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Saturday, January 2, 2010

THE SPY NEXT DOOR

By D.E.Levine

Director: Brian Levant
Writers: Jonathan Bernstein, James Greer and Gregory Poitier (screenplay); Jonathan Bernstein and James Greer (story)
Producer: Robert Simonds
Excutive Producers: Ryan Kavanaugh, George Parta, Ira Shuman, Solon So and Tucker Tooley
Cast: Jackie Chan,Ambrer Valletta, Madeline Carroll, Will Shadley, Alina Foley, Magnus Scheving, Katherine Boecher, Lucas Till, Billy Ray Cyrus, George Lopez et al.
Original Music: David Newman
Running Time: 89 Minutes
Country of Origin: United States
Language: English
Genre: Comedy, Action

Although this is a Jackie Chan movie, it's obviously aimed at children. Chan, as Bob Hi, isn't really convincing in the part of a romantic suitor/boyfriend for his next door neighbor Gillian but he's very good in his attempts to bond with his girlfriend's three children.

As a high tech undercover CIA agent Bob is exemplary. However, as his cover, a nerdy mild-mannered pen salesman, Bob is totally boring to the three kids. When Gillian has to leave town because of a sick parent, Bob convinces her to let him babysit for the three kids so that he can build a better relationship with them.

Needless to say, all sorts of things go wrong when Bob moves in to babysit. The mini-crises are all aimed at showing Bob's incompetence on the domestic front. However, when Ian, the little boy, intercepts and downloads a top-secret formula for bacteria-eating goop, Bob is forced to pull out his spy gear and implement evasive measures to keep the kids safe from a Russian villain.

It's at this point that the kids develop some respect and affection for Bob. Although the story borrows from Vin Diesel's previous film "The Pacifier", Chan, as a comic character attempting to bond with the children, is effective. While Chan still performs some of his own stunts, now nearing 60, he is obviously less flexible and needs to rely on some stunt people.

The director Brian Levant, is known for previous successes with children's' films. The music also has an upbeat, child like feel.

Altogether, while the film is cute and will definitely be appealing to younger children, Jackie Chan fans will be somewhat disappointed by it's childish story.