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Spy Next Door - Movie Review

There's something about Jackie Chan that seems to make him timeless. In this action-romantic-comedy, Jackie Chan plays "Bob", the quirky next door neighbor and boyfriend who turns out to be a spy. Despite all the excitement of being a spy and getting to work with Billy Ray Cyrus’s character Colton James, Bob wants to hang up his guns and commit to a serious relationship with his next door neighbor and girlfriend, Gillian (Amber Valletta). Her three children, however, have no desire to have a new dad in their lives. In an attempt to work things out with the kids, Bob offers to watch over the kids while Gillian rushes off to a family emergency. Watching these kids may be the toughest thing he will ever have to do. As he tries to figure out how to be a parent, his past life as a spy soon catches up to him and puts both him and the children in danger.

As to be expected out of a Jackie Chan movie, there is a lot of great slap-stick Martial Arts with an array of different techniques and weapons. At one point, Jackie even uses a common bike to perform a series of almost mistakes that batter down the bad guy. The children have some great moves too, picking up a few things here and there with the help of Jackie.

The chemistry in the movie between Jackie and the children is wonderful. Chan really has a knack for connecting with the younger generation and finding a way to bond that is as endearing on screen as watching young children with cute animals. The same cannot be said for the supposed love interest and the bond between Gillian and Bob. Granted, this is portrayed as a family movie but there are many examples of comedic families where the link between the parents work... this isn't one of them.

This movie also put an interesting twist to the new family mix. We discover as the movie progresses that the reason the kids are so against Bob is because they are hoping their real father, who has abandoned them, returns. To further complicate matters, Gillian's oldest turns out to not actually be her daughter but her ex's daughter that he's also left behind. In a touching rooftop scene, Bob and the daughter, Farren (Madeline Carroll), find a connection that brings them closer together to break the bonds.

Perhaps the best part of the movie, beyond Jackie Chan's great acrobatic abilities, are all the gadgets. Being a Bond fan, it was wonderful to see the gadgets, like a pen flame thrower, being used in very different ways. Being a mother, there have been many times I would have loved to have had Bob's knack for getting the kids dressed for bed or his torch he uses to insta-cook the breakfast. And how many times have we not wanted a pen lasso to pull the little ones back as they run off or real "eyes" behind our in the form of hidden cameras and listening devices?

If you're looking for a silly movie to kill an afternoon or just kick back and get a few laughs, this might be a movie for you.

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