Published Sep 01, 2001For those of us relegated to playing solitaire, "Two Can Play That Game" makes the green grass on the other side of the fence look as complicated as finding another hand for bridge.
Writer Mark Brown's directorial debut is a light fluffy comedy that follows the rules of love as dictated by lead character, Shante Smith (Vivica A. Fox). Shante is the mentor on which her girlfriends rely to provide the elusive answers to their man troubles. We get to benefit as well as Shante shares her insights with us, so bring a notebook. There will be a test. Indeed, she is forced to follow her own advice when her man, Keith (Morris Chestnut) does her wrong. She then employs the Ten Day Plan to teach her man a lesson. In the end, however, she learns that he and his buddy Tony (Anthony Anderson) have their own set of rules.
Anyone who has ever learned how to play chess will know that while it seems easy to play, it's hell to master. Same goes here. What appears easy on the surface ends up being hugely complicated and seemingly not for the faint of heart. "Two Can Play That Game" formulaically points this out step by step. The entire cast is funny and Brown does a reasonable job in creating a realistic voice for Shante. It's funny, fluffy and forgettable.
"Two Can Play That Game" suffers, however, from the same malady as "Sex In the City." It's almost too glamorous for its own good. Everyone seems to have it all: fabulous careers, big houses, fancy cars. Work is a pastime to divert their minds from the real job of romance. Then again, this might just be its charm. As with "Sex In The City," despite all the accoutrements of the good life, love and loneliness bring the characters down to earth with the rest of us. We're all playing the same game. Some can just afford the deluxe version is all.
So after a stressful week of employment uncertainty and romantic checkers, "Two Can Play This Game" can make you laugh and looks good doing it. While all the rules and strategies make your head spin, you realize that everyone is just as screwed up as you. Just take up the die, toss, and whatever happens, happens. Then forget about it and move on.