The Spy Next Door

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The Spy Next Door
Spy next door ver2.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Brian Levant
Produced by Robert Simonds
Screenplay by
Story by
Music by David Newman
Cinematography Dean Cundey
Edited by Lawrence Jordan
Distributed by Lionsgate
Release date
  • January 15, 2010 (2010-01-15)
Running time
95 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $28 million
Box office $45.2 million[1]

The Spy Next Door is a 2010 American spy comedy family 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 (Jackie Chan) is a CIA undercover agent who decides to retire after completing his last mission i.e. putting Anton Poldark (Magnús Scheving) behind bars and marry 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 suddenly leaves to visit her father in the hospital and leaves Bob to take care of her step-daughter, Farren, and her two kids, Ian and Nora (Madeline Carroll, Will Shadley and Alina Foley respectively), who all despise him, and start plotting to get rid of him. Bob takes the Nora shopping for clothes for Halloween, while the other two are at school, and she tries to run away, but Bob quickly retrieves her. The problems start when Ian accidentally downloads a file for a top-secret formula on Bob's computer while looking for things that might cause Gillian to brake up with Bob, not known to Bob. Bob is then shortly informed by his partner, Colton James (Billy Ray Cyrus) that Poldark's escaped prison and that they suspect that there is a mole in the agency Bob's worked. Poldark discovers that Bob has downloaded the file and has his people go to his house to retrieve the file but Bob overpowers them.

Bob asks Colton 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 henchman of Poldark, Larry (Lucas Till), tries to stab Bob with a cook's knife, but is knocked out. In addition, Bob learns that his boss Glaze (George Lopez) is actually working for Poldark and the Russians, thus being the mole in the CIA when he pulls a gun at Bob to force him to hand over the file stored on an iPod belonging to Ian, 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 he then finds that Ian (wanting to follow in Bob's footsteps) and Farren have run away from home to follow him and they all get captured 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 (after Ian had mistakenly said that he has downloaded it), destroying some appliances and furniture in the process. The children also use Bob's secret weapons to defeat some of the terrorists. Shortly after, the terrorists are arrested by Colton and his team, Bob realizes that Colton is not the mole. Gillian initially rejects Bob, but soon realizes that Bob is a good man for protecting them from the terrorists after Nora saying, "I want Bob to be my daddy," and Farren and Ian confess that Bob did everything just to protect them. Sometime after all this Bob and Gillian get married.




Box office[edit]

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.[2]

Critical reception[edit]

The Spy Next Door has received negative reviews from some critics.[3] It holds a "Rotten" 12% rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 89 reviews with an average score of 3.5/10.[4] 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.[3] Most film critics targeted the film for "lacking a script"[4] such as Michael Phillips of The Chicago Tribune for being "True Lies without the striptease or the Arab-maiming"[5] and Kyle Smith of The New York Post who also claimed the film is "ripping off True Lies."[6] 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."[7] 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."[8] 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."[9] Carrie Rickey of The Philadelphia Inquirer gave the film 2½ stars.[10] 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."[10]

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. ^ a b "The Spy Next Door (2009): Reviews". Metacritic. CNET Networks. Retrieved 2010-01-15. 
  4. ^ a b "The Spy Next Door Movie, Reviews, Pictures". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved 2013-06-29. 
  5. ^ Phillips, Michael (January 15, 2009). "'The Spy Next Door' – 112 stars". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2009-01-16. 
  6. ^ Smith, Kyle (January 15, 2009). "He's Bland, James Bland". New York Post. Retrieved 2009-01-16. 
  7. ^ Lael Loewenstein (January 9, 2010). "The Spy Next Door Review". Variety. Retrieved January 13, 2010. 
  8. ^ Daniel Eagan (January 11, 2010). "The Spy Next Door – Film Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved January 13, 2010. 
  9. ^ 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. 
  10. ^ a b Rickey, Carrie (January 15, 2009). "It's Bob, the bouncing babysitting spy". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved 2009-01-16. 

External links[edit]