New Reviews
Divergent
Django Unchained
Captain Corelli's Mandolin
Les Misérables
Quartet
Chernobyl Diaries
The Cabin in the Woods
Balibo

The Spy Next Door (2010)

Starring:

Alina Foley

Amber Valletta

Billy Ray Cyrus

George Lopez

Jackie ChanJackie Chan

Katherine Boecher

Madeline Carroll

Magnús Scheving

Will Shadley

Directed by:

Brian Levant

Rating: 5/10

US Certificate: PG UK Certificate: PG

For some reason, every action guy usually decides at some point to make a movie for the kids in his fan base—maybe we should blame Arnold Schwarzenegger. This is almost always a bit of disaster, with said tough dude looking like he might just accidentally drop a hand grenade to close to little Tommy. Jackie Chan, in his role as Bob Ho, Super Spy Guy—actually does seem like a guy who could pull off the cover of dorky pen salesman who would be living in suburbia with some kids—maybe it’s because he’s always kind of a funny guy anyway, but he does avoid the cliché of “tough guy trying to deal with precocious brats” that’s a common denominator of most films of this ilk. Sure, there are still all those other problems—bad acting, predictably silly story, kids you want to ship off to boarding school, stereotypical Russian accents—but Jackie Chan being a believable normal guy is not one of them.

Bob Ho (Chan) has long been a spy on loan from China, working for our CIA with unlikely spy types such as his director (George Lopez) and his partner (Billy Ray Cyrus) to take down some very thick-accented Russians who have a very evil formula they’re trying to use to suck up the world’s oil supply. Now, Bob’s fallen for the woman next door—Gillian (Amber Valletta), a single mom whose three children think he’s quite possibly the nerdiest, most boring loser around, and who are dead set on his budding relationship with their mother. Bob quits his spying career for love to become a stable husband for Gillian, but first he has to win over those horrible kids, a task severely compromised when he’s dragged back in to a deadly international operation with those kooky Russians.

It’s hard to get past those kids. Of course they’re supposed to be annoying and rude, so that when they finally come around to liking Bob there’s some sort of warming of the heart realization scene—but did they have to be SO unlikeable? The same can be said of Gillian—who the heck knows why she’s the prize here. And no, it’s not like anyone’s expecting greatness from any part of this, but the editing is strange, Billy Ray Cyrus is somehow a CIA operative, and life lessons and sappy moments are interspersed with spy shenanigans. Chan’s action sequences, especially those in the house when he has to improvise his weaponry, and the fight in the restaurant, are fun to watch and inventive in parts, and again, Chan adds a likeability factor that saves the whole thing from drowning completely. Not something I’d recommend seeing in a theater, but for a rental, especially with a younger audience, it’s harmless.

It’s those obnoxious kids that are at the crux of this silly tale. See, our man Bob Ho (Chan) has been a spy on loan from China, working for out CIA with folks like his director (George Lopez) and his partner (Billy Ray Cyrus) to bring down some very thick-accented Russians. Now, though, he’s fallen in love with the girl next door—literally, she lives next door—Gillian (Amber Valletta), a single mom whose three children hate him. Bob quits his spying career in order to become a stable husband for Gillian, but first he has to win over those bratty kids, a task severely compromised when he’s dragged back in to a deadly international operation with those kooky Russians.

It’s hard to get past those kids. Of course they’re supposed to be annoying and rude, so that when they finally come around to liking Bob there’s some sort of warming of the heart realization scene—but did they have to be SO unlikeable? The same can be said of Gillian—who the heck knows why she’s the prize here. And no, it’s not like anyone’s expecting greatness from any part of this, but the editing is strange, Billy Ray Cyrus is somehow a CIA operative, and life lessons and sappy moments are interspersed with spy shenanigans. Chan’s action sequences, especially those in the house when he has to improvise his weaponry, and the fight in the restaurant, are fun to watch and inventive in parts, and again, Chan adds a likeability factor that saves the whole thing from drowning completely. Not something I’d recommend seeing a theater, but for a rental, especially with a younger audience, it’s harmless.

It's Got: Some nifty gadgets, A few good fight scenes, Nice Bowie/Iggy Pop references

It Needs: Better acting, Less cringe-worthy kids, Better female character for Bob to love

DVD Extras "Jackie Chan: Stunt Master and Mentor"; “Adventures in Acting with the Kids from The Spy Next Door"; blooper reel DVD Extras Rating: 4/10

Summary

Sure, it’s bad, overacted, strangely edited, and totally ridiculous, but it could’ve been worse, and at least Chan seems like a good guy.

Image Gallery

The Spy Next Door click for full size image The Spy Next Door click for full size image The Spy Next Door click for full size image The Spy Next Door click for full size image The Spy Next Door click for full size image The Spy Next Door click for full size image The Spy Next Door click for full size image The Spy Next Door click for full size image The Spy Next Door click for full size image The Spy Next Door click for full size image The Spy Next Door click for full size image The Spy Next Door click for full size image
There are 12 images available in our gallery. Click on the thumbnail pictures for the full size images or view the full gallery

Post a Comment

Your email is never shared. Required fields are marked *

*
*