Director: Michael Tiddes Cast: Marlon Wayans, Regina Hall, Dennis Haysbert, Eliza Coupe, Scott Foley Rating: PG-13 Year: 2017
It’s easy to imagine the expression of pure jubilation that must have rolled across Marlon Wayans’s face the moment he realized that, by remaking the 2000 Swedish Comedy Naken, he could easily highlight his– ahem– assets. I guess any excuse is a good excuse to flaunt mother-naked in front of a camera when you’ve got a great ass.
To that end, a lot of the cheeky sight gags in Naked work. Wayans expertly times the exposing of his posterior to a crowd of gasping onlookers while hastily breaking the tape at the finish line of a marathon while being pursued by security. Shortly thereafter we’re treated to a well-paced rotation of makeshift getups– think bikini bottoms and a lavishly feathered robe– that crests when Wayans is forced into a laughably inept dance routine set to C+C Music Factory’s “Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now)” for the musings of an intimidating gang of motorcycle bruisers who may or may not murder him.
Similarly crass humor accentuates Naked. Thankfully, the film benefits from yet another spirited performance by Wayans. Through the good and the bad, Marlon’s energy is infectious and his charm irresistible.
This time out he’s Rob Anderson, young slacker who’s perfectly content living out his life as a popular substitute teacher at a prep school where he kicks around “flies” and “phonies” with his adoring students. To top it off, Rob is about to wed his long-time doctor girlfriend, Megan, played by the lovely Regina Hall. Hall isn’t doing anything new here, but she and Wayans play well off each other and I found myself compelled by her performance whenever the story called on her.
The story itself is pretty stark and standard. The day before his wedding, Rob discovers he’s trapped in a never-ending time loop that has him living and reliving the same hour before he and his fiancée are supposed to say “I do.” Each do-over, Rob wakes up on the floor of an elevator with no recollection of how he got there. Oh, yeah, and he’s completely naked.
Naked rises, washes, and repeats the Groundhog’s Day formula over and over again until Rob learns the valuable lesson he’s meant to learn. It’s a well-worn premise with a familiar moral. Thankfully, at 96 minutes, it doesn’t take him too long to catch on. Each go-around Rob betters himself to become the man his future wife truly deserves.
During one of his cycles, Rob attends some random couple’s wedding, notepad in hand, to get a sense of how to write meaningful, heartwarming vows. When their vows start spilling over into the one-hour mark, Rob frantically suggests the couple skips to the end. At another point Rob has a scantily clad run-in with R&B artist Brian McKnight, who then shares some heartfelt advice about persistence. Of course these awkward situations are played for laughs, but they also play a part in furthering Rob’s character.
It’s cheesy and formulaic and not every joke lands, but Naked streaks by briskly enough that you won’t have to dedicate a whole lot of time to it. If you’re staying in with a cuddle buddy and surfing Netflix for a few good laughs, Naked is worth a peep.
What did you all think of Naked and are you a fan of Marlon Wayans? Let us know in the comments below!