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Thursday, July 2, 2020

Movie Review: ‘My Spy’

Dave Bautista’s family film turn finds a home at Amazon
Continue reading on KCCI Des Moines

My Spy

Amazon Studios

My Spy

SOURCE: Amazon Studios

Sometimes I feel bad for the way a movie gets treated by the Releasing Gods. Batted around the schedule like a kitty playing with a catnip-filled ball, never staying where it lands for very long. My Spy is one such movie. Originally slated for August 23 of last year, it got pushed to 2020.

At first it was to be a January release, then was moved to March 13 before “finally” stopping on April 17. Of course, we all know what happened, then. So, like several of its other theatrically-slated brethren, My Spy’s fate ended up in the hands of the Streaming Sorcerers, specifically Amazon Prime, and it is finally seeing the light of day.

JJ (Dave Bautista) is a former Special Forces soldier now working for the CIA. His methods of spycraft tend to lean more toward a freight train through a china shop, which is a little bit counter to the aims of espionage. Though he technically succeeded in his previous mission, his boss, David Kim (Ken Jeong), sees it as a failure.

Sophie (Chloe Coleman) is a fourth grader whose mom, Kate (Parisa Fitz-Henley), has recently moved them to Chicago from Paris after the recent death of Sophie’s father. Sophie has been finding that being the new girl is difficult. She has no friends and the other kids tease her, so she feels very lonely.

What Kate didn’t tell Sophie is that her uncle, Marquez (Greg Bryk), is an international arms dealer, and being involved with him is what got her dad killed. While other CIA agents get assigned duties covering Marquez, JJ and a techie who fangirls all over him, Bobbi (Kristen Schaal), are tasked with surveilling Kate and Sophie.

Sophie discovers the duo watching her and uses this information as leverage to blackmail JJ into becoming her friend. Being the hardened soldier he is, JJ is prepared for anything…except this.

My Spy is an enjoyable and fun little family film. Dutifully directed by Peter Segal (Get Smart, Tommy Boy), it showcases the fantasy come to life storyline for the kids, with enough action and jokes to hold the attention of adults.

Bautista does a very good job stepping into his first, shall we say, Kindergarten Cop role. Though, to be honest, it’s not so much a change of pace as a lateral move from playing Drax in the Guardians films, since that character has not only been a big hit with the kiddos, but is really kind of a big kid himself. You can tell he’s having a blast remaining so deadpan as the fish out of water when he’s around children, and his character is having an equally fun time when he’s in his element while teaching Sophie how to be a spy.

For a young actor, Coleman has proven herself a real talent. While she’s handled the heavy drama that’s the core of Big Little Lies so well, she proves equally deft at comedy, giving Bautista and Schaal runs for their money.

Speaking of comedy, Schaal is perfect as the comic relief sidekick. You totally believe Bobbi’s fangirl fawning, wanting to be as cool as the field agents like JJ are, as well as her feelings of being rejected when JJ’s attention for training turns to Sophie instead of her.

All in all, for a movie that appeared to be abused by film scheduling circumstance, My Spy turned out to be a real pleasure to watch, a nice, breezy choice for those sweltering summer days where you just want to stay in the cool house.

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