Spy Next Door, The

MPAA Rating: PG

Entertainment: +2

Content: +2

Main actors: Jackie Chan, Amber Valleta, Madeline Carroll, Will Shadley and Alina Foley. Directed by Brian Levant.

FILM SYNOPSIS: Action star Jackie Chan plays CIA spy Bob Ho, a mild-mannered middle aged bachelor in love with Gillian (Amber Valleta), the pretty divorcee next door who has three very active children. When Gillian has to leave town, Bob offers to babysit the kids, hoping he can win their respect. He discovers chasing Russian spies is less challenging than chasing the kids. All kinds of mayhem breaks out at home just as Bob is called into action to thwart a sinister Russian plot.

Young children will find the action scenes in The Spy Next Door a fun experience, but it’s not likely the predictable plot will be a hit with more sophisticated audiences. If you like the Home Alone movies, you may enjoy The Spy Next Door.

PREVIEW REVIEW: Jackie Chan action scenes of death-defying stunts, smashed windows, kicks and fights never produce blood or broken bones. They may be nothing compared to some of the video games so popular with youngsters, but just how has violence become a main source of children’s entertainment? At what point does onscreen violence lure children into copying what they see as harmless fun? Another disturbing aspect of this film is the “comical” rebellious, disrespectful behavior of Gillian’s three children. Eventually, Bob teaches them to respect and value their family and others. Gillian’s parenting style lacks any form of discipline and seems to be amused by her children’s sassy attitude.

On the plus side, Jackie Chan’s Bob Ho really could be the guy next door always willing to help his neighbor. He’s “Mr. Nice Guy” without any hidden agenda, except that he is an undercover international spy. His dream is to settle down in suburbia with a wife and kids. Parents can be relieved to know there is no foul language of any kind, and although Bob and Gillian show affection for each other, there is no sex or suggestive conversation.

Preview Reviewer: Mary Draughon

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: None

Obscene Language: None

Profanity: None

Violence: Action, martial arts stunts along with much property damage, fighting, gun threats; no blood or serious injuries.

Sex: None

Nudity: None

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: None

Drugs: None

Other: Rowdy kids raise havoc in an undisciplined household; the values of respect and obedience slowly replace disrespect

Running Time: 90 minutes
Intended Audience: Ages 12 and under

Click HERE for a PRINTER-FRIENDLY version of this review.