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Friday, 29 December 2017

Retro Review: I Spy (2002)

I Spy
Cast: Eddie Murphy, Owen Wilson, Famke Janssen, Malcolm McDowell
Genre: Spy Comedy
Worldwide Box Office Gross: almost $60 million  

Plot: A professional athlete has to help a U.S government agent recover a missing jet

'I Spy With My Little Eye, This Spy Comedy Is A Lie'

A how-not-to on doing a Buddy Cop spy comedy, I Spy falters as a comedy and the humour and laughs are not good at all and is a spy-like action film that lacks genuine suspense, as well as good action sequences. The second collaboration involving director Betty Thomas & star Eddie Murphy, following on from the just as woeful remake of 1998's Dr Doolittle, I Spy sees a spy played by Owen Wilson teaming up with a boxing champion played by Eddie Murphy to capture one of the world's biggest arms dealers. The film is based on a classic TV show starring Bill Cosby & one which I haven't seen. It was also the third Eddie Murphy film to tank at the box office, following on from duds in Showtime with Robert De Niro and The Adventures of Pluto Nash, which were all released in the same year as I Spy

With the mismatched Eddie Murphy as the so-called wise guy and Owen Wilson as the straight man, the pairing fails to convince as a partnership that doesn't add up & Murphy's schtick lost its magic during the 2000s, whilst Famke Janssen as one of the agents fails to make any type of impression. Whereas Murphy tries to be funny and lighten up the mood and fails, Wilson, on the other hand, and his character didn't attempt to be amusing, even in the straight man role. The story is just stale, with an execution that feels utterly tired and strung out that I became bored out of my mind. For a spy movie, there is no mystery or suspense, whatsoever. The whole film is utterly generic that doesn't attempt to do anything daring or go outside of the box, but rather play things too safe. I didn't laugh once, as I found it utterly joyless. 

And any film that has Owen Wilson as an overly competent action hero/spy loses several points.

If a film has six or more writers penning the script, that spells trouble for the film. The performances look like as though the actors are coasting through the material whilst coming across as disinterested and thus, they have little to no interest making an effort. The movie is utterly humourless and all attempts at comedy fall on deaf ears at every given opportunity.

Final Verdict:

Utterly unmemorable and dismal, if you are on the lookout for a spy comedy, go for 2015's Spy directed by Paul Feig and skip this one, completely.


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