My Spy (2020) Jul 14, 2020 11:34:20 GMT -5
Post by StevePulaski on Jul 14, 2020 11:34:20 GMT -5
My Spy (2020)
Directed by: Peter Segal
Directed by: Peter Segal
Chloe Coleman's Sophie gawks at JJ (Dave Bautista) on an ice-rink in My Spy.
Any soul who went to the movie theater with any regularity from summer 2019 to March of this year prior to theaters being closed was probably sick and tired of seeing the trailer for Peter Segal's My Spy. It was looking to be a summer triptych for former-wrestler-turned-actor Dave Bautista last year, with the release of Avengers: Endgame, Stuber, and My Spy all being released over the course of three months. Then a funny thing happened. My Spy was delayed until January 2020. Not a good sign. Then it was delayed until March 13th. Yet again, with a week to spare, it was pushed until April 2020, just in time for everything to be cancelled and/or shuttered.
Amazon Studios acquired My Spy in early April, solidifying a release via Amazon Prime Video was inevitable, but the fact the fledgling powerhouse of a studio waited until late June to release it suggested even they knew they didn't purchase a diamond in the rough. It's fairly similar to how I watched My Spy almost two weeks prior to writing the review finally. It's not the type of original creative work that inspires a great deal of excitement nor musings that don't reflect its other, equally milquetoast counterparts, IE the Vin Diesel star-vehicle The Pacifier or Jackie Chan in The Spy Next Door.
Like Stuber, My Spy doesn't permit Bautista to be much other than an archetype. His hulking stature and gruff exterior are his character JJ's defining traits. A former special ops Army Ranger, JJ presently works for the CIA, but isn't particularly skilled at anything that doesn't involve explosions or blunt force. After botching a big job, his boss (Ken Jeong) demotes him to a low-level surveillance position alongside Bobbi (Kristen Schaal) where the two must stakeout in an apartment complex and tap the home of Kate (Parisa Fitz-Henley) and her young niece Sophie (Chloe Coleman). Kate and Sophie are relatives of a French arms dealer, but ignorant of the familial connection as they set up shop in Chicago's Wicker Park (aka Toronto terribly passed off as one of Chicago's growing neighborhoods).
It doesn't take long for smart aleck Sophie to discover a hidden camera in her apartment and blow JJ and Bobbi's cover. After having her life uprooted and her friends too far away, Sophie sees this as an opportunity to force JJ to spend time with her, maybe even teach her tricks of the trade especially with the absence of a father figure. The cutesy moments they share together somehow undercut the presence of illegal surveillance and subsequent blackmail. JJ dances to Cardi B, Sophie teaches him how to ice-skate, and he attempts to get her a thicker exterior and maybe a friend or two at school.
My Spy and Stuber are more inextricably linked than you might assume. Because Bautista looks and moves like the second coming of Steven Seagal, writers and producers feel compelled to invite elements of espionage, heists, and violence into these otherwise amiable premises. This crossbreeds both films with the tone of a light, fluffy comedy despite coming equipped with explosion-ridden peril that makes this new wave of action-comedies feel woefully interchangeable. Sure the chemistry the spirited Chloe Coleman and Bautista share is grin-inducing at times, yet the ubiquity of cut-and-paste action movie cliches negate the possibility of human interest simply because this is a formula that's been played out.
There is some modest fun to be had with My Spy. Its premise is kinetic, Coleman nails deadpan sass in her first major role, and where Bautista lacks in emoting, he makes up with his energy. Similar to the aforementioned flick The Pacifier, however, this is still a family comedy with not much going for it in terms of plot. The weak supporting cast, including an incredibly caricatured gay couple next door and Jeong doing his predictably wily schtick, doesn't do the central duo many favors. There's a reason that when Amazon acquired the film's distribution rights and followed up with a Prime Video release, general audiences didn't flinch. Like the film's respective trailer, they saw the story play out one too many times.
Starring: Dave Bautista, Chloe Coleman, Kristen Schaal, Parisa Fitz-Henley, Ken Jeong, Devere Rogers, and Noah Danby. Directed by: Peter Segal.