The Spy Next Door review

Age creeps up on everyone I suppose and dear old Jackie is looking a bit creaky when it comes to the fight scenes in this kids comedy actioner. The 55-year-old ain't as dexterous or as nimble as he used to be alas. It's more noticeable that the stunt guys are being used in the long shots. Still, the children will hardly notice and they'll be cheerfully diverted for the duration.

Jackie plays Bob Ho, a highly efficient spy who wants out of the business. On loan to the CIA from Chinese Intelligence, Bob has settled in suburbia. He's in love with his next door neighbour (Valletta) but is not tolerated by her three kids, though he does everything he can to get in their good books. When she has to go away for a spell he volunteers to babysit them in her absence. But he's unaware that a black market team of Russian terrorists are after him after one of the kids has downloaded a top secret file on his computer. Cue comic action scenes with the little ones slowly getting to see the other side of clumsy Bob. They're chased, endangered and kidnapped but soon see him as the hero he really is.

This is movie making by numbers with not one shred of originality – everything predictably developed and bereft of any surprise. But it's fast paced and efficiently done. The young 'uns should be entertained and it should keep them quiet for an hour and a half so it would be churlish to decry its faults too much. And Jackie still has fighting spirit, though he still hasn't yet mastered the rudimentaries of the dialogue he has to utter. Never mind,.judging by the out-takes at the end they all seem to be having a good time. You won't unfortunately, but your young offspring will find the mediocre machinations agreeable enough I'm sure

Official Site
The Spy Next Door at IMDb

Stuart O'Connor is the Managing Editor of Screenjabber, the movie review website he co-founded with Neil Davey far too many years ago. He likes all genres, as long as the film is good (although he does enjoy the occasional bad "guilty pleasure"), and drinks way too much coffee.

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