Dir. Brian Levant, 2010, USA , 94 minutes
Cast. Jackie Chan, Billy Ray Cyrus, George Lopez, Magnus Scheving, Amber Valletta
Review by Michelle Moore
Who would have ever thought Jackie Chan could pull off a Disney flick. Well it may be a Disney film and aimed at children, but one that adults will find enjoyable too.
It begins with the introduction of Bob Ho (Chan) a pen importer, or so his neighbour/girlfriend Gillian ( Valletta ) believes. What Bob is hiding from Gillian and her three children, is that he is actually a CIA agent. When he takes early retirement with the thought of settling down and becoming a family man, he has no idea what is in store when Gillian leaves the children in his care and the Russian villain he had earlier sent to jail breaks free and sets his sights on his capturer.
If you have seen the teaser trailer for The Spy Next Door , then you would not be surprised to see there is a few similarities to previous Disney flick The Pacifier, with the addition of Chan's expertise in martial arts. Due to the film being aimed at young children, there may need to be a few words of parental guidance regarding the fighting sequences, as some can be startling as well as funny. Chan has been in martial arts flick after martial arts flick, this one only differs for the addition of the children.
Jackie Chan has a way of making you crack-up with laughter and children are no exception when it comes to The Spy Next Door. The way that certain areas of the film are executed is quite funny, especially regarding the youngest child. She has the innocence to make you believe her experiences are realistic, exciting and will instantly put a smile on your face as well as hers. There are other moments that will make you giggle such as when Chan escapes the villains and how Gillian's son beats the bullies. The inclusion of the children's pets, a pig, turtle and cat also add to the humour.
One element that many children will pay particular attention to is Billy Ray Cyrus a.k.a “Hannah Montana's dad!” Even though his presence is fairly short lived and he only pops up every now again, just having him present will make children feel more at ease. Even though this is considered an action comedy film, the ending can get quite emotional and one thing is for sure, you will be leaving in tears. Depending on your personality it may be through fits of laughter or the mother/daughter bond that develops. A fun film for all the family!