Spy Next Door: Chan’s new comedy too Unbelievable

** 1/2

Happy new year, everyone! I’ve been busy with high school and homework, so I haven’t reviewed a film in a while, but I saw some good films. I saw “Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel,” the new supercharged “Sherlock Holmes”, and the special effects-filled “Avatar.” Good films to end 2009. Unfortunately, 2010’s movie year did not start so well. The first film of the year for me is “The Spy Next Door,” a comedy that only kids will enjoy. As for how adults and teens will like it, that’s another story.

Bob Ho (action star Jackie Chan) is a Chinese spy on loan to the CIA. He has just completed his last assignment, taking down the evil Russian Poldark, whose intentions were to drain the oil out of the entire world. With this done, Bob looks forward to settling down with his girlfriend Gillian. The only hitch is her kids hate Bob and think he is just the pencil-selling nerd next door.

Bob’s friends from the CIA, Colt (Singer Billy Ray Cyrus, Hannah Montana), and Glaze (George Lopez) inform him that Poldark has escaped thanks to a predictable mole in the agency. He is hiding out with his wicked assistant Creel, bent on getting revenge on Bob. When Gillian’s father falls ill, she must leave, putting Bob in charge of the kids for a week. It soon leads to the kids, predictably waging “war” on Bob by various methods. It’s all slapstick until Poldark finds out where Bob is, and therefore goes to the suburbs to kill him. Mwahahaha! Bob must then tell the kids he is a spy, and the rest of the film is basically Bob and the kids punching and kicking the bad guys, as it is in generally all the Jackie Chan films.

This movie was all the way designed for kids. The studio uses actors that kids recognize from other films/TV shows to draw them in. I heard a father ask his son where Cyrus was from and the kid responded “That’s the Hannah Montana dad.”

The chemistry between Bob and Gillian is so low, that it’s almost totally unbelievable that these two have anything other than a neighborly relationship: certainly not marrying, which is, of course, how the film ends. I did not like George Lopez in this role because he wasn’t funny. I also thought Justin Long might have done a better job than Billy Ray Cyrus did as Colt.

I generally like Jackie Chan movies, as they are usually filled with enough action, comedy, and enough of a lot to keep a story interesting. Some of Chan’s films include “Shanghai Knights,” “Shanghai Noon,” and the Rush Hour trilogy, all filled with great actors, interesting plots, and enough action and comedy to keep people entertained. What I’ve noticed is when film companies advertise their movies with having actors from children’s TV shows and movies; It will be entertaining only for the kids. Chan’s had a bad film or two, (“The Medallion”) but this is the worst Chan flick I have ever seen.

Rated PG for action and rude humor. No profanity was present, which was a nice change.