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The Spy Next Door Review Critics


Dave White Profile

A family movie to punish the whole family. Read full review


Jen Yamato Profile

Possibly the worst Jackie Chan film ever made. Read full review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 2.0

    out of 100

    Generally unfavorable reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 38

    out of 100

    USA Today Claudia Puig

    Chan has more chemistry with the kids than with Valletta, but the story is so insipid that it's likely to only sadden fans of the martial-arts icon and offer little enjoyment to its young audience.

    Read Full Review

  • 38

    out of 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    Everybody knew to wait for the outtakes during the closing credits, because you'd see him miss a fire escape or land wrong in the truck going under the bridge. Now the outtakes involve his use of the English language.

    Read Full Review

  • 38

    out of 100

    Chicago Tribune Michael Phillips

    This is “True Lies” without the striptease or the Arab-maiming.

    Read Full Review

  • 50

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter

    Most of The Spy Next Door is pretty tired stuff from "Pacifier"-style slapstick to comic relief delivered by, of all people, erstwhile country star Billy Ray Cyrus.

    Read Full Review

  • See all The Spy Next Door reviews at

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

OK for kids 8+

Jackie Chan family flick high on stunts but low on laughs.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this Jackie Chan spy comedy is a moderately action-packed choice for families. Several sequences involve gun-toting Russian criminals, but aside from a character who gets some bruises, there's no bloodshed in the fight scenes. Since this is a family movie, the villains are often knocked out humorously with things like a slammed door or a dropped appliance. There's no iffy language besides insults like "idiot," "stupid," and so on (though even those words aren't exactly something you want your 8-year-olds saying to their friends...), and the "sexy" stuff is limited to a couple of tame kisses and hugs between Chan and Amber Valletta, as well as some slightly off-putting (but mild) flirting between an older teenage spy and a 13-year-old character and a few risque lines from a younger boy. Overall, this is an age-appropriate (if not particularly funny) option for families with tweens and up.

  • Families can talk about the movie's messages about honesty and family relationships. What does Bob mean when he tells Farren that family isn't about "blood" but "love"?
  • The movie's violence is pretty mild, but there are still several characters that use guns. Is this OK for a family movie?
  • Is Jackie Chan believable as a romantic lead? Why or why not?
  • How are the Russian villains portrayed? Are Russians still considered a threat to America?

The good stuff
  • message true3

    Messages: One important message that the movie conveys is that family isn't just "blood," but also the people you love and who love you. Other take-aways include the importance of honesty in family relationships and how you shouldn't judge someone solely by the way they dress or what they do for a living -- people are complicated and can surprise you.

  • rolemodels true2

    Role models: Bob is a loyal, generous man with well-honed instincts and an unwavering desire to do the right thing. Gillian is a loving single mother who puts her children's needs first. On the downside, the Russian villains are portrayed in somewhat broad stereotypes.

What to watch for
  • violence false2

    Violence: Several action sequences, a few with gun-wielding Russian villains. But even during a hostage situation, the threat of real harm is virtually non-existent. Some of the bad guys point guns and act menacingly, but no blood is spilled, and no one is seriously hurt.

  • sex false3

    Sex: Bob and Gillian exchange a couple of embraces and tame kisses. Farren flirts with a much older teenager and occasionally tries to wear inappropriate clothes to school. A Russian criminal wears tight, cleavage-bearing clothes. A young boy (Ian) says he watched the Playboy channel in hi-def (and then claims to have spent time at the Playboy Mansion). He also uses a risque pick-up line on an older girl ("If I told you you had a beautiful body, would you hold it against me?").

  • language false2

    Language: Mostly insults: "stupid," "idiot," "loser," "hillbilly," and the like.

  • consumerism false2

    Consumerism: Apple is represented with iMac and iPod.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false0

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Not an issue