Director: Peter Segal
Cast: Dave Bautista, Kristen Schaal, Parisa Fitz-Henley, Chloe Coleman, Ken Jeong, Greg Bryk, Devere Rogers, Noah Dalton Danby
Runtime: 1 hr 39 mins
Released By: Golden Village Pictures
Opening Day: 12 March 2020
Synopsis: My Spy follows JJ a hardened CIA operative (Dave Bautista) who has been demoted and finds himself at the mercy of a precocious 9-year-old girl, named Sophie (Chloe Coleman) where he has been sent undercover begrudgingly to surveil her family. When Sophie discovers hidden cameras in her apartment she uses her tech savviness to locate where the surveillance operation is set. In exchange for not blowing JJ’s cover Sophie convinces him to spend time with her and teach her to be a spy. Despite his reluctance JJ finds he is no match for Sophie’s disarming charm and wit.
Everyone loves a pair up between a beefy, hunky actor and a child right? Because every movie that has a beefy, hunky actor and a child is a winner at the box-office. In a make-believe world that is.
Wrestler turned actor Dave Bautista, best known as Drax the Destroyer in the Guardians of the Galaxy series, plays JJ, a special forces soldier turned CIA operative. When a mission in Ukraine goes awry, JJ is sent by his boss (played by Ken Jeong) on a surveillance mission with fellow tech specialist, Bobbi (comedian Kristen Schaal) to spy on a nine-year-old girl, Sophie (Chloe Coleman) and her mom, Kate (Parisa Fitz-Henley) who recently relocated to Chicago from Paris.
It turned out that Sophie’s late dad is a weapons dealer along with his estranged brother, Marquez (Greg Bryk). And the now wanted Marquez is busy searching for a thumbdrive which contains plans for a nuclear warhead which might be hidden with Sophie and her mom. Rest assured there are no surprises from the script by Jon and Erich Heober (Battleship, Whiteout).
As expected, JJ has no experience dealing with kids especially one as precocious as Sophie. So instead of spying on the mother and daughter, their cover is blown by Sophie when she accidentally discovers the surveillance webcam hidden in their flat. Along the way, JJ becomes a father figure to Sophie, teaching her tactics on how to become a spy to Sophie trying to matchmake her mom and JJ.
Primarily, My Spy is not so much of an action or spy movie. It’s more of a family friendly, heartwarming drama that focuses a lot on the relationship between JJ and Sophie. Occasionally, there’s some romance thrown in and the appearances of Sophie’s gay neighbours, Carlos and Todd as comic relief. Dave Bautista of course is immensely likeable as JJ, the agent who has a sad past and only has a fish as a friend. Bautista has shown the world he can tackle equally well in lighter material and darker ones and JJ is a role that takes it slightly further.
Bautista’s onscreen partner, Chloe Coleman, is a gifted performer and cute enough to be in a Disney movie (in fact she is seen in Disney+’s Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made). Kristen Schaal who has bit parts in numerous movies over the years offers a few amusing lines as the field agent wannabe tech support agent.
My Spy in short is not going to redefine the so-called family-friendly action comedies genre. Honestly, the action only kicks in the last act and the prologue. And even then, it’s not particularly exciting. The plotting and formula are heavily recycled from many other movies - think Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Kindergarten Cop and Vin Diesel’s The Pacifier. However, it’s not really a terrible movie. It’s merely a forgettable one.
(We are sure you have seen My Spy before. Maybe not with Dave Bautista in it)
Review by Linus Tee