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The Spy Next Door

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The Spy Next Door
Spy next door ver2.jpg
I spy that Jackie Chan is in the next door, and it gets annoying.
Genre: Comedy
Directed By: Brian Levant
Produced By: Robert Simonds
Written By: Jonathan Bernstein
James Greer
Gregory Poirier
Starring: Jackie Chan
Amber Valletta
Madeline Carroll
Will Shadley
Magnús Scheving
Billy Ray Cyrus
George Lopez
Photography: Color
Cinematography: Dean Cundey
Distributed By: Lionsgate
Relativity Media
Release Date: December 22, 2009 (Denmark)
January 15, 2010 (USA)
Runtime: 94 minutes
Country: United States
Budget: $28 million
Box Office: $45.2 million

The Spy Next Door is a 2010 American action comedy film directed by Brian Levant, written by Jonathan Bernstein, James Greer and Gregory Poirier, produced by Robert Simonds with music by David Newman and starring Jackie Chan, Amber Valletta, Magnús Scheving, Madeline Carroll, Will Shadley, Alina Foley, Billy Ray Cyrus and George Lopez. Filming started in late October 2008 in Rio Rancho, New Mexico and was finished in late December 2008. The film was released on January 15, 2010 in the United States by Lionsgate. The film was released on DVD, and Blu-ray on May 18, 2010. The film tributes Chan's films by showing clips, references and even referencing Chan's real life childhood. The film received negative reviews from critics and it earned $45.2 million on a $28 million budget.


Bob Ho is an operative of the CIA as an undercover agent on loan from the Chinese Intelligence, who decides to retire after putting Russian terrorist Anton Poldark behind bars and marry his longtime girlfriend Gillian, who lives next door and has three children from previous relationships, Farren (a step-daughter), Ian and Nora. None of them know about his real job and think he works at a pen importing company. One day, Gillian leaves to visit her father in a hospital in Denver, Colorado and leaves Bob to take care of her children, but Farren and Ian despise him and plot to get rid of him. Using technology from the CIA, Bob is able to take control and gradually bonds with the children. His partner, Colton James, informs him that Poldark has escaped from jail and they suspect there is a mole in the CIA. Colton sends a file to Bob's computer for a top-secret formula for an oil-eating bacteria Poldark is working on. While snooping around Bob's house, Ian downloads the file, which he mistakes for music, onto his iPod. Poldark discovers the download and sends some of his henchmen to Bob's house, but Bob overpowers them. After the attack, Bob and the children hide at a Chinese restaurant, where Poldark's teenage henchman, Larry, tries to kill Bob. Bob defeats him and is forced to tell the children about his job. His boss Glaze then arrives, points a gun at him and demands the downloaded file, revealing himself as Poldark's mole. Bob knocks out Glaze with Nora's turtle, then hides in a hotel with the children. Farren tells Gillian over the phone about Bob's secret. Fearing for her children's safety, Gillian flies home to take them back and angrily breaks up with him for lying to her. Bob heads to an abandoned factory to confront the Russian terrorists but finds that Ian, wanting to become a spy, followed him and Farren has run away from home to try and help as well. The three are captured by the Russians, who force Ian to reveal that the file is on his iPod quite easily since Ian doesn't know how to handle an interrogation. As Poldark, his partner Tatiana, and Glaze go to Gillian's house, Bob and the children escape and return home, where Poldark and his crew arrive soon after. Bob, Gillian's family and the terrorists fight, with the children using Bob's secret weapons to defeat some of them, and soon after Colton and his crew arrive to arrest the Russians and Glaze. Gillian initially rejects Bob, but changes her mind when her children express their heartfelt approval of him. In the end, Bob and Gillian get married. At the altar, Bob confesses to Gillian that Bob is not his real name, which Gillian and her children accept with a laugh.

Why It Sucks

  1. It's a shameless Mission Impossible-esque comedy film with terrible pacing, childish plot and unfunny slapstick humor.
    • On that topic, the story is really predictable and unoriginal, since it blatantly rip-off elements of both The Pacifier (which also has a similar premise of an action hero being tasked to protect and babysit children and struggles at doing the job but eventually gets the hang of it as time passes on) and True Lies.
  2. Horrible acting, which wastes talents of Jackie Chan, George Lopez, Billy Ray Cyrus, and among others.
  3. All of the characters are very unlikable throughout the entire movie, with the worst offender being two of Ian's school bullies grab his wedgie and threw him in the trash can, which made him so late for class.
  4. Shameless and blatant product placement such as Apple electronics, Quaker Oats, DirecTV, Kroger, LG, etc.
  5. The action scenes get unexciting at most times.
  6. The scene where Bob beats up a restaurant waiter, which is troublesome.
  7. Atrocious CGI effects.
  8. If features some rather inappropriate moments for a family movie:
    • The very first scene of the movie introducing Gillian, Farren, Ian and Nora literally starts with the family's pet pig Tadpole eating Nora's underwear.
    • In one scene, Nora, whom is only four years old, runs around the house wearing nothing but only her underwear just to avoid from getting dressed in her pyjamas by Bob.
    • Ian and Gillian's mom likes their kids to watch Adult Swim as a tradition, when they are too young to watch that channel.
  9. Several scenes of slapstick are way too over-the-top to the point that it is incredibly hurtful to the child actors:
    • Bob throws her little daughter Nora up in the ceiling way too high over her not wanting to go to bed, when it’s time to.
    • Ian threw a lighter in his room. At least is isn't destroyed.
  10. Nora's screaming is extremely ear-piercing to hear.

Redeeming Qualities

  1. There were some good moments in the movie.
  2. Amazing soundtrack.
  3. Some entertaining scenes here and there.
  4. Bob's powers that he uses are quite fun.


On Rotten Tomatoes the film has an approval rating of 12% based on 89 reviews, with an average rating of 3.5/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Lacking a script funny enough to cover up for Jackie Chan's fading physical gifts, The Spy Next Door fails on every conceivable level." On Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating to reviews, it holds an average score of 27 out of 100 based on 21 critics, indicating "generals unfavorable reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A–" on an A+ to F scale.


  • Billy Ray Cyrus is the father of singer and actress Miley Cyrus, who she is famous for her role as Miley Stewart in the Disney Channel series Hannah Montana. He portrayed Robbie Stewart in the show when he was starting together with Miley.
  • Jackie Chan is famous for being a Hong Kong martial artist when he teaches karate with his students in his karate class. He is also famous for his own animated series Jackie Chan Adventures.
  • George Lopez is famous for having his own show that aired on ABC for 6 seasons. He is Mexican-American.

External Links


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