Review – My Spy

FILM REVIEWMY SPYWith Dave Bautista, Chloe Coleman, Parisa Fitz-Henley, Kristen Schaal,   Ken Jeong. Written by Erich Hoeber, Jon Hoeber. Directed by Peter Segal. Rated PG-13 for action/violence and language. 99 minutes. On Amazon Prime.

Baby, you’re the worstmy_spy_xlg

Who did the producers of MY SPY imagine their audience was? The premise of having an action star paired with youngsters is not original––see “Kindergarten Cop,” “Tooth Fairy,” “The Pacifier,” “Mr. Nanny”––but this awkward vehicle wastes “Guardians of the Galaxy” star Dave Bautista in a film that won’t satisfy action fans and is utterly inappropriate for kids.

Bautista stars as JJ, a CIA agent who, in the prologue, is involved in a violent shootout with international terrorists. Following up on the case, he has to tail the family of single mom Kate (Parisa Fitz-Henley), whose daughter Sophie (Chloe Coleman) is a bit of a misfit. Sophie figures out what’s going on and so JJ has to cooperate with the nine-year-old to uncover the plot.

While Bautistia and Coleman have a rapport, it’s not enough. The film, which is rated PG-13, is too violent for the kids it’s ostensibly pitched to and is too lame to appeal to those looking for a tough action film. It’s the sort of movie that will give children nightmares and leave adults yawning. Clearly the suits who greenlit this project are childless themselves.

To add to the problem, the casting is likely to turn off additional viewers. The film manages to cast not one but two of the most annoying actors out there in supporting roles. The singularly talentless Ken Jeong turns up like the proverbial bad penny as JJ’s boss. Fortunately, he’s only in a few scenes. Whiny comedian Kristen Schaal, alas, is cast as JJ’s sidekick and there’s no avoiding her throughout the film.

To pull off a movie like this requires some thought as to the intended audience. On the one hand, there’s something like “Leon: The Professional” (1994) with an assassin paired with a 12 year-old-girl. It was a tough, R-rated action film that made no pretense of playing to young viewers. On the other hand is something like “Spy Kids: 3D” (2003), which featured no less than Sylvester Stallone as the villain, but was a PG movie suitable for older children.

“My Spy” manages not to satisfy either extreme. It’s far too violent for youngsters and it’s far too tame for adult action fans. Bautista is a lot of fun in the “Guardians of the Galaxy” movies, but he has yet to develop the range of, say, Dwayne Johnson. Seeing him on a seesaw with a bunch of kids is a sight gag, not a character moment. He may be capable of more, but this movie does not provide him the opportunity to show it.

Like the recent “Artemis Fowl,” the result is a movie that may distract uncritical younger viewers, but is not very good. Given its violent content, parents will be well advised to take a look and see if they deem it appropriate viewing for their own children.•••

North Shore Movies has given this film a score of 1.5 out of 5.Daniel M. Kimmel is a veteran movie critic and author of a host of film-related books. His latest novel is Father of the Bride of Frankenstein. He is the 2018 recipient of the Skylark Award given by the New England Science Fiction Association. He lives in Somerville, Massachusetts.

3 thoughts on “Review – My Spy

  1. I think your point of it being “far too violent for youngsters and it’s far too tame for adult action fans” is awful. While children below the age of 10 might not be able to watch this movie without their parents, it’s still an “on-the-edge” family movie. In my opinion, it is inappropriate for you to comment on movies not being family-friendly enough when you are 65 years of age. The target audience of this movie is clear: families. It’s not meant for a group of 8-year-olds at a slumber party nor is it meant for a group of 23-year-old adults seeking hard action. It is for a family movie night.

    This is my main counter-argument to your “movie critique”. You show no attempt at truly critiquing the movie. You seem to whine about the casting choices for a mere two characters and complain that the movie doesn’t have a clear targeted audience, which I explain why it does. I’m sure you’re a great guy in person, but your movie review is rather bland and makes you seem like a complainer, not a critic.

    1. And you seem like someone who has never been a parent. BTW, I don’t turn 65 for a few weeks. So your comment doesn’t have anything right.

  2. Thanks for comfirming that you have no idea what it’s like to be a parent. Since you clearly have no idea what you’re talking about, I have not only been a parent, but have been reviewing for many years and know quite a bit about providing information for parents. Your childish posts suggesting someone who has some growing up to do and it isn’t me. As you mature, perhaps you’ll wise up. I certainly hope so.

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