Friday, 13 March 2020

Review: My Spy

My Spy
Cert: 12A / 99 mins / Dir. Peter Segal / Trailer

Well, with ‘that virus’ stepping up to the pandemic plate and causing increasing dents in the cinematic schedule*1, we have to take what big-screen entertainment we can get and when we can get it. Cue a stroll down to my local for a minimal-contact screening of the new Dave Bautista flick, My Spy. The short version goes like this:

Something something, Russian/French gangsters; something something, CIA undercover stakeout mission; something something, brick-shithouse action hero ends up assisted by a smart, sassy 9yr old girl who happens to be the child of a hot single mother. Cue falling over, mawkish bonding, clumsy dad-dancing, slo-mo explosions and wildly ill-judged cultural crossover references. This is a kids’ comedy with one ‘bitch’, one ‘shit’ and two ‘dick’s, just enough to pull it over the line for a 12A certificate. You have seen this before.

I went in to My Spy with moderate-to-low expectations and boy does this movie deliver. Never as awful as something like Little, there’s nonetheless a sense of gringind, underachieving autopilot*2 to the proceedings. Bautista (the second superhero currently proving his best work is within the MCU) is basically interchangeable with Schwarzenegger, Johnson and even Cena here, such is the screenplay's lack of identity. With backup from genre stalwarts Ken Jeong and Kristen Schaal, it’s tempting to think that everyone involved is better than this. Yet their paid-for presence proves they clearly aren’t.

Plot markers and callbacks to other (better) movies are shamelessly ticked off as we speed toward a literal cliff-edge finale. By this time, the film actually has picked up quite a lot, but has definitely not earned that uplift. The good news is that My Spy is exactly what you expect it to be. The knock-on is that you should probably know better by now…

So, what sort of thing is it similar to?
This is Stuber meets Playing With Fire.

Is it worth paying cinema-prices to see?

Is it worth hunting out on DVD, Blu-ray or streaming, though?
Stream it for your kids.

Is this the best work of the cast or director?

Will we disagree about this film in a pub?

Is there a Wilhelm Scream in it?
There is.

Yeah but what's the Star Wars connection?
Level 2: Parisa Fitz-Henley's in this, and she was in that Fantasy Island (earlier this week, no less) alongside Ian 'Ganwick Trag' Roberts and Goran D. 'Lampay Fay' Kleut.

And if I HAD to put a number on it…

*1 As well as the widely publicised Bond delay, the last few days have seen cancellations of next week's A Quiet Place double-bill and a Cineworld Unlimited screening of Dream Horse. The second of those I'm basically fine with, but it's the short notice due to twitchy distribution companies that really stings... [ BACK ]

*2 From the writers of Battleship, The Meg and Red 2, you say? Well, how could I not..? [ BACK ]

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
• Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.
• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

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