Dave Bautista Stars in a Comedy Ready for Family Night In
DIRECTOR: PETER SEGAL/2020
JJ’s life has taken a turn. He was a superstar field agent for the CIA, but after his heroics left no witnesses in an investigation, he’s been demoted. Now JJ (Dave Bautista) is stuck on undercover surveillance, and as if that weren’t insulting enough, this classic “I work alone” hero is paired with Bobbi (Kristen Schaal), a classic overenthusiastic sidekick. But their mission goes from bad to worse when nine-year-old Sophie (Chloe Coleman) catches them spying on her mom. To save their careers, the team becomes a trio, and Sophie is the one holding the cards.
Though you’ll probably know where this movie will end within the first 15 minutes, My Spy is a pleasant surprise. It’s a little bit Get Smart (also from director Peter Segal), a little bit The Game Plan—er, a lot like The Game Plan (2007), in which Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson must choose between his curly-haired eight-year-old daughter and his football career. But even if you remember that movie well, My Spy is still a fun ride.
Bautista brings the comedic timing he’s known for from Guardians of the Galaxy down to Earth, and Coleman is the right amount of precocious to charm you but not drive you nuts. The plot is ridiculous, but when you’ve got scene-stealers like Schaal running the show, who cares? A funny cast covers a multitude of plot holes, and you weren’t going to watch this movie for a realistic take on espionage anyway.
Why you might be considering watching: You’ve seen Trolls: World Tour, Scoob!, and Artemis Fowl about 15 times too many. However, it’s worth noting that while My Spy is a family movie, its PG-13 rating means it’s probably too much for the target demo of those other titles. The spy violence isn’t gory, but it’s more realistic than in other PG-13 family movies like Star Wars and the Marvel universe. The language isn’t strong, but it’s frequent enough you may not want your youngest movie watchers quoting it back to you.
My Spy is meant for families with older kids, who will appreciate the humor and relate to Sophie’s attempts to make friends at a new school. And even better for the audience more likely to read this review, most of that humor rise above the lowest common denominator, which means parents won’t be rolling their eyes the whole through. My Spy may feel familiar, but it’s the familiar feel of a great family night in.