While “My Spy” is not as kid-friendly as it appears, it is likely one of the funniest movies, featuring a juvenile, you’ve seen in a while.
|Screenplay By||Erich Hoeber, Jon Hoeber|
|Date Released (Theatrical)||3/13/2020|
|Genre(s)||Action, Adventure, Comedy, Crime, Romance|
|Duration||1 Hour, 39 Minutes|
|Todd||Noah Dalton Danby|
This content contains pertinent spoilers.
Plot Summary/ Review (Ending Spoilers & Sequel Potential Will Be Posted After Official Release)
JJ, a war veteran, turned CIA agent, struggles with the spy part of his job. For the concept of waiting, watching, gathering intel, that bores him. He’d rather grab a gun, throw a fist or grenade, and then walk away as something explodes. Oh, while having an excellent line before he defeats his opponent. But, because the CIA doesn’t operate like that, JJ is on thin ice and forced onto an assignment, with a tech person named Bobbi, in which he is forced to do what he hates the most: Surveillance. And because he hates it so much, he slips up, and a nine-year-old, Sophie, ends up walking in on his operation. Ultimately leading to her coercing JJ to become her friend and maybe someone for her mother, Kate, to spend time with.
- Rather than put this as a criticism or on the fence topic, we’re noting here this isn’t a kids movie. This is PG-13 for a reason, and that’s due to the amount of cursing, someone’s decapitated head flying about, seeing someone vomit, and people being shot at. So if you want to take your kid, or a kid, to this, please be aware.
The Comedic Aspect
I don’t think I can say enough how funny this was – especially if you are someone who LOVES sarcasm. For whether it is Sophie being a little smart a$$, this gay character name Carlos throwing shade, Bobbi being annoyed by how much time JJ spends with Sophie, and not training her, there is so much passive-aggressive comedy. Though, that’s not all! Also, throughout the film, there are awkward comedic moments, like JJ dancing, as shown in the trailer, Britney Spears playing during an action scene, and just random WTF moments that, in the audience I was with, made both parents and kids laugh.
Bautista’s Chemistry With His Co-Stars
Like many, a part of me felt Bautista’s career, early on, was going to try to find a means of following the path Dwayne Johnson forged, and I honestly thought “My Spy” would be similar to Johnson’s “Tooth Fairy” or “The Game Plan” in terms of big, beefy guy, who doesn’t seem like he’d be good with kids, being made a fool by one and/or his size being the foundation of every joke. That isn’t really done here. Instead, while JJ is occasionally the butt of a joke, he gets to have real relationships.
Bobbi, for example, who is enamored by him, they develop a cute partnership that may not necessarily be equal to what we see between him and Sophie, or even Kate, but it is notable enough, and certainly funny enough, for you to want to remind yourself where you’ve seen Kristen Schaal before. Since, with her one-liners, she really pushes herself to the point of, while she isn’t one of the names on the poster, there are multiple attempts to squeeze her name on there if not steal the movie.
Switching things to Kate and Sophie, with Kate, you get a bit of heart since she helps us see, through a more adult lens, what JJ has gone through before we met him. Also, while somewhere between a love interest and potential victim, her relationship with JJ reminds you that Kate isn’t really either. She can fight, and while she does have an interest in JJ, her role isn’t dedicated to his needs or making him into that attractive action hero.
Leaving Sophie. As you can imagine, a father/daughter dynamic is pushed, and while Sophie might take a little getting used to, once you accept she is just a precocious 9 year old, you appreciate what she brings out of JJ. She isn’t the daughter he never got to have but is perhaps one of the first people he has invested his time into for quite some time. And as they grow attached to one another, you begin to forget it is Bautista on screen because you become so engrossed in his relationship with little miss Coleman.
The Villains Are So Dry & Basic
If you are like me and enjoy it when the villain sees himself as the good guy, or there is some complication that makes it so they aren’t outright evil, then you won’t like the main villain in the film. He is simple, just focused on making a bomb, and doesn’t why this is his goal. Money isn’t mentioned, revenge, or anything like that. The sole thing we get is that he is trying to compete/ outdo his brother. Someone who is barely in the movie, so that motivation is easy to forget.
On The Fence
How Sophie Is Written
Admittedly, Sophie is the type of kid who, if you don’t interact with children who aren’t sheltered, may seem a bit much. In fact, you may think how she gets over on JJ, and Bobbi, it dampens things since she makes them both look like idiots. Add in we see her personal life, which includes being bullied and feeling ostracized, you may either develop sympathy for the kid or have the attitude of, “Well, if you weren’t such a brat…”
This isn’t to imply we didn’t like Sophie, but I do feel it needs to be said some may not like her.
You could say Carlos comes off problematic. If only due to the fact he is a flamboyant gay Black man who seems more so a caricature than an actual person. However, if you are not someone that needs characters to be politically correct, you will find Carlos and his partner Todd, hilarious.
Advised For Those Who:
- Don’t mind cursing and violence coming from kids, and being around a child actor
- Enjoy awkward, silly, and sarcastic humor
- Couldn’t care less about the villain being built up to the same degree as the leads.
Would Watch Again? – Worth Revisiting
Rating: Positive (Worth Seeing)
When it comes to “My Spy,” it has very few issues. For us, as an adult, the issue is the villain is very basic and forgettable. However, for parents, I do feel the marketing could dupe you into thinking this is by no means as vulgar and violent as it is. Also, some may think Sophie is a little too grown but, with interacting with this next generation, let me tell you, these kids are by no means like those we saw on Nick Jr. anymore.
Leading to why we rated this worth seeing: It’s funny, and Bautista really proves that he, unlike some other MCU alumni, can be the driving force of an original property. On top of that, while there may always be a desire to compare his career to Dwayne Johnson, I do feel, at this point, Bautista has proven himself to maybe not be on par box office wise, especially if you omit his roles in the MCU, but I’d say, quality-wise, in terms of his role choices, Bautista is giving Johnson a run for his money.
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