The Spy Next Door

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The Spy Next Door
Spy next door ver2.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byBrian Levant
Produced byRobert Simonds
Screenplay by
Story by
Music byDavid Newman
CinematographyDean Cundey
Edited byLawrence Jordan
Distributed byLionsgate
Release date
  • January 15, 2010 (2010-01-15)
Running time
94 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$28 million
Box office$45.2 million[1]

The Spy Next Door is a 2010 American comedy film directed by Brian Levant, written by Jonathan Bernstein, James Greer and Gregory Poirier, produced by Robert Simonds with music by David Newman and starring Jackie Chan, Amber Valletta, Magnús Scheving, Madeline Carroll, Will Shadley, Alina Foley, Billy Ray Cyrus and George Lopez. Filming started in late October 2008 in Rio Rancho, New Mexico and was finished in late December 2008. The film was released on January 15, 2010 in the United States by Lionsgate. 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. The film received negative reviews from critics and it earned $45.2 million on a $28 million budget.


Bob Ho is a MSS operative on loan to the CIA as an undercover agent, who decides to retire after putting Russian terrorist Anton Poldark behind bars and marry his longtime girlfriend Gillian, who lives next door and has three children from previous relationships, Farren (a step-daughter), Ian and Nora. None of them know about his job. One day, Gillian leaves to visit her father in a hospital in Denver, Colorado and leaves Bob to take care of her children, who all despise him and plot to get rid of him. Using some technology from the CIA, Bob is able to get control of them. His partner, Colton James, informs him that Poldark has escaped prison and they suspect there is a mole in the CIA. Colton sends a file to Bob's computer for a top-secret formula for an oil-eating bacteria Poldark is working on. While snooping around Bob's house, Ian downloads the file, which he mistakes for music, onto his iPod. Poldark discovers the download and sends some of his people to Bob's house, but Bob overpowers them.

After the attack, Bob and the children hide at a Chinese restaurant, where Poldark's teenage henchman, Larry, tries to kill Bob. Bob defeats him and is forced to tell the children about his job. His boss Glaze then arrives, points a gun at him and demands the downloaded file, revealing himself as the mole working for Poldark. Bob knocks out Glaze with Nora's turtle, then hides in a hotel with the children. He tells Gillian over the phone about his job. Fearing for her children's safety, she flies home to take them and breaks up with him after discovering he is a spy.

Bob heads to an abandoned factory to confront the Russian terrorists but finds that Ian, wanting to become a spy, and Farren has run away from home. The trio is captured by the Russians, who force Ian to reveal that the file is on his iPod. As Poldark, his partner Tatiana, and Glaze go to Gillian's house, Bob and the children escape and defeat the remaining terrorists. They then go to Gillian's house and Poldark and his crew arrive soon after. Bob and the terrorists fight, with the children using Bob's secret weapons to defeat some of them. Soon after, Colton and his crew arrive to arrest the Russians and Glaze. Gillian initially rejects Bob, but soon realizes that he is a good man after Nora says she wants him to be her dad and Farren and Ian confess that Bob lied to protect them. Bob and Gillian then get married.




Box office[edit]

In its first weekend, in the US, The Spy Next Door made $9.7 million in 2,924 theaters, opening at #6. It grossed $12.9 million over the four-day period, ranking #5 on that term. The film grossed $45.1 million on a $28 million budget.[2]

Critical reception[edit]

On Rotten Tomatoes the film has an approval rating of 12% based on 89 reviews, with an average rating of 3.5/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Lacking a script funny enough to cover up for Jackie Chan's fading physical gifts, The Spy Next Door fails on every conceivable level."[3] On Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating to reviews, it holds an average score of 27 out of 100 based on 21 critics, indicating "generals unfavorable reviews".[4] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A–" on an A+ to F scale.[5]

Most film critics targeted the film for "lacking a script," and "looking old" such as Michael Phillips of The Chicago Tribune for being "True Lies without the striptease or the Arab-maiming"[6] and Kyle Smith of The New York Post who also claimed the film is "ripping off True Lies."[7] 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."[8] 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, erstwhile country star Billy Ray Cyrus" and that Chan "seems stiff" and "clad in unattractive clothes and forced into dumbed-down situations."[9] 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."[10] Carrie Rickey of The Philadelphia Inquirer gave the film 2½ stars.[11] 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."[11]

Home media[edit]

The Spy Next Door was released on DVD and Blu-ray on May 18, 2010.

Awards and nominations[edit]

Award Subject Nominee Result
Razzie Award Worst Supporting Actor Billy Ray Cyrus Nominated
George Lopez

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The Spy Next Door (2010)". Box Office Mojo. 2010. Retrieved 2014-09-21.
  2. ^ The Spy Next Door IMDb
  3. ^ "The Spy Next Door (2010)". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved 2013-06-29.
  4. ^ "The Spy Next Door reviews". Metacritic. CNET Networks. Retrieved 2010-01-15.
  5. ^ "CinemaScore".
  6. ^ Phillips, Michael (January 15, 2009). "'The Spy Next Door' – 1​12 stars". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2009-01-16.
  7. ^ Smith, Kyle (January 15, 2009). "He's Bland, James Bland". New York Post. Retrieved 2009-01-16.
  8. ^ Lael Loewenstein (January 9, 2010). "The Spy Next Door Review". Variety. Retrieved January 13, 2010.
  9. ^ Daniel Eagan (January 11, 2010). "The Spy Next Door – Film Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved January 13, 2010.
  10. ^ 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.
  11. ^ a b Rickey, Carrie (January 15, 2009). "It's Bob, the bouncing babysitting spy". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved 2009-01-16.

External links[edit]