Picks and Pans Review: Bait

updated 09/25/2000 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 09/25/2000 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Jamie Foxx, David Morse

As a comedian, Foxx, who has his own WB sitcom, likes to doodle, embroidering a line of dialogue with small jokes. Limber and light, he's all but crushed by this heavy-handed thriller directed by Antoine Fuqua (The Replacement Killers) in a style darkly glossy and pointlessly fussy. Foxx keeps tossing off jokes and Fuqua keeps throwing them away.

Foxx, a small-time crook, spends cell time with a big-time crook who cheated a partner in a gold-brick heist. The feds, headed by the ever-more-Clintonian Morse, think Foxx may have learned where the gold is hidden (he hasn't) and set him loose with a tracking device in his jaw. The thief's partner, a high-tech killer acting on the same assumption as the feds, also comes calling. It's all very confusing and somehow ends up with crazed horses and a baby in a booby-trapped car.

As the partner, Doug Hutchison (The Green Mile) seems to be trying to match John Malkovich's silken hit man in In the Line of Fire. He comes across instead as monumentally peevish, like a man sentenced to life with a pea under his mattress. (R)

Bottom Line: Don't take it

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