Movie Review: The Spy Next Door (2010)

Posted: April 7, 2012 in Comedy
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Bob Ho(Jackie Chan)  is a spy on loan to the CIA from the Chinese intelligence service.  He is trying to catch Russian spy Poldark (Magnus Scheving) who is developing an oil eating bacteria, so that Russia can corner the world oil market.  Bob would happily give up the spy business for the love of his next door neighbor Gillian (Amber Valetta) , but Gillian has three kids and Bob has to win them over before he can win Gillian’s heart.  Poldark breaks out of prison and tires to find the formula for the oil eating bacteria, which was mistakenly downloaded by Gillian’s son Ian (Will Shadley)   Now Bob must protect the kids from an onslaught of rampaging Russian spies, while the kids and Gillian still think he’s a boring pen salesman. What’s more, Bob has to uncover a mole in the CIA.  Who is the mole?  What happens when Gillian finds out the truth about Bob?  Does Bob ever bond with Gillian’s kids?

This is a typical fish out of water story, the superspy has to become Mr. Mom  to win his girlfriend’s kids over.  There are the requisite bratty kids, and the romance does not work at all between Valetta and Chan, he’s 55 after all, and looks it.  But it is Chan, his humor, boyish charm, and utter likability, that makes this movie rise above the run of the mill fish out of water comedy.  There are even moments of tenderness in this movie, when Chan talks about being an orphan in China even through the broken English, one can sense the heartfelt sincerity in his voice, and when he sings a Chinese lullaby in Chinese, it’s just very sweet.  The action sequences are funny, nobody does comedic martial arts better than Chan, even at 55.  Yes, George Lopez is a disappointment, for a comedian to be that unfunny in a comedic film is unforgivable.  I won’t even mention how pathetic Billy Ray Cyrus is.  Does anyone believe that Billy Ray Cyrus could be a CIA agent?  No.  But Jackie Chan still has enough in the tank to be entertaining all by himself.

The Spy Next Door.  Spy Neighbor.

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