My Spy Review – A Fun, Family Film with Lots of Laughs

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My Spy, from STX Entertainment and Amazon Studios, presents the story of a tough CIA operative who, demoted to surveillance, finds himself stuck after being caught by a precocious nine-year-old of the family he was sent to watch.

Directed by Peter Segal, My Spy stars Dave Bautista, Chloe Coleman, Parisa Fritz-Henley, Kristen Schaal, Greg Bryk, Ken Jeong, Nicola Correia-Damude, Devere Rogers, Noah Dalton Danby, Vieslav Krystyan, Basel Daoud, Ali Hassan, and Laura Cilevitz.

The film begins in Europe, with undercover CIA operative JJ, played by Dave Bautista, securing intel from a known Russian arms dealer. With his faithful tech assistant Bobbi, played by Kristen Schaal, in his ear, he is preparing to take down the weapons network when the buy goes bust and a shoot out begins leaving JJ to lean on brute force.

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By the time he returns to Washington, at CIA headquarters, what he thought was a win-win for the good guys becomes a beat down by his boss, David Kim, played by Ken Jeong. Explaining with the explosion, chaos and kills, they had received limited usable intelligence.

Directives are sent regarding the formula needed to make a smart weapon and JJ, now demoted to surveillance, is sent with his tech Bobbi, to Chicago, to spy on Kate, played by Parisa Fritz-Henley, the sister-in-law of the assassin sent to secure the blueprint.

On their first day, even before they are operational, Sophie, played by Chloe Coleman, Kate’s nine-year-old daughter catches JJ and Bobbi. A child of the 21st century Sophie, with camera in hand, is filming the team and explains with one push of a button this all goes live. Suddenly for JJ, his options are limited and for the first time someone, who he can’t kill, has the upper hand.

Sophie sets out the deal, in exchange for not blowing his cover, he will show he how to become a spy. Not a people person, JJ is suddenly cast into the role of surrogate family man while he tries to maintain his cover with Kate and teaches Sophie the ropes of spying.

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While he is out with Sophie, Bobbi, JJ’s tech wing man, has dedicated her career to ensuring he sees the road ahead and has studied his every career move, and is constantly told she doesn’t have the right stuff for field work. A blunt instrument, JJ doesn’t mince words when he tells her talents and skills are only suited for behind the scene and they’re not friends.

With a clandestine operation destroyed, the only option to maintain surveillance and gather intel is to become the neighbor, friend, and surrogate family man, he has avoided throughout his life. Soon he and Sophie are cooking dinner for her mother, and as she is a nurse working long hours, and often doubles, he along with a few other characters in the building are all caring for her.

Sophie is also the new kid at school, having recently moved from Paris, she is subject to all the new kid at school heartache. After she forces JJ into companionship, soon he is attending school functions, trying to gather any possible intel.

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This is where My Spy moves into the final act. I was able to screen the film just days before the stay at home orders were enacted in Los Angeles. It will provide a necessary comic relief now. It is a fun, family film with Dave Bautista displaying serious comedic skills and Chloe Coleman holding her own and stealing the show.

The plot, and overarching theme, is well written by Erich and Jon Hoeber, who pull the storyline along weaving enough of the necessary family, grade school activities and soccer mom restlessness into the story to be relatable, even with the improbability of the CIA being caught by a nine-year-old, the premise has a ring of reality.

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The ensemble, which in addition to the core characters, brings in other quirky apartment dwellers, unpredictable children, hardened CIA agents, eccentric parents, and teachers.

My Spy will either stream on Amazon or be one of the first films to have a theatrical opening in major markets where theaters remain closed. In cities where theaters are opening, the film may soon see a US release. Either way My Spy is a fun, family film, with lots of action, romance, and laughs. See it.

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