My Spy Movie Review
Harmless and innocuous, My Spy is a pleasant action-comedy that unfortunately exists for no audience in particular. Rated PG-13 yet seemingly made for the tween crowd, My Spy wants to be a modern-day Kindergarten Cop but comes up a bit short.
Dave Bautista and 11-year-old Chloe Coleman have great chemistry with one another, their energy and interaction powering, if not willing, My Spy to be better than it has any right to be. Bautista largely plays a human version of Drax from Guardians of the Galaxy, a super strong but not entirely intelligent CIA agent who is bested and subsequently blackmailed by a child. Coleman has spunk and then some, charisma you rarely see in a child actor.
Beyond its actors, My Spy, directed by Peter Segal (Tommy Boy) and written by Erich and Jon Hoeber (The Meg), is your pretty generic buddy cop film that would have been better suited for the 1990s. The crime and action is fairly forgettable, the comedy mundane, the plot contrived.
But Bautista and Coleman are so good they nearly make My Spy worth it. Sure, the plot is silly, the humor a tad juvenile, but if you accept the film for what it is, it largely works. At just over an hour and a half, the movie operates at a fast clip, and Bautista has enough charm to keep you engaged. There are some laugh-out-loud moments, and the budding romance between his character and Coleman’s on-screen mother (Parisa Fitz-Henry) is modestly touching.
Its biggest breaking point, however, is it is unclear who the intended audience is. The plot and marketing all suggest the movie is made more for kids than anyone else, but between the PG-13 violence and language, My Spy simply refuses to be a kids movie. What you’re left with is a film that comes off as neutered for adults and not silly or safe enough to take children to.
It’s a movie stuck in audience purgatory.
My Spy isn’t a great movie, nor does it make the case as to why you should spend your well-earned cash on it, but for what it is, and thanks for Dave Bautista and Chloe Coleman, it offers up just enough entertainment value to warrant a viewing. Probably at home, once it’s included on a subscription streaming platform at no additional cost.*
*I wrote that final sentence back when My Spy was to be released to theaters. Well, here we are..
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.