The Spy Next Door (2 stars)

The Spy Next Door

(PG) 94min

Some years after Arnold Schwarzenegger in Kindergarten Cop and Vin Diesel in The Pacifier, Jackie Chan is the latest action star seeking to reinvent himself for a younger generation by portraying himself as a put-upon babysitter to bratty kids.

At least Chan’s fans should enjoy the first five minutes of uber-hack Brian Levant’s patronising comedy-thriller, which opens with a montage of fabulous stunt-work from Chan’s earlier work. Thereafter, Chan struggles gamely to inject any reality into a glib scenario in which, as secret agent Bob Ho, he attempts to win the heart of a pretty neighbour Gillian (Amber Valetta) and her unattractively smart-mouthed brood of tykes, who are all blissfully unaware of Chan’s day job.

As the outwardly nerdy Ho, Chan is clearly game for a laugh, and takes his lumps gamely in a series of slapstick pratfalls, even sweetly singing the youngest kid to sleep with a Chinese lullaby. But a subplot about Russia attempting to seize control of the world’s oil market keeps interrupting any emotional involvement, leaving Chan with little to offer but a set of arthritic, clearly wire-work assisted stunts, impressive only because they’re completed by a man pushing sixty.

General release from Fri 19 Mar.


The Spy Next Door

  • 2 stars
  • 2010
  • US
  • 1h 34min
  • PG
  • Directed by: Brian Levant
  • Cast: Jackie Chan, Amber Valletta, Billy Ray Cyrus, George Lopez, Magnús Scheving, with Madeline Carroll

Chan follows in the footsteps of Arnold Schwarzenegger in 'Kindergarten Cop' and Vin Diesel in 'The Pacifier' in a role as a put-upon babysitter to bratty kids. After an opening sequence of fabulous stunt-work from Chan's earlier work, the action hero struggles gamely to inject any reality into this patronising…