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"THE SPY NEXT DOOR"
(2009) (Jackie Chan, Amber Valletta) (PG)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Minor Moderate Extreme Heavy Heavy
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Extreme Minor Heavy None Minor
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Mild Minor Heavy Heavy Heavy


QUICK TAKE:
Action/Comedy: A retiring spy must protect the children of the woman he is dating when Russian terrorists seek to kill him and retrieve an incriminating computer file.
PLOT:
Bob Ho (JACKIE CHAN) is a retiring spy who wants only to peacefully settle down with his girlfriend, Gillian (AMBER VALLETTA), and be a stepdad to her three kids. Farren (MADELINE CARROLL) is the oldest and is actually Gillian's stepdaughter. She makes life miserable for everyone in the household after being abandoned by her father. Ian (WILL SHADLEY) is Gillian's sensitive son, who lacks male guidance and is bullied often at school. Nora (ALINA FOLEY) is Gillian's 4-year-old daughter, who thinks Bob is actually an android.

Bob does indeed retire after catching his last bad guy, Poldark (MAGNUS SCHEVING), a Russian terrorist plotting to use a chemical formula to disintegrate the world's oil supply. Poldark, though, escapes CIA custody thanks to a mole within the agency. He immediately reunites with his evil assistant, Creel (KATHERINE BOECHER), and becomes obsessed with getting revenge against Bob and retrieving the formula that he believes Bob downloaded via the Internet.

Meanwhile, a medical emergency calls Gillian away, and Bob is thrust into the awkward position of being the kids' babysitter and caregiver. It's not long before Poldark and his henchmen discover Bob's peaceful suburban existence.

Suddenly, Bob and the kids are on the run, and even his former CIA colleagues Glaze (GEORGE LOPEZ) and Colton (BILLY RAY CYRUS) appear untrustworthy. Heartsick that he has placed Gillian's kids in mortal jeopardy, Bob must take drastic action to keep the family safe and figure out a way to foil the terrorists' plot.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
Yes. It's kind of like a new-generation "Spy Kids." The film aims for the 4 to 14 demographic as the main family in the film features a teenage girl, a tween boy, and a preschool-age girl.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: PG
For sequences of action violence and some mild rude humor.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • JACKIE CHAN plays a retiring spy whose job puts the family of the woman he loves in jeopardy when Russian terrorists seek to kill him and retrieve an incriminating computer file. He is a man of action who must often resort to slapstick style martial arts violence.
  • AMBER VALLETTA plays the woman he loves, a divorcee with three kids whose husband cheated on her and left her. She entrusts her children to Bob's care when she is forced to travel out of town to care for her ailing father.
  • MADELINE CARROLL plays her angry teenage stepdaughter, who likes to dress provocatively, question authority, and make life miserable for her stepmother and siblings. She feels the pain of her father having left her and tries to undermine Bob and Gillian's relationship.
  • WILL SHADLEY plays Gillian's 11-year-old son, who is regularly bullied at school and tries hard to "be cool" -- he is especially fond of trying to illegally download restricted content via the Internet -- and often ends up looking foolish as a result. He gets into trouble late in the film by running away from home and trying to help Bob on a dangerous spy mission.
  • ALINA FOLEY plays Gillian's 4-year-old daughter, who spends the most time with Bob and warms to him the quickest. She often plays around late at night instead of going to bed when she should. Twice, she runs off in public while with Bob.
  • MAGNUS SCHEVING plays a Russian terrorist who is obsessed with perfecting a formula that can disintegrate the world's oil supply. He is prone to shooting inanimate objects when things don't go his way and has no problem ordering his buffoonish henchman to kill anyone -- including children -- who stand in his way.
  • KATHERINE BOECHER plays the main bad guy's right-hand assistant, who looks to carry out his plot to compromise the world's oil supply.
  • GEORGE LOPEZ plays a top-level CIA official who betrays his country and secretly works for the Russians, who promise him millions of dollars in return. He is part of a group of bad guys who try to kill Bob, Gillian and her kids.
  • BILLY RAY CYRUS plays a folksy, good-hearted CIA agent who helps Bob unravel the Russians' plot.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    The following is a brief summary of the content found in this action comedy that has been rated PG. There is no profanity uttered in the film, although numerous curse words are bleeped as a blooper reel plays over the closing credits. Colorful phrases are uttered throughout, though, and there's brief, benign innuendo.

    Violence consists of people being punched, kicked, manhandled, and beaten with various objects. This is a PG movie featuring Jackie Chan, who choreographs many of the fights to comic effect as he and others use common, everyday items such as chairs, pots, pans, household products, swimming-pool equipment and so forth during the various fights. Few of these scenes have bloody results, but repeated sequences and moments of potential peril involving the film's three main children could prove unsettling and/or suspenseful for the youngest and most impressionable viewers in the audience.

    Bad attitudes are present throughout, as is quite a lot of potentially imitative behavior and various thematic elements. Also prevalent are some tense family scenes marked by unresolved problems involving a divorced mom, the cheating father of her children (who is not seen in the film) and the three aforementioned kids. Brief background drinking is present.

    If you're still concerned about the film and its appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home who may be interested in seeing it, we suggest that you take a closer look at our detailed listings below for more specific information regarding the film's content.

    For those prone to visually induced motion sickness, all sorts of rapid-speed camera movement occurs throughout the film especially with regards to satellites and a string of zoom-ins and zoom-outs from space.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • Some customers are shown in the background enjoying wine as Bob and Gillian have dinner.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • Colton asks Bob what profession other than a spy teaches you to urinate in a bottle while in a moving car.
  • The Russian assassin who Bob roughed up in a Chinese restaurant pops up later in the film bearing the facial bruises and injuries from the earlier fight. His nose is bandaged and appears to be broken.
  • Creel has a bloody mouth and spits out a few teeth after being hit in the face with a swinging kitchen door.
  • As some of the bad guys are lead away by CIA agents, they sport bruises and facial injuries from previous fighting.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • When Bob tells Colton he wants to marry Gillian, Colton advises him not to and instead "find a woman you'll hate in five years and then give her your house."
  • Farren, Ian, and Nora have an active dislike for Bob throughout most of the film's first half, because they think he is replacing their dad, who cheated on Gillian and left the family.
  • To this end, they call him such names as "loser," "nerd," "geek," "boring," "robot," and "cyborg."
  • Bob lies to Gillian about his job, telling her that he sells ink and pens.
  • On a date, Bob answers a work-related text message in a restaurant and then leaves Gillian before they are finished with their meal.
  • Farren calls Gillian by her first name throughout the film, but we learn late in the story that she is her stepmother and not her natural mother.
  • Ian says he prefers to be into foster care or Juvenile Hall than have Bob care for him while Gillian is away.
  • When Gillian tells her kids she deserves to be happy, too, they scoff at her and Ian walks away muttering, "I hate it when old people have feelings."
  • Farren and Ian rifle through Bob's personal possessions when left alone in his house. Ian gets on his computer and downloads a file that he believes is a bootleg concert (but is really a chemical formula that could implicate the main bad guy in a plot to compromise the world's oil supply).
  • Two bullies call Ian a nerd and a loser, then give him an underwear wedgie and throw him in a trash can. Later, they decide to go steal some candy from the younger kids in the neighborhood.
  • Poldark and his villainous co-conspirators want to release a specially designed chemical formula that disintegrates all petroleum products and place Russia in the driver's seat of controlling the world's oil supply.
  • Poldark vows to find and kill whoever stole his secret formula.
  • Ian lights a stink bomb in the house and tries to blame Farren for doing it.
  • Farren hogs the bathroom one morning, keeping Ian from being able to use it.
  • Ian feeds the family cat on his bedroom dresser.
  • Farren intentionally honks a car horn as Bob is trying to talk on the phone.
  • To make Bob's life miserable, Farren and Ian feed Nora raw sugar right before bedtime.
  • Farren, Ian and Nora run ahead of Bob into the family house and lock him out.
  • Farren tells Bob she and he are still not friends, despite the two having had a nice, heart-to-heart talk the night before.
  • Gillian throws a guy out of a taxicab in her haste to get to the airport and reunite with her children.
  • Creel takes a lollipop from a trick-or-treater and puts it in her mouth.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Scenes listed under "Violence," "Blood/Gore" and "Jump Scenes" may be unsettling, suspenseful or scary to younger viewers and/or those with low tolerance levels for such material.
  • Bob briefly loses Nora in a costume shop filled with little girls wearing the same Princess costume.
  • Bob tries to make breakfast for Farren, Ian and Nora and ends up setting Gillian's kitchen on fire. A shrill fire alarm goes off, causing Nora to hold her ears and scream.
  • Nora is chased around her backyard by Creel who wants to kill her.
  • Bob and the three kids are attacked in a restaurant by a knife-wielding Russian assassin who had been posing a nice, American college student.
  • Ian and Farren end up being captured by Poldark and his henchmen, who tie them up with Bob and then proceed to threaten their lives.
  • Poldark and all of his henchmen descend on the family home before Bob, Gillian and the kids can escape, forcing them to stay and fight.
  • Nora is threatened by a hulking Russian, but she quickly gets the better of him with one of Bob's spy gadgets.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • CIA agents bust in on an industrial facility with rifles and handguns after Bob has incapacitated all of the bad guys inside.
  • Poldark repeatedly shoots two outfits one of his henchmen has chosen for him to wear. Both are ridiculous-looking Western wear.
  • Poldark shoots a cell phone when Creel calls and gives him news of Bob's escape.
  • A Russian assassin uses a large knife to attack Bob and the kids in a restaurant.
  • Glaze pulls a gun on Bob outside of a restaurant and demands a downloaded file.
  • Poldark points a gun at a tied-up Ian and Bob in a most threatening manner.
  • Bob uses a hand-held flame thrower from his collection of spy gadgets to fast-cook breakfast for Farren, Ian and Nora.
  • Farren later uses the same gadget to repel a bad guy trying to climb in an upstairs bedroom window.
  • Poldark, Creel and his henchmen descend on Gillian's house, some carrying firearms.
  • Nora unwittingly uses one of Bob's spy gadgets which shoots an energy burst that sends a hulking henchman flying through the air and crashing through a door.
  • Glaze again pulls a gun on Bob.
  • CIA agents led by Colton arrive at the family house just as Bob, Gillian and the kids have beaten all the bad guys.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "I hate this family," "He's a robot," "He is such a loser," "He's boring," "He's a geek," "You're a pathetic, little nerd and a loser," "Your son is a psycho," "Boys are pigs," "I hate it when old people have feelings," "We've gotta deep-six Bob" and "Yuck."
  • All of the action, fighting and other stunts might be enticing for some kids to try to imitate.
  • Poldark is prone to shooting inanimate objects when things don't go his way.
  • Ian and Nora run through the house in the morning making a lot of noise and chasing the family pig.
  • Gillian stops Farren from wearing a tight miniskirt to school. Farren then puts on tight jeans and a belly shirt, which also draws protests from Gillian.
  • Farren muscles her way past Ian to ride in the front seat of the family SUV to school, forcing him to sit in the backseat.
  • Poldark is prone to shooting inanimate objects when things don't go his way.
  • All of the action, fighting and other stunts might be enticing for some kids to try to imitate.
  • Gillian's kids call Bob such names as "loser," "nerd," "geek," "boring," "robot," and "cyborg."
  • Bob scales a house to retrieve the family cat.
  • Bob lies to Gillian that Halloween is his favorite holiday. Being from China, he's actually never heard of it.
  • Farren screams at Gillian to get out of her room, then climbs out on the house's roof to be alone and talk on a cell phone.
  • Ian feeds bacon to the family pig.
  • Nora runs through the house, forcing Bob to chase her, instead of going to bed on time.
  • Bob tosses Nora into the air and catches her in her pajamas as a way of dressing her for bed.
  • Bob tries to pull hot muffins out of an oven without a pot holder or other protective hand covering.
  • Two bullies terrorize Ian at school by giving him a wedgie and throwing him in a trash can.
  • When Bob looks away for a few seconds, Nora wanders out of a costume shop and into a crowded shopping mall.
  • Bob swings like Tarzan from mall decorations and slides down an escalator to catch up with Nora.
  • Ian claims to have watched the Playboy Channel on New Year's Eve just so he could tell his classmates that he spent the holiday at the Playboy Mansion.
  • Ian lies to two school bullies that Bob is his bodyguard.
  • Ian, at one point, comes on to a teenage girl with the line: "If I told you that you had a beautiful body, would you hold it against me?"
  • Ian lights a stink bomb in the house and tries to blame Farren for doing it.
  • Farren hogs the bathroom one morning, keeping Ian from being able to use it.
  • To make Bob's life miserable, Farren and Ian feed Nora raw sugar right before bedtime.
  • Ian lets the family cat eat pet food on his bedroom dresser.
  • Ian tries to smuggle a can of soda pop upstairs late one night, but Bob catches him using special spy glasses.
  • Farren, Ian and Nora run ahead of Bob into the family house and lock him out.
  • Bob scales the house and glides down the chimney using his spy skills to surprise the kids.
  • Nora again wanders off in a store, only this time Bob is able to find her with a special tracking device.
  • Farren trips Bob with a garden hose as he tries to take the trash to the corner.
  • Farren intentionally honks a car horn as Bob is trying to talk on the phone.
  • Ian breaks a hotel-room vase as he uses one of Bob's spy gadgets.
  • Gillian throws a guy out of a taxicab in her haste to get to the airport and reunite with her children.
  • Ian runs away from home to join Bob on a spy mission.
  • Bob drives fast and erratically as he tries to get back to a defenseless Gillian and Nora with bad guys on the way.
  • Creel takes a lollipop from a trick-or-treater and puts it in her mouth.
  • The two bullies who had terrorized Ian at school show up late to toilet-paper his house. After they see Ian beat a large Russian henchman out of an upstairs window, they decide to go steal some candy from the younger kids in the neighborhood.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • A large Russian henchman jumps out at Nora and the rest of the family in a hallway.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • A heavy amount of loud, tense music (that is heavy on the percussion) occurs throughout the film.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • No actual profanity is heard in the film. However, a blooper reel is shown over the closing credits, and there are many instances where Chan and others flub their lines and mutter bleeped obscenities In a few instances, you can tell that the words being uttered are "f*ck" and "sh*t" just from basic lip reading.
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • Gillian stops Farren from wearing a tight miniskirt to school. Farren then puts on tight jeans and a belly shirt, which also draws protests from Gillian.
  • Ian claims to have watched the Playboy Channel on New Year's Eve just so he could tell his classmates that he spent the holiday at the Playboy Mansion.
  • Ian, at one point, comes on to a teenage girl with the line: "If I told you that you had a beautiful body, would you hold it against me?"
  • SMOKING
  • During the film's blooper reel, the actor playing Poldark cracks up when he realizes someone has put a cigarette in the barrel of his handgun.
  • Ian, at one point, comes on to a teenage girl with the line: "If I told you that you had a beautiful body, would you hold it against me?"
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • We learn that Gillian's ex-husband and the father of Farren, Ian and Nora committed adultery and left the family to be with another woman.
  • Farren and Gillian get into at least two screaming scenes where the girl openly defies her stepmother.
  • Farren, Ian and Nora are upset when Gillian breaks up with Bob after they have been in his care.
  • Ian runs away from home to help Bob on his spy mission, and Farren follows him into danger.
  • Gillian and her children are terrorized in their home on Halloween by Poldark and his henchmen and are forced to fight for their lives with Bob.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • Make sure kids do NOT imitate any of Jackie Chan's martial arts acrobatics in real life. Only trained stuntmen and advanced martial artists can even come close to duplicating what he does (now with the help of body doubles and a bit of CGI trickery). And you may want to clue them in that Chan has suffered numerous injuries over the years doing may of his own stunts.
  • Divorce and its affect on families.
  • Children's reactions when their mom and/or dad begin dating someone new.
  • The importance of talking respectfully to one's caregiver, whether they are a parent, a step-parent, or a babysitter.
  • Never run away from home.
  • Dealing with bullies.
  • VIOLENCE
  • The opening credits feature clips from numerous old Jackie Chan movies when the martial arts star was in his prime. It shows quick cuts of several classic fight scenes, a death-defying motorcycle jump, and several other stunts.
  • Bob fights two of Poldark's henchmen in an industrial facility, beating them senseless with a large wrench.
  • Bob then tracks Poldark throughout the complex and fights him first with his bare hands and various kicks, then takes off his belt which is actually a spy gadget that converts into a club-like weapon. He proceeds to fight then beat Poldark up with it until CIA agents bust in and make an arrest.
  • Two school bullies give Ian a wedgie and throw him in a trash can.
  • Poldark shoots some clothing -- ridiculous-looking Western wear -- that one of his henchmen has brought him to wear.
  • Farren trips Bob with a garden hose as he tries to take the trash to the corner.
  • Bob fights Creel and three henchmen in his backyard, using various swimming-pool items and a ladder. At one point, he fights Creel while Nora is clutching his leg, making it difficult to mount an adequate defense against her kicks and punches.
  • Poldark throws a cell phone on the ground and shoots it when Creel calls and gives him bad news.
  • Bob fights a knife-wielding, Russian agent in a Benihana-style restaurant. He wards off each knife thrust with his speed and with the help of a chair, which he uses to propel the attacker across the eatery. When Bob lunges at him a final time, the young Russian turns and runs right through a window, knocking himself out.
  • Outside the eatery, Glaze pulls a gun on Bob and demands the downloaded file. Bob tells Glaze to reach in his jacket pocket to retrieve it. Instead, Nora's turtle is inside the pocket and bites Glaze. This enables Bob to punch Glaze a couple of times in the face and render him unconscious.
  • Ian breaks a hotel-room vase as he uses one of Bob's spy gadgets.
  • Gillian throws a guy out of a taxicab in her haste to get to the airport and reunite with her children.
  • Gillian slaps Bob hard across the face for lying to her and putting her kids in danger.
  • Bob, Farren and Ian are caught by Poldark and his men. Bob uses a tiny saw inside of his ring to cut through the ropes and beat up three bad guys with his martial arts skills. At one point, with Ian still tied to him and sitting in a chair, Bob spins round and round using the boy to kick several of the bad guys in their heads and faces. He then uses Ian's bicycle to beat another guy up.
  • Farren uses Bob's flame-throwing gadget to repel a bad guy trying to climb in an upstairs bedroom window. The flames force the henchman to lose his grip and crash into the backyard swimming pool below.
  • Nora unwittingly uses one of Bob's spy gadgets which shoots an energy burst that sends a hulking henchman flying through the air and crashing through a door.
  • Ian uses a club-like weapon to repeatedly cane-beat a bad guy, forcing him out an upstairs bedroom window to land hard on the driveway below.
  • Bob gets into a fight with two of Poldark's henchmen in Gillian's kitchen. He takes a couple of punches and fights back by flinging plates at one of the bad guys, also uses the refrigerator door as both a shield and something to hit another bad guy with. He also makes use of the spray hose from the kitchen sink and beats one henchman senseless with two frying pans.
  • Farren drops a TV set on the head of the Russian assassin who had earlier attacked her and her siblings in a restaurant.
  • Gillian comes into the kitchen, and as she and Bob argue, they both use kitchen items to knock out bad guys regaining consciousness. Gillian twice hits Creel in the face with a swinging kitchen door.
  • Bob then gets into a one-on-one fight with Poldark in the living room. The two trade kung fu-style blows, with Bob eventually getting the better of the man.
  • Glaze shows up just as the fight is ending and trains a gun on Bob, but Gillian hits him hard from behind with a gallon bottle of household bleach, knocking him out.



  • Reviewed January 9, 2010 / Posted January 15, 2010

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