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Despite the hit or miss string of movies Marlon Wayans has got himself involved in over the years, there’s no denying the infectious charisma the actor brings to his performances. While he’s shown he can do the occasional drama, comedies are his wheelhouse and he churns them out pretty regularly, from spoofs to goofs, and here he’s at it again with Naked, a kind of Groundhog Day meets well … pick any wedding day romantic comedy. It’s light stuff to be sure, missing plenty of opportunities given the premise, but it’s got energy to spare thanks to Wayans who is, as the title suggest, straight up naked nearly the whole show.
Wayans plays Rob Anderson, a substitute teacher engaged to the lovely Megan Swope (Regina Hall), a wealthy doctor from a wealth family. He’s good at his job, even earning himself a possible full-time position, but right now, he’s got other things on his mind. It seems, after the wedding rehearsal, he got himself a few too many drinks and has woken up in a jammed elevator, completely nude. As workers free him, he discovers he’s in the wrong hotel and far from where the ceremony is already started. Just when he’s got it all figured out though, ending up in a jail cell, he’s right back in the elevator and having to do it again. And again. And …
Directed by Michael Tiddes, Naked is a pretty tepid comedy, relying entirely on Wayans’ almost immeasurable presence to deliver the goods, though even with that, there’s little here that hits the mark. There’s no secrets, and if you’ve seen the far superior Groundhog Day or even have the faintest clue to what the genre is about, then you know he’s on this merry-go-round for a reason and must redeem himself and his past transgressions in the eyes of Megan, her family, and his friends if he’s gonna make it out.
Naturally, Rob must learn much about Megan and the important people in life along the way and all that is fine if not threadbare, but the film never takes it seriously enough to make even the comedy work. Like a worn out televison show that relies on star cameos to keep up ratings, Rob runs into people, like singer Brian McKnight at a pool and of course wins him over. Not that McKnight is anything but great, just that the script seems looking for anything to keep afloat. The premise itself isn’t all that bad, but there’s no zip to the shenanigans with gags and what-nots all sort of sputtering.
Kudos to Wayans though who commits two hundred percent, literally putting himself out there in more ways than one. He’s got the timing and skills to be one of his generation’s finest physical comedians, hitting beats right on the mark every time, but the film is far too flat for even him to make it hum, even when he earns a few good laughs. Repetitive, and not in ways that click, predictable and uninspired, Naked is a passable night at the movies. Naked is currently streaming on Netflix.
Movie description: Naked is a 2017 comedy about a man who is forced to relive the same nerve-wracking hours over and over again until he gets things right on his wedding day.
Director(s): Michael Tiddes
Actor(s): Regina Hall, Neil Brown Jr., Marlon Wayans