Coming into this year I vowed to cut back on films that looked bad at the outset. I think I already broke that vow, but I sill promise to try and cut back through the year (it could make my bottom 10 a bit more interesting). To this end, I said I would see one of The Spy Next Door and The Tooth Fairy. I am a fan of both Jackie Chan and Dwayne Johnson, although I am partial to Chan. The decision was made when a couple of my friends wanted to see The Spy Next Door. So, off we went in the hopes of a good time, although I was not without my doubts.
As I left the theater, I cannot say I liked the movie but at the same time I cannot say I disliked the movie. Well, at least not entirely. I did come away feeling the film could very easily be ripped apart; it's just that kind of movie. At the same time I did not quite have the heart or desire to take that route. The Spy Next Door is a movie aimed squarely and unabashedly at the younger set. This is not really a movie for adults, it is not really made with that crossover appeal. Sure, adults can and do enjoy it but I am sure you understand.
The Spy Next Door surprisingly hooked me early, although not completely. I loved how the movie opened with old movie clips. The opening credits sequence played clips from a number of old Chan films (although it seemed weighted towards The Tuxedo) while "Secret Agent Man" played. It was fun seeing some of the clips and instantly gave Chan's character a background and history that you would not have the time to do otherwise.
As the story proper begins, we are introduced to Gillian (Amber Valletta) and her three kids, who are quite the handful. As she is getting them ready for school we also meet Bob Ho (Chan), a quiet, unassuming, bespectacled pen salesman who also happens to be dating Gillian. Of course, the kids can't stand the corporate drone that they believe Bob is.
Of course, none of them know who Bob Ho really is. When night falls, Bob is called to his real work, as a spy on loan to the CIA. He is working to capture nefarious Russian baddie Poldark. He is captured with ease, but promptly escapes and this is where the plot takes hold. It seems that Bob has come into possession of something the Russians want and will stop at nothing to retrieve it. Unfortunately, this places Gillian and her family right in the middle of some deadly spy games.