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A Reel Life film section

Issue: 2010

The Spy Next Door (2010) movie review

Never Send a Spy to Do a Girl's Job


Bob Ho is a mild-mannered pen executive who is dating the suburban mom next door. He'd like to take the relationship further, so he quits his job (Chinese Intelligence agent attached to the American Central Intelligence Agency), and prepares to tell Jillian his Big Secret. Which she doesn't want to hear because she thinks the package of mother and three kids is too much to be taken on.

Poor Bob. Beneath his glasses and geeky suit he's a black-clad, leather-jacketed secret agent. He knows the kids hate him, but as he asks his co-workers:

I've brought down dictators, how hard can three kids be?

movie poster; The Spy Next Door; Festivale film review; 220x326

Movie poster, The Spy Next Door
Spying is easy, babysitting is hard.

He quickly finds out when Jillian is called to her father's hospital bedside and Bob Ho is left with three kids, a little four-year-old girl, an older boy who is a serious geek, and a pre-teen with angst and a taste for inappropriate clothing.

And it's halloween. Which he needs the four-year-old to explain to him.

He rapidly discovers that the only way for a spy with mad athletic martial arts skills to prevail is to bring in the covert espionage equipment.

Spying is easy, being a parent is hard.

Bob Ho must win the hearts of the kids in order to make a family with the woman he loves, and they must win his heart also. He tries to do this without revealing that instead of a geek, he's actually an incredibly cool spy. It's made all the harder when the son of the family downloads secret Russian plans and puts them all in jeopardy.

This reviewer confesses that she is madly in love with wire stunts, impressed by Jackie Chan's ability to perform them, and thinks that jackie Chan has a charming screen presence. So, yes, she had a great time watching this film in a cinema full of delighted kids.

In the midst of all the angst-ridden, gawd-help-us serious movies that people believe they should like, it is wonderful to sit back and just be entertained by a film with a plot and a heart. And Jackie Chan.

Recommended. Reviewers are girls who just wanna have fun.

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by Ali Kayn
Due for Australian release 15 March 2010
For credits and official site details, see below
Search Festivale for more work by the film-makers below.

See also: Jackie Chan also appears in The Forbidden Kingdom ; Rush Hour 2;

Just the facts:

Title: The Spy Next Door (2010)
Written by: Jonathan Bernstein (scr, story) & James Greer (scr, story) and Gregory Poirier (screenplay)
Directed by: Brian Levant
Running time: 94 mins
Rating: PG Mild violence

The Players: Jackie Chan, Billy Ray Cyrus,

Official website:
IMDb entry

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