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My Spy – Movie Review

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My Spy – Movie Review

Rating: B (Good)

Trailer/Thumbnail Courtesy Elevation Pictures

The premise for My Spy isn’t the most original concept in the world. There have been any number of comedies centered on muscled men tasked with watching over children and the humour that ensues. It was probably inevitable that Dave Bautista would be next in line to play this sort of role. While not all of the jokes in My Spy hit, the film as a whole does provide the needed amusement. Most importantly, the chemistry between Bautista and his young co-star Chloe Coleman is rather sweet. The humour is surprisingly dark at points and there is even some solid action thrown into the mix.

Watching the two leads play off each creates the needed laughs, especially in seeing Sophie’s no nonsense approach and the eventual vulnerability that starts to form from J.J. the spy. The film is able to properly set up the characters and the McGuffin at the centre of the plot and doesn’t waste time in getting them where they need to be. In addition to the main partnership, there are also some enjoyable interactions between Bautista and Kristen Schaal. Schaal has a lot of fun with her excitable surveillance expert, while also showing the character’s smarts. Some of the funniest bits come from Schaal and her line deliveries.

Coleman finds the right balance in portraying Sophie’s intelligence, while keeping the precocious child element intact. Meanwhile, Bautista gets some funny moments when he reveals too much about what he’s thinking. J.J.’s expected turn does feel believable the more they spend time together. Director Peter Segal moves the plot along at a good clip and My Spy makes solid use of montages in which J.J. teaches Sophie spy techniques. It never feels like the story is progressing too quickly, just so we can get to the action. Most impressively, the film delivers on being heartfelt. There are some sweet bonding scenes in between the more broadly comedic sequences.

The spy plot is ultimately the least interesting part. The villain is your generic movie baddie and he’s connected to Sophie and her mother in the flimsiest way possible. Segal does a decent job of directing the action, as we get the usual high speed car chases and hand-to-hand combat. There is a bit of self awareness as Sophie shows knowledge of action movie clichés, with one inspiring a cute running joke. The main investment comes not from the mission Bautista and Schaal are on, but rather seeing the connection form between the two leads. There is some unintentional humour out of seeing Toronto attempt to play Chicago, though. We see a few strategically placed license plates and signs displayed here and there, but who knew there were so many Beck taxis in Chicago? There is also an easy to catch Toronto sign when Bautista and Coleman skate on what is clearly Mel Lastman Square. These aren’t detriments, but nonetheless a tad amusing.

The audience is here to see the chemistry of the lead actors and it’s that aspect that allows My Spy to be a decent viewing. Parents might need to take note of the saltier language than expected here, but it’s otherwise harmless entertainment. There is enough silliness and even heart to make this a winning comedy. Does it rewrite the rule book of these sorts of movies? Absolutely not. This is a tried and true formula that has been done plenty of times before. However, Peter Segal brings the needed energy and knows how to utilise Dave Bautista and Chloe Coleman.

Stefan Ellison

Stefan Ellison