Film released by Dreamworks, September 2002
Soundtrack released October 2002
With Big Fat Liar a major commercial success, and less mainstream items adding to his profile, the release of the soundtrack to The Tuxedo on Varèse Sarabande (one of the market leaders in film soundtrack distribution) points up his role as part of one of Jackie Chan's biggest hits to date. Doing good business in the United States, it is set to arrive to good reception in Europe through its mixture of comedy, hi-tec spy coolness and trademark Chan acrobatics.
The premise of the film - Chan is a cab driver/chauffeur who dons millionaire's prized (and technologically surprising) tux to become an unwitting secret agent - is slim, but no-doubt allows composers Beck and John Debney much opportunity for Bond parody and smooth contemporary action music.
Beck's music only amounts to 15'43" but stands up admirably with Debney (21'11"), whose experience with both action and comedy film scores (think The Scorpion King, Cats & Dogs and My Favourite Martian) has made him a useful alternative to higher profile composers such as John Williams or Danny Elfman. In fact his involvement in the two Spy Kids films is a link between him and spy movies, and also between him and Elfman, whose Men in Black movies (and music for Spy Kids) are identifiable as a positive influence. Beck's score was written first for the entire film, but an 11th hour studio decision was made to bring in Debney to replace around half the score. Whatever the reason for this there appears to have been no hard feelings towards Debney whatsoever on Beck's part, and judging by the effectiveness of Debney's score in tandem, the respect appears to have been mutual.
The Varèse release, for better or worse, chooses not to segregate the composers' music completely but it is noticeable that cues from each gravitate into small groups. Unlike the mish-mash of music cue collaborations in the first Spy Kids movie, Beck and Debney appear to be working moreorless in stylistic harmony, each favouring the contemporary techno-influence over orchestral fireworks, but neither neglecting it entirely. Beck's music at least on disc is more reticent than Debney's, perhaps harking back more to the clean-textured whimsy of McNeely's The Avengers, wheras Debney's cues verge on the distracting, but between them there is balance.
For Chris Beck fans, the highlight may well be the brief track 15. And as a whole, this disc shows once and for all that Beck has left behind the Buffy day job and moved decisively into a career as film composer.
Full music credits
None noted. See score soundtrack release details for orchestrators, and the Internet Movie Database for other credits.