Brian Levant’s The Spy Next Door opens with a montage of derring-do from old Jackie Chan flicks set to Johnny Rivers’ “Secret Agent Man.” Having already seen the dreadfully lame trailer for The Spy Next Door, I knew I was in for the long haul, but all this opening did was remind me that Jackie Chan once made fun movies.
By the end of the film, all it did was make me believe that, yes, there are movies worse than The Tuxedo. The basic premise is one of those family-oriented affairs where some action star is emasculated and stuffed into goofy situations with precocious, rambunctious tots.
Here, we get Jackie Chan as Bob Ho, a Chinese spy helping out the CIA to catch a bunch of goofy Russian terrorists with bad accents. At the same time, Bob is smitten with his next door neighbor (Amber Valetta) with the only issue keeping them from marriage being that her spoiled brat kids can’t stand Bob. So it’s up to Bob to win over the kids and protect them from the evil Ruskies who show up to complicate matters. Because of this, we get to see Jackie Chan do a lot of Jackie Chan stuff, which, while admittedly neat, isn’t enough to save the movie from the onslaught hokey familial humor and cartoonish hijinks.
And it certainly doesn’t help that we also get Billy Ray Cyrus hee-hawing it up as a secret agent (what a frightening thought).
Official Site: www.thespynextdoorfilm.com
Director: Brian Levant
Writer: James Greer and Jonathan Bernstein
Producer: Robert Simonds
Cast: Jackie Chan, Amber Valletta, Madeline Carroll, Will Shadley, Alina Foley, Magnus Scheving, Katherine Boecher, Lucas Till, Billy Ray Cyrus and George Lopez
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