My Spy is another movie that was caught up in the pandemic shuffle of 2020. But not just the pandemic shuffle. The movie had multiple studio-driven schedule shifts as well. In fact, My Spy was first planned for a theatrical release in August of 2019. Although the film did get its theatrical bow in other countries, the delays in the US resulted in the film getting purchased by Amazon Studios for streaming on Amazon Prime. Going direct-to-streaming is probably for the best. This is one that parents should watch before the kids.
JJ (Dave Bautista) is a former special forces soldier turned CIA operative. After screwing up his first mission he’s sent to Chicago with tech operator Bobbi (Kristen Schaal). They’re there to surveil the sister-in-law and niece of an illegal arms dealer. When 9-year-old Sophie (Chloe Coleman) blows his cover, she agrees to keep his secret if he teaches her how to become a spy.
My Spy reminds me a lot of the cheesy spy movies for kids from the 80s and 90s. It has a cute kid, an action hero, and plenty of comedy and adventure. There’s just one big difference: this movie has a lot of bad language. I don’t typically care about cursing in a film, and even I was saying, “Man, there’s a lot of profanity in this movie.” The reason that’s an issue? This movie is perfect for the 8-13-year-old crowd. Sophie is 9, at a new school, and living with her over-worked single mother. These are all themes perfect for that cohort. Throw in the four-letter words and appropriateness becomes a lot trickier.
As if the profanity wasn’t enough of a problem, we also have a fair amount of violence and weapons. My Spy isn’t a bloody film, but it has multiple extended gun battles, physical fights, and one scene where someone is stabbed in the stomach.
Setting aside the appropriateness for the target audience, I actually thought My Spy was pretty funny. Not a clever sort of funny, but the “deep down I have the sense of humor of a 12-year-old” sort of funny. I’m pretty sure Bautista is aware of his limitations as an actor, and this movie fits comfortably in his wheelhouse. Coleman is adorable, and she manages to take on the role of sassy Sophie, a character who could easily read as overly precocious to the point of being obnoxious, with depth and charm.
Is this what you should be watching for your next family movie night? Umm…maybe? Parents should definitely give this one a watch first, just to make sure they’re comfortable with it for their kids. And if you are comfortable with the language and violence (and let’s face it, your kids have probably seen and heard worse), you can stream My Spy now on Amazon Prime.
About My Spy
A hardened CIA operative finds himself at the mercy of a precocious 9-year-old girl, having been sent undercover to surveil her family.