Outside of the “Guardians of the Galaxy”/”Avengers” films, Dave Bautista has starred in some hot garbage recently, most recently with 2019’s “Stuber”.
Bautista can be a very funny guy, but he needs to be cast in the right roles, and he needs a strong script. And I’m not yet sure he can hold his own as a film’s lead.
2020’s “My Spy”, which was originally slated to premier in theaters, is the closest thing I’ve seen to 2005’s “The Pacifier,” which stars Vin Diesel as a Navy SEAL agent who goes on a wacky mission that sees him taking care of children who recently lost their father, and in the process, he learns the meaning of family, and being a dad. “My Spy” sees Bautista play an ex-Special Forces soldier named JJ who has been promoted to the CIA, who gets assigned to a wacky mission that sees him cross paths with a little girl named Sophie (Chloe Coleman), who recently lost her father, and in the process, he learns the true meaning of family.
I will say that Bautista is a whole lot more likeable than Diesel was in “The Pacifier,” mostly because he has a naturally charming screen presence. But this can be to his detriment. Bautista feels a little too friendly to be former special forces, and it doesn’t help that he’s paired up with the even more out-of-place Kristen Schaal, who plays his partner.
Schaal is a very funny woman, but someone more along the lines of Tawny Newsome, who can pass both as a serious and comedic actress, would’ve fit better in this film. Schaal isn’t given much to work with, and is solely there to provide technical support for JJ, and to deliver unfunny over-the-top reactions to the hijinks JJ gets into. She doesn’t add anything of substance to the film, and could’ve easily been written out.
Greg Bryk plays the film’s villain: Sophie’s criminal Uncle Victor, who wants to allow terrorists to make a mini-nuke. He has about as much depth to him as John Connor in “Terminator: Genisys,” which is, not at all.
Parisa Fitz-Henley plays Sophie’s mom, and it feels like she’s barely in this. She eventually becomes JJ’s love interest, and yeah, the romance comes out of nowhere. It tries even less than “The Pacifier.”
The script doesn’t know what to do with Fitz-Henley, and it seems neither did director Peter Segal, who, despite being a veteran director who has been in the industry for over 25 years and who has directed 14 pictures, has never directed a film that has cracked a 60 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Segal’s filmography should tell you everything you need to know about “My Spy.” He started his career by making two bad sequels to popular franchises (his debut film was the third “Naked Gun” film, and he later directed the second “Nutty Professor” movie), and has directed three Adam Sandler comedies (“Anger Management”, “50 First Dates”, and “The Longest Yard”). He’s known for making terrible comedies with big-name actors, and “My Spy” is just another one of them.
“My Spy” is an OK children’s film that might hold a child’s attention for an hour or two. And if all you want out of this is something to keep your kid occupied for a little while, this film is not a bad choice, but only if you’re already paying for Amazon Prime.
Streaming is the perfect place for a film like this. It’s nowhere near worth the price of $10-$20 admission at an average movie theater, and I’m glad that Amazon decided to forgo a theatrical release in light of COVID-19, because I honestly believe that this film doesn’t deserve one.
If you want to watch a better film with a similar premise, I strongly recommend watching “The Pacifier.”
“My Spy” gets a 4/10