I don’t mind reviewing relentlessly awful movies — it’s part of the job description — but it’s a little frustrating when it’s as pointless as telling you that Jackie Chan’s family film, The Spy Next Door, isn’t worth the effort it takes you to pick up your car keys to go see it. It’s True Lies by way of The Pacifier and Daddy Day Care. Does anyone who would read this site even care? Even those of us with kids have to have more sense than to run out and see what is essentially a Nickelodeon flick featuring a broken-down Jackie Chan — you can find more entertainment value in watching a leaky faucet drip for an hour and a half. In fact, the only people I’d recommend The Spy Next Door to are those with children who actually enjoy the peace and solitude of a time-out — The Spy Next Door is a $5 punishment, but it’s bound to be more effective than a good switch spanking, and twice as traumatic.
Jackie Chan stars as Bob Ho (and yes, his name is the funniest part of the movie). He plays a spy whose cover is a doddering old accountant. Under his cover identity, he falls in love with his next door neighbor, Gillian (Amber Valetta) — the catch? Her kids think he’s square, and don’t want Mom to have anything to do with him. In order to win over her children, however, Ho decides to take the kids for a weekend while Mom is tending to a plot contrivance. During the weekend, Ho’s cover is blown, and the kids get wrapped up in a lame mission to prevent a couple of cartoon Boris-and-Natasha terrorists from killing the family. Assisting Ho in his spy endeavors are two names I probably should’ve prefaced this review with: George Lopez and Billy Ray Cyrus. Take a pistol in your purse, Moms. A good-old fashioned murder-suicide pact with your kids will seem awfully appealing once those two appear on screen.
The Spy Next Door comes from the the Aaron Seltzer and Jason Freidberg of family films, the feeble-minded Brian Levant (Are We There Yet?, Snow Dogs), who is God’s way of punishing straight people for having children. It’s is lazily scripted, trite, and insufferable, but most of all, it manages to be bad enough to actually waste the talent of Billy Ray Cyrus.