Dave's Rating:


A family movie to punish the whole family.

Who's In It: Jackie Chan, George Lopez, Billy Ray Cyrus, Amber Valletta

The Basics: Mom has to leave town to go care for a sick relative. That leaves Mom's boyfriend, Jackie "The Spy Next Door" Chan, in charge of managing the behavior of three horrible brats. But then one of the rotten children downloads a top-secret file and the once-retired Spy Next Door has to spring into action to fight off a descending horde of Russian bad guys (who all seem like they'd really rather be hunting "Moose and Squirrel") and other people with guns, none of whom ever shoot because it's a children's film.

What's The Deal: When this movie was called Old Dogs, it starred John Travolta and Robin Williams and seethed with contempt for humanity. Now that it stars Jackie Chan and is more squarely aimed at little kids with no ability to discern between good and bad films, it's less wicked and more goofy. It's also just as bad and boring and lazy and witless and unfunny and insulting to everyone it touches.

Who's To Blame: Chan. There was no good reason for him to sign on for empty product like this. He's one of the top box office stars in the world, so it's not like he needs whatever bland, featureless hack work that passes his way. It's kind of a maddening mystery, explainable only as guesses: he can't trust his agent, he suffers from a complete lack of decision-making skills, he's greedy or he's indifferent to the quality of a script he's given. And for someone who's made some of the coolest martial arts films of the past 25 years, it's gross to watch him participate in the deflation of his own screen persona.

Who Else Is To Blame: Billy Ray Cyrus's hair. I know that technically, hair is not a person. But this hair is so evil that it must have the ability to think for itself and control the people who come into contact with it. Otherwise, this overly fussy woman's coif sitting on top of a man--who was known as King of All Dude Mullets back in the early '90s--would be shaved off its owner's head while he slept by someone who cares for his well-being. But clearly no one, not even people in his own family, not even his more-famous daughter, will tell him the truth about what its doing to him. Every glimpse of this hair is a fresh vision of Hell.

To Get To The One Funny Bit, You Have To Wait Until The End Credits: In older Jackie Chan movies, the final credits were where you'd get to see him being hilariously injured while doing all his own stunts. Now that those stunts are mostly, if not fully, done by other people (even the ad campaign shows him suspended on wires), all you get is bloopers of Chan butchering his second language. Best line, after multiple dialogue screw-ups: "I HATE ENGLISH!"


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