My Spy happened to be the last screening I went to in early March, before the coronavirus upended all our lives and, consequently, Hollywood’s theatrical release schedule. In retrospect, My Spy was just what the doctor may have ordered: relatively mindless escapist fun in advance of toilet paper hoarding, sanitizer sticker shock, and mandated #SocialDistancing. My Spy follows the story of a big and burly CIA operative (Dave Bautista, Guardians of the Galaxy) who finds himself at the mercy of a precocious 9-year-old girl (Chloe Coleman, “Big Little Lies”) who threatens to blow his cover unless he teaches her the tricks of his trade. Picture just about any action comedy with the likes of Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, John Cena or Arnold Schwarzenegger paired with a clever kid, and you’ll know what you’re in for with My Spy. A porous plot held together with sweet, corny, funny and poignant moments, infused with a solid dose of mayhem perpetrated by kids and adults.
As the plot unfolds, JJ (Bautista) is a loner agent with a chip on his shoulder and an obvious disregard for CIA protocol. To teach him a lesson, JJ’s boss (Ken Jeong) sends him and an awestruck tech-support analyst (Kristen Schaal) to Chicago to conduct routine surveillance on the widow (Parisa Fitz-Henley) and kid of a guy who was involved in an international plot to build a nuclear weapon. The kid, Sophie (Coleman) manipulates JJ into breaking a cardinal rule of surveillance: don’t get involved with the people you’re supposed to be surveilling. Even if they are smart and cute.
The film was written by the sibling writing team of Jon and Erich Hoeber (Red) and directed by Peter Segal (Get Smart). If you keep your expectations in check, you won’t be disappointed. My Spy is formulaic fluff with action, heart and humor. In March, it was a much-needed spoonful of sugar on top of the bitter pills of politics and pandemics. Today… the same holds true.
My Spy is available exclusively on Amazon Prime Video starting June 26.