that wouldn’t easily be mistaken for Karen Carpenter.
That is one hell of a camera trick.
Or perhaps rolling over the bridge guardrail was such an intense workout that Pinette managed to shed 200 lbs. in the span of 2 seconds.
The performances are, expectedly, bad… horrendous actually. I’ll be the first to admit that I actually enjoy Dane Cook’s standup, but save Mr. Brooks (where he may be overshadowed by veterans Kevin Costner and William Hurt, but he’s still solid), there’s no way to sugarcoat how shitty his film career has been. The only impressive thing about watching him spaz out here for 80-90 minutes is that it will have you wishing you were watching Employee of the Month instead. Channeling the best version of a Bond baddie that he can, Jerome Pradon whips and lisps and snaps and sashays about the screen like a caricature of caricature of Bond baddie. On a scale of moderately feminine to all-out flaming, Ashton sits somewhere around incinerated to a crisp.
Believe it or not, it’s reported that Dane Cook’s role was originally meant for Robert Downey, Jr., but he backed out. I’m assuming it was to something more beneficial like indulge in a near career-ending drug habit.
The big shocker here is how Kevin Elders gets his hands on easily the most energetic, openly and unapologetically flamboyant NBA star of the ’90s and mutes him. Sure, this film is utter horse shit, and having Rodman shout, shake, go jazz-hands crazy and bounce around as frenetically as the Four Loko and speedball junkie that composed the techno score wouldn’t change a damn thing. But how you pull the reins on Rodman from start to finish is beyond me.
But watching The Worm snarl “It ain’t… over.” like he’s shooting for an Oscar in an intense Michael Mann thriller, that alone is worth wasting your time on this mindless drivel.
Judgment: Led by an inexplicably droned-out Dennis Rodman, a wildly manic Dane Cook and a gold star script probably scribbled out in crayon, Simon Sez takes stupidity to levels rarely reached by a film. If its goal was to give Double Team a competency boost, then I guess they managed to do one thing right.
Sentence: 50 years of Rodzilla treating you to the “James Worthy Special”.