The Spy Next Door
|The Spy Next Door|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Brian Levant|
|Produced by||Robert Simonds|
|Music by||David Newman|
|Editing by||Lawrence Jordan|
|Running time||94 minutes|
The Spy Next Door is a 2010 American spy comedy family film directed by Brian Levant, and starring Jackie Chan, Amber Valletta, Madeline Carroll, Will Shadley, Alina Foley, Billy Ray Cyrus and George Lopez. Filming started in late October 2008 in New Mexico and was finished in late December 2008. The film was released on January 15, 2010 in the United States. The film was released on DVD, and Blu-ray on May 18, 2010. The film tributes Chan's films by showing clips, references and even referencing Chan's real life childhood.
Bob Ho (Jackie Chan) is a CIA undercover agent who decides to retire after moving next to the beautiful Gillian (Amber Valletta) who has three children from previous relationships. Bob and Gillian then start dating but Bob feels he should tell Gillian about his job. Gillian then goes to visit her father in the hospital and leaves Bob to take care of her kids (Madeline Carroll, Will Shadley and Alina Foley). Bob takes the children shopping for clothes for Halloween. The problems start when one of the youngsters accidentally downloads a file for a top-secret formula on his computer. They are then threatened by a Russian terrorist and Bob's archenemy Anton Poldark (Magnús Scheving). This forces Bob to combine the roles of spy and prospective stepfather in the biggest challenge that he has faced in his career.
Bob asks Colton James (Billy Ray Cyrus), his spy partner, to help him, but he's not sure he can trust Colton. Bob and his children have a meal in a Chinese restaurant when a teenage henchmen of Poldark, Larry (Lucas Till), tries to stab Bob with a cook's knife, but is overpowered and knocked out, smashing through a restaurant window in the fight. In addition, Bob learns that his boss, Glaze (George Lopez), is actually working for Poldark and the Russians when he pulls a gun at Bob to force him to hand over the file stored on an iPod, but is knocked out. And worse, the situation is further complicated when Gillian learns the truth about Bob that he is a spy and dumps him.
Bob heads to a former steel manufacturing factory to confront and defeat the terrorists but Ian and Farren follow him and they all get tied up and are about to get tortured when Bob escapes, fights and overpowers some of the terrorists, knocking them out. They go to Gillian's house where the terrorists arrive a few minutes later and begin fighting Bob, trying to kill him and get the iPod containing the file, destroying some appliances and furniture in the process. The children also use Bob's secret weapons to defeat some of the terrorists, including one of the girls dropping a TV on Larry's head, knocking him unconscious. Shortly after, the terrorists are arrested. Sometime later Bob proposes to Gillian and she accepts. On their wedding day Bob and Gillian are reciting their vows when Bob then tells Gillian his name isn't Bob. She laughs and says it’s okay. Gillian accepts Bob and they share a kiss.
- Jackie Chan as Bob Ho: a spy on loan to the CIA and Gillian's neighbor, boyfriend and eventual husband. He lives next door to his girlfriend Gillian. His real name is unknown. He and Gillian marry at the end.
- Amber Valletta as Gillian: Bob's attractive neighbor, girlfriend and eventual wife. She is a skilled artist and has had many different relationships before. She and Bob marry at the end.
- Madeline Carroll as Farren: Gillian's 13-year old stepdaughter. Gillian was married to her real father but he left. Her mother died when she was young.
- Will Shadley as Ian: Gillian's 10-year old son.
- Alina Foley as Nora: Gillian's 4-year old daughter.
- Magnús Scheving as Anton Poldark: A Russian terrorist planning on destroying America's oil preservers.
- Billy Ray Cyrus as Colton James: Bob's spy partner.
- George Lopez as Glaze: Bob's boss.
- Lucas Till as Larry: A teenager working with Poldark.
- Katherine Boecher as Tatiana Creel
- Jeff Chase as Russian Thug
In its first weekend, in the US, The Spy Next Door made $9,726,056 in 2,924 theaters, opening at #6. It grossed $12,877,043 over the four-day period, ranking #5 on that term. The film has grossed $45,082,365 to date on a $28 million budget which, despite the response from critics, makes it a minor commercial success.
The Spy Next Door is generally panned by critics. It holds a "Rotten" 12% rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 89 reviews with an average score of 3.5/10. On Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating of 0–100 top reviews from mainstream critics, it holds an average score of 27 based on 21 reviews. Most film critics targeted the film for "lacking a script" such as Michael Phillips of The Chicago Tribune for being "True Lies without the striptease or the Arab-maiming" and Kyle Smith of The New York Post who also claimed the film is "ripping off True Lies."
Lael Loewenstein of Variety gave the film a negative review saying the film's "cartoonish jokes and misfired gags are likely to elicit more eye rolls than laughs." Daniel Eagan of The Hollywood Reporter also disliked the film saying most of the film is "pretty tired stuff from Pacifier-style slapstick to comic relief delivered by, of all people" and that Chan "seems stiff" and "clad in unattractive clothes and forced into dumbed-down situations." David Stratton of At the Movies dismissed the film calling it "a sad viewing experience". He added "The woeful screenplay, the mundane direction, by Brian Levant, and the indifferent acting all combine to sink a stupid plot which should never have got off the ground." Carrie Rickey of The Philadelphia Inquirer gave the film 2½ stars. Rickey, giving the film the benefit of the doubt, wrote "The plot may be forgettable, but the execution is frantic and funny. The Spy Next Door is a movie that will bring smiles to kids – and their grandparents."
The Spy Next Door was released on DVD and Blu-ray on May 18, 2010.
Awards and nominations
|Razzie Award||Worst Supporting Actor||Billy Ray Cyrus||Nominated|
- "The Spy Next Door (2010)". Box Office Mojo. 2010. Retrieved 2010-09-19.
- "The Spy Next Door (2009): Reviews". Metacritic. CNET Networks. Retrieved 2010-01-15.
- "The Spy Next Door Movie, Reviews, Pictures". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved 2013-06-29.
- Phillips, Michael (January 15, 2009). "'The Spy Next Door' – 11⁄2 stars". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2009-01-16.
- Smith, Kyle (January 15, 2009). "He's Bland, James Bland". New York Post. Retrieved 2009-01-16.
- Lael Loewenstein (January 9, 2010). "The Spy Next Door Review". Variety. Retrieved January 13, 2010.
- Daniel Eagan (January 11, 2010). "The Spy Next Door – Film Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved January 13, 2010.
- Stratton, David; Pomeranz, Magaret (March 31, 2010). "The Spy Next Door review". At the Movies. Archived from the original on April 9, 2010. Retrieved April 9, 2010.
- Rickey, Carrie (January 15, 2009). "It's Bob, the bouncing babysitting spy". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved 2009-01-16.
- The Spy Next Door at the Internet Movie Database
- The Spy Next Door at AllMovie
- The Spy Next Door at Rotten Tomatoes
- The Spy Next Door at Metacritic
- The Spy Next Door at Box Office Mojo