There is something I learned about Jackie Chan some years ago; he is not a terribly good actor. Yes, there are moments where his performances shine, but I think that is just a coincidence or credit to the directors and writers. On the plus side, Chan always seems to find the right projects for his particular skill set. The Spy Next Door is one of those projects that is right for him. Quite frankly, without him this movie would be near impossible to watch. This really is not a good film, and I blame my Chan-fandom for enjoying it as much as I do.
Jackie Chan stars as Bob Ho, a mild mannered bespectacled pen salesman by day and international super-spy by night. His current assignment has him on loan to the CIA, where he is helping track a nefarious gang of Russian baddies who plan on destroying our oil supply. While he works on this mission he maintains a home in suburbia and has even struck up a meaningful relationship with his next door neighbor, Gillian (Amber Valletta). The problem is that her kids do not particularly care for him.
The question quickly becomes whether the Russians or the kids will prove Ho's tougher opponent. Then, predictably, the question becomes will the kids come around and help Ho defeat the bad guys after learning his secret identity. It all moves forward very predictably. There is only one way this story can play out, one way it can end, and only one way to make you smile.
If you are looking for any deep relationship revelations, look elsewhere. This is a lighthearted family-action-comedy that avoids any sort of depth. This movie is all about the surface, never engaging the brain, simply desiring to provide a little escape from anything that involves effort. There are moments that threaten to entertain genuine emotion, but they are quickly defused by a scene of slapstick violence or physical comedy.