Corporate espionage meets romance.
The plot of the film follows Ray Koval, an MI6 agent, and Claire Stenwick, a CIA operative who cooperate in a con poised to undercut a company who has discovered a cure for baldness and sell the formula, running off with the money themselves.
Tropes associated with this work:
- Anachronic Order: We jump from how Ray and Claire first met to the present day, and then back to the other times they've met, and so on.
- Brief Accent Imitation: Ray puts on a southern accent when seducing someone from Burkett & Randle.
- The Chessmaster: Ray and Claire think they are, but in reality, it's Howard.
- Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Claire and Ray both do this to each other.
- Con Men Hate Guns - no celebrities were shot in the making of this picture.
- Foreshadowing: During the opening credits, Howard and Dick get into an argument that turns into a fight, and Howard is winning by the time the credits end; over the course of the movie, Howard ends up triumphing over Dick again in a different kind of contest.
- Gambit Pileup: Their primary gambit requires an increasing number of sub-gambits all of which are rendered moot by Howard Tully's Batman Gambit that trumps them all.
- Happily Ever After: Hilariously subverted.Ray: At least we have each other.
Claire: It really is that bad, isn't it?Ray: Kind of, yeah.
- In Medias Res: The story shifting back and forth in time.
- Insistent Terminology: It's a lotion, not a skin cream.
- Ironic Echo: When the head of Equikrom's espionage unit is telling his boss about the history of Ronny Patiz, he mentions that Ronny made some kind of lotion. The boss asks if it was a cream or a lotion. Toward the end of the film, when Ray and Claire are selling Ronny's formula for a hair-growth shampoo to the Swiss, they are told, "This formula is nothing but a common skin cream. Sorry, a lotion."
- Kansas City Shuffle: Tully has no product. He knew all about the spies, and set up an elaborate hoax to waste their time and make Garsik look foolish. At the end, Garsik is announcing the miraculous new cure for baldness he just "developed" to the world, while the spies' buyer tells them that their "cure" is a worthless formula for skin lotion...
- MockGuffin: The formula Claire and Ray are trying to steal doesn't exist; Howard only pretended there was one to embarrass Dick and fool Claire and Ray.
- The Mole: Claire has been working as one inside Howard's company for over a year. Pam has also been a mole inside Garsik's, which is why Howard knows about what Claire and Ray are really up to.
- One-Word Title: As a movie about spies, which are usually duplicitous.
- The Schlub Pub Seduction Deduction: A gender-swapped version. Hottie Clive Owen chats up a frumpy woman as a ploy to get her to take him back to her office in order to access the company's computer network. His female colleague is not happy about this tactic, despite the fact that she pulled the same stunt in their first meeting, in order to steal some files Owen was carrying.
- "Shaggy Dog" Story: Howard just wanted to make Richard look foolish by having him chase his tail, and he succeeds in fooling Claire and Ray as well.
- Sharp-Dressed Man: Ray, very much so.
- Split Screen: Usually done to announce a Flashback.
- Title In: New locations are introduced with on-screen text.
- Wunza Plot: On its movie poster - "She's ex-Cia. He's ex-MI-5, together they are stealing a fortune."