The Spy Next Door (2010)

<strong class="MovieTitle">The Spy Next Door</strong> (2010)

(On Cable TV, February 2012) Ever since Schwarzenegger’s Kindergarden Cop, the family-friendly comedy pitting muscleman against kids seems to be a mandatory step in the career of aging action actors.  From Dwayne Johnson’s The Tooth Fairy to Vin Diesel’s The Pacifier, the results usually aren’t very good, falling short of delivering bone-crunching action while not bringing anything new to the family film genre.  Jackie Chan’s The Spy Next Door is much of the same.  While Chan fans will occasionally get a reminder about his considerable physical skills (starting from the opening archive footage taken from other movies), the film itself isn’t particularly interesting.  The unthreatening kid-spy plot beats are all obvious, the jokes are weak, the action sequences are tepid and the script is more dumb than compelling.  Chan himself is far too old to play the pseudo-nebbish man courting an attractive mother-of-three, and parts of the villain’s dastardly plot could be flipped over to become a force for good without too much trouble.  Still, The Spy Next Door isn’t a complete loss: Chan remains a charming presence and some of the action sequences show some of his usual flair.  Still, there isn’t much to miss here…

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