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Tracking Down The Spy Next Door

The Spy Next DoorToday I braved the harsh Cleveland winter to have some Saturday morning fun at the cinema with everyone’s favorite martial artist Jackie Chan.  I mean, c’mon, who doesn’t like Jackie Chan?  His onscreen presence usually warrants a marginally safe draw at the box office and he seemingly always delivers good clean family fun.  The same train of thought holds true for his latest feature film, The Spy Next Door.  I usually hold my recommendations until the end of my reviews, but what the heck; it’s a new year so let’s try something different.  If you have some kids of your own hovering around the ages of 8-14, then I could not think of a more crowd pleasing movie for the entire family than this one. 

The Spy Next Door

Now that you already know that I liked the film let’s get back to the basics here so at least I can pretend like I am writing a structured review.  The Spy Next Door is billed as a martial arts action comedy film and I will also suggestively throw in the term “family film” too.  Because after all, nothing says family more than this film did.  We’ll get more into that in a little bit.  The movie also stars some familiar faces other than Jackie Chan like everyone’s favorite Mexican George Lopez and additional cast members Bill Ray Cyrus (“Don’t break my heart…my achy breaky heart…”), Amber Valletta (Transporter 2, Gamer) and more.  

 The Spy Next Door

In the 89-minute tale we find the very likeable Jackie Chan pursuing retirement from his position as International Spy, who is on loan to the United States CIA.  Why is he seeking retirement over the glamorous life of a spy (a joke waiting to be heard in the film itself)?  Well, it’s quite simple really.  He believes he has met the woman of his dreams, portrayed by actress Amber Valletta, and desires a normal life (does that even exist anymore I always question).  I’ve grown so accustomed to Amber’s skimpy outfits in my latest intake of the film Gamer that it took me a moment to accept her in this new role.  Anyway, as Bob (Chan) quickly finds out, real life is never that easy.  Not only does Jackie’s character desire a lifetime of happiness with his new woman, but he must also find a way to win over her three kids that just so happen to hate him.  Jokingly, they refer to him as a cyborg.  Little do they know just how incredible cool and dangerous their mom’s love interest really is.

 The Spy Next Door

Let’s just say things get a bit rocky at home when Bob is asked to babysit the kids for an extended amount of time.  The mischievous kids cause Bob not only a lot of emotional grief and problems, but also steal a very important top secret file from his personal PC.  So top secret and important this file is that the bad guys will stop at nothing to retrieve it.  Bob quickly becomes confused about just whom he can trust, but he has bigger problems than that.  Did you forget?  He is also a babysitter to three kids who vehemently hate him.  How will he win them over you might ask?  Well, that’s the little family charm that makes this movie so successful, cute (yes I said the word) and charming.  You may have seen the familiar formula before (AKA as The Pacifier), but get ready for some martial arts fun as only Jackie Chan can deliver.  Bob is out to prove his point…being a spy is easy, but being a parent is hard.  Bob affectionately stops at nothing to get into the hearts of even the most stubborn of the siblings while he singlehandedly always seems to save the day no matter how dire the situation is.  In the end, you will discover the real beauty of this film, which is ultimately the universal teaching that family is not just the people you are related to, but also the people who you love. 

 The Spy Next Door

In conclusion, I highly recommend this film as good clean family fun.  It’s not every day when a live action film can deliver not only quality engaging moments, but a rousing good time the entire family can happily enjoy and appreciate.  It’s nothing original and it’s not going to be the obvious choice for the teen action junkies, but it will do moderately well at the box office.  I think the film definitely hits its target audience with much dead-on accuracy.  You can’t really ask for anything more in a film like this.  Parents will love the high flying acrobats of Jackie Chan (his usual Rush Hour-like tricks) and kids will love the excitement of seeing other kids being placed in entertaining scenarios and environments.  Like I said before, the movie gets a “does not meet expectations” for originality, but two thumbs up for good clean family fun.  If you have kids under the age of 14, then take them out this weekend and have some fun with this one.  Why would you want to purposely sit through another Alvin and the Chipmunks or The Princess and the Frog showingGet my point?  Anybody without kids, over the age of 14 and/or not a big fan of Jackie Chan then I guess it goes without saying, wait for the eventual rental.  Thanks for reading!

The Spy Next Door opens everywhere nationwide Friday, January 15th.

 

 The Spy Next Door Theatrical Poster

 


 

 

 

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Owner/Writer/Reviewer/Editor, Dreamer, Producer, Agent of Love, Film Lover, Writer of Screenplays and a Devoted Apostle to all things Ford Mustangs (the real ones with V8's!). Some of my favorite films include FIGHT CLUB, MOULIN ROUGE, THE DARK KNIGHT, STAR WARS alongside television shows such as SEINFELD, 24, SANFORD & SON and even the often loathed in the geek community BIG BANG THEORY. Outside of my three lives I live I also enjoy spending time with my girlfriend and our three girls (of the furry kind).

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