Review: The Spy Next Door Blu-ray

The Spy Next Door Blu-ray boxSTUDIO: Lionsgate | DIRECTOR: Brian Levant | CAST: Jackie Chan, Amber Valletta, George Lopez
RELEASE DATE: 5/18/2010 | PRICE: DVD $29.95, Blu-ray/DVD Combo $39.99
BONUSES: blooper reel, two featurettes
SPECS: PG | 95 min. | family comedy | 1.78:1 | 5.1 DTS-HD audio | English and Spanish subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5 dishes): Movie | Audio | Video | Extras | Overall

The Spy Next Door movie scene with Jackie Chan and Alina FoleyThe premise of The Spy Next Door is nothing new. A fish-out-of-water story, the movie stars Jackie Chan as a Chinese spy (on loan to the CIA) who looks after his girlfriend’s children and discovers that spy work is much more difficult than getting three kids ready for school. Meanwhile, baddies chase after them, and the babysitter must make use of his best spy skills.

But despite the unoriginal story, this comedy will appeal to parents who like lots of non-bloody action and cute kids in their family entertainment.

The recipient of the Dove Family Seal of Approval, The Spy Next Door is squarely in the family movie category. The jokes are cute but unoffensive, the action is plentiful and choreographed, and the bad guys are cartoonish but fun.

Jackie Chan is in his usual good form as a bad ass nice guy, and he works well with his three young co-stars. The youngsters — Madeline Carroll (Santa Claus 3: The Escape Clause), Will Shadley (Chowder) and Alina Foley (Days of Our Lives) — are sweet and fun as they cause havoc for Chan. Amber Valletta (Gamer) is also fine as their mother.

The cast also includes George Lopez and Billy Ray Cyrus, who aren’t too convincing as CIA operatives, but each have their fans who won’t care.

Lionsgate‘s Blu-ray/DVD combo pack comes with a blooper reel and two featurettes, but the blooper reel repeats the same footage that is shown during the movie’s closing credits.

The two featurettes are quick and fun enough, the best being “Jackie Chan: Stunt Master and Mentor.” In it, Chan fans can learn more about their favorite action star, for example, that he’s nice enough to bus tables at a restaurant so the eatery staff aren’t inconvenienced. It’s obvious from the interviews that Chan has the admiration of his fellow cast members.

In the other featurette, “Adventures in Acting With the Kids From The Spy Next Door,” the adorable Alina Foley steals the show. In the featurette, baddie actress Katherine Boecher interviews Foley, Madeline Carroll and Will Shadley about their acting careers. It’s most effective when they’re having fun rather than getting serious about the business of acting, but overall, it provides enough laughs.

 

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About S. Clark

Sam Clark is the former Managing Editor/Online Editor of Video Business magazine. With 19 years experience in journalism, 12 in the home entertainment industry, Sam has been hooked on movies on since she saw E.T. then stared into the sky waiting to meet her own friendly alien. Thanks to her husband’s shared love of movies, Sam reviews Blu-ray discs in a true home theater, with a 118-inch screen, projector and cushy recliners with cup holders.