Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Spy Next Door

Directed by Brian Levant.
2010. Rated PG, 95 minutes.
Jackie Chan
Amber Valletta
Madeline Carroll
Will Shadley
Magus Scheving
Billy Ray Cyrus
George Lopez

Bob Ho (Chan) is a spy on loan to the US from China. Given the climate of America’s current relations with China, let that marinate a bit. Okay, let’s move on. Bob has fallen in love with Gillian (Valletta), a single mom of three. One small problem: her kids hate him. He decides to retire, it seems largely because he’s tired to lying to her about his job. When she has to go out of town he leaps at the chance to babysit, hoping for a chance to bond with the kids and change their opinion of him. Of course, the bad guy he busted at the beginning of the movie has escaped and is trying to take over the world…or something. Kung fu hijinks and spy shenanigans ensue.

With only a little more info about the children, you could start penning the script and without having seen it and you’ll probably end up with something fairly close to what actually plays out on screen. If you doubt me, I’ll give you the tools you need to test my theory. The oldest daughter needs a serious attitude adjustment. The boy is a pathological teller of harmless lies and a wide-eyed geek who’s probably seen a Jackie Chan movie or twelve. The youngest girl constantly says and does annoying things that are supposed to be cute. Go.

Okay, so you don’t want to spend the 20 minutes it would take to actually write it down but you get the picture. The one thing you won’t be able to get near are the acrobatic and frenetic action scenes that are Jackie Chan’s signature and the saving grace of this movie. Admittedly, these aren’t top-notch, seeming to defy the laws of physics Chan scenes but they’re still fun and funnier than any of the so-called jokes in the script.

Between fight scenes, all sorts of cornball stuff wrapped in cheesy dialogue goes on. It’s nothing we haven’t seen a dozen times before. In fact, while watching it I kept wondering “Isn’t it way too soon for a remake of The Pacifier?"

The Opposite View: Prairie Miller, NewsBlaze

What the Internet Says: 5.2/10 on (7/13/10), 12% on 27/100 on

MY SCORE: 4/10

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