The Spy Next Door
September 3, 2010
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Director: Brian Levant
Writer: Jonathan Bernstein/James Greer/Gregory Poirier
Producers: Robert Simonds
Starring: Jackie Chan/Amber Valletta/Billy Ray Cyrus/George Lopez
BBFC Certification: PG
Duration: 94 minutes
The Spy Next Door is one of those movies that nobody takes any notice of because by looking at the poster or the trailer, you know the entire story. The movie is very predictable as the plot is basically about an action star who learns about family values by taking care of misbehaving, naughty children while taking care of bad guys at the same time. Jackie Chan is the main star of the story as he plays Bob Ho, a retired CIA agent who falls for his next door neighbour who has three kids. The kids aren’t easily won over and so, he must use all of his training in the CIA and his spy gadgets to babysit the kids. However, the CIA want Bob to do one last mission for them which would mean putting the family in danger. There are many problems with The Spy Next Door and they don’t stop coming. The main problem with the movie is that it’s all been done before and much better, especially the story. Arnold Schwarzenegger did it with Kindergarten Cop, Hulk Hogan did it with Mr. Nanny and Vin Diesel did it with The Pacifier, it’s nothing new or different and I would have to admit that the three movies I just mentioned are much better than this attempt.
Another main problem is the fact that you can’t buy anything in the movie, especially it’s very predictable plot. There’s quite a few things that you can’t buy but the one that sticks out like a sore thumb for me is how Bob Ho is supposed to be a super spy for the CIA and yet he can’t do the most simplest of tasks like cooking or cleaning properly. Also, Jackie Chan and Amber Valletta’s characters are supposed to be a couple and yet the chemistry between them was non-existent and not believable. The Spy Next Door’s acting was below average but luckily enough, it’s Jackie Chan’s charm that saves the day as he comically shows us that he can still use any every day item and kick your ass with it. The actors who played the children were okay and the same can be said for Billy Ray Cyrus but George Lopez and the villains of the movie were very cheesy and quite terrible at times (well, the bad guys were terrible all the way through the movie). The characters are quite annoying at times. Bob Ho isn’t a bad character but he could have been written much better, such as giving him the ability to do the simplest of tasks considering he works for the CIA! The children are a little annoying sometimes but it wears off as the movie goes on, however the same can not be said for the bad guys as they were constantly annoying. The villains had these scenes where they had to find suitable clothes for the villain’s leader, Poldark and throughout the movie, they put him in ridiculous and embarrassing outfits that they think would make him blend in in public and the scenes weren’t funny at all. It just felt like they were trying too hard.
However, Jackie Chan saves the day with some comic timing and great stunts and saves this movie from being a complete disaster. The Spy Next Door is meant for kids and is meant to entertain the children and I would say that it would do the job for those who are ten years old or younger but anyone who is older wouldn’t find anything good in this, not even Chan fans. In the end, The Spy Next Door isn’t a total disaster but it’s not the perfect family movie either. Once you’ve seen it, you wouldn’t want to watch it again but if you want to find a movie for the kids when they’re bored, this will keep them satisfied.