“My Spy” is yet another film that lost its theatrical run due to the COVID-19 pandemic. After a few months in limbo, it was unceremoniously dropped onto Amazon Prime. Even though family comedies aren’t typically my genre of choice, two years of seeing the film’s trailer wore me down and I decided to check it out. Though “My Spy” didn’t blow me away, I ended up enjoying it much more than I ever thought I would.
“My Spy” follows JJ, a soldier-turned-spy working for the CIA. After failing to prove he can do anything but kill during missions, he is paired up with mundane techie Bobbi and assigned a low-key surveillance mission. When Sophie, the young daughter the two were meant to be watching, discovers JJ and Bobbi, she blackmails them into teaching her how to be a spy.
This premise is surprisingly unoriginal. Spy comedies almost never end well and, though he’s great in “Guardians of the Galaxy,” I wasn’t sure Dave Bautista could carry a movie on his own. Most of the film ended up being about as generic and predictable as I had thought, but some clever writing and almost universally good performances saved the film from being unwatchable.
Dave Bautista honestly does a fantastic job in this film. While he doesn’t give a performance worthy of any awards, he perfectly sells the “tough guy with a big heart” stereotype and is extremely likable. Similarly, young actress Chloe Coleman gives an outstanding performance as Sophie, a young girl that feels out of place in society. While I wish screenwriters would start writing child roles in films like actual children instead of adults in ten-year-old bodies, she does a great job with what she is given.
While I normally can’t stand Kristen Schaal in just about anything, she was fine in this movie. While I wasn’t crazy about her performance, I didn’t hate her, which is a start.
Many scenes in “My Spy” feel incredibly generic but are saved by clever jokes that are bound to make the whole family laugh. There are a fair share of cringe-worthy moments (I never want to see Bautista dance again), but more often than not the film kept a smile on my face.
As I mentioned earlier, spy themed comedies very rarely hit. This is due in part to the fact that the people behind these films have only ever made comedies and don’t really know how to direct/write action. The same can be said here. The action in this film is really bad, but luckily there isn’t very much of it. Director Peter Segal is great at directing comedy and this film cements the fact that he should stick to it.
While “My Spy” didn’t blow me away, it kept me interested and made me laugh more than I ever thought it would. If you happen to have Amazon Prime and are looking for a film to put on with the family, I don’t think anyone will be too disappointed with this one.