25 sept. 2010
My Review: The Spy Next Door (4/10)
The Spy Next Door is a family movie that actually won`t be enjoyed by the entire family. I can imagine kids having a good time with this film, but adults won`t find any of the material entertaining since they`ve laughed at the same jokes a long time ago. I don`t understand how Disney Pixar or DreamWorks can make animated films adults and kids enjoy alike (such as Toy Story, How to Train Your Dragon, and Shrek for example), but somehow no one has come up with a solution to making an entertaining live action family movies (Marmaduke, Cats and Dogs, and now this). We have seen these kinds of movies before where the villains are really dumb, and the hero can do just about anything except raising kids. Since we`ve been bombarded with so many remakes in the last years, I even thought this might be a remake of The Pacifier which starred Van Diesel as a marine who had to babysit a couple of kids. The only difference was that Jackie Chan was playing the role of Diesel. Even director, Brian Levant, had made a similar movie before this, starring Ice Cube in ¨Are We There Yet? ¨ I guess this was a similar version for white folks. Levant is also the man responsible for bringing us films like Beethoven, The Flintstones, and Jingle All the Way; the writers haven`t done anything better either: Jonathan Bernstein and James Greer are responsible for writing the script for such movies as Just My Luck and Larry the Cable Guy: Health Inspector. Gregory Poirier was also hired to help improve the script, but he was the director of Tomcats, so as you can see there wasn`t much talent behind the making of the film, except perhaps the actors.
Jackie Chan is Bob Ho, a Chinese Spy who is working for the CIA. His partner is Colton James (Billy Ray Cyrus) who really doesn`t do much except let Bob do all the work, and their boss is Glaze (George Lopez). They are on a mission to arrest Poldark (Magnus Scheving), a Russian spy who has broken into an American oil refinery. Once Bob makes the arrest he decides to retire because he wants to propose to his girlfriend, Gillian (Amber Valleta), who happens to be his next door neighbor. Gillian is a single mother who is very much in love with Bob, but her three kids aren`t very fond of him so she isn`t ready to commit. They don`t know he is a spy and actually think he is a boring guy who makes a living as a pen importer. Bob will have to find a way to befriend the kids: The oldest is Farren (Madeline Carroll), an adolescent teenager who wants to dress as she pleases, next is Ian (Will Shadley), a very smart kid who gets beat up in class and tends to lie a lot, and the smallest is Nora (Alina Foley), a very cute and adorable four year old girl who likes pink very much. When Gillian has to travel to take care of her sick father, Bob realizes it’s the perfect time to bond with the kids so he decides to take care of them. Little does he know that the kids are planning on making his experience a nightmare, and at the same time Poldark has escaped from prison and wants something from Bob.
The only entertaining value I got from this film was from Jackie Chan, whose stunts are always fun to watch. The opening scene where we got clips of Chan`s previous movies was actually the best part of the film with the ¨Secret Agent Man¨ song in the background. The rest of the movie is very predictable, the characters are one dimensional and stereotypical, and the dialogue is pretty bad. The kid actors were actually pretty good and I thought Alina Foley was very cute in the film (too bad they didn`t have the right material to work with). I have to admit that I watched this film dubbed in Spanish so that did affect the film quite a bit since some of the performances are missed in the translation. The movie was pretty bad and was very similar to The Pacifier and Are We There Yet? so it losses some more points there. I wouldn`t recommend this film, although I know some kids might enjoy the silly comedy, and Jackie Chan fans might want to check it out as well as he plays his usual self. Before watching this movie I had just seen The Godfather Part I and II, The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, and One Flew Over the Cuckoo`s Nest, so that was probably a little unfair on my part to critique this movie right after watching those masterpieces. Anyways, I don`t recommend this.