I Spy

"Unbearable"

I Spy Review


It's been 20 years since "48 Hrs." made Eddie Murphy a movie star and the man hasn't aged a day. But his showboating wise-cracker stock persona sure is getting old.

Unfurling that same mustachioed smirk he's worn in all his worst movies, Murphy strikes out again in "I-Spy," an ill-conceived, utterly vacuous, assembly-line, buddy action-comedy slapped together from paltry cloak-and-dagger scraps, off-the-shelf gimmicks and 30-year-old special effects.

Murphy plays a rich, egotistical professional boxer who is paired with a hapless secret agent (the winkingly ironic Owen Wilson, "Behind Enemy Lines") under the flimsiest of "wouldn't it be funny if" pretenses. The entire concept behind the film seems to consist of dropping these two into shopworn set pieces (a car chase, a shoot-out) and letting them ad-lib, ad nauseam.

The meager, pathetically contrived Bond-spawn plot (retrieve a stolen prototype stealth fighter from a Nehru-jacketed multimillionaire bad guy) takes a back seat to scene after scene after scene of this unscripted, character-lacking, autopilot schtick. What's worse, director Betty Thomas ("28 Days," Murphy's "Dr. Dolittle"), doesn't seem to realize how badly mismatched these actors are.

Murphy and Wilson (who has been an understated laugh-riot in "The Royal Tenenbaums" and other films he co-wrote with director Wes Anderson) are talented comedic actors with often unfortunate taste in scripts, and both are scraping bottom here while trying to save face at the same time. As a result, their scenes together play as if each of them were doing his own comedy routine, either unaware or uninterested that the other one is in the room.

"I-Spy" is loosely spun off from the 1960s TV comedy-adventure of the same name, which starred Robert Culp and Bill Cosby as the spy and the professional tennis player who provided his globetrotting cover. But this picture has little in common with its inspiration other than the ebony-and-ivory pairing of its leads and the lack of quality special effects. Big chunks of this picture look as if they were shot on the soundstage at a college TV station -- including the laughably bad rear-projection F/X car chases.

The movie's explosions appear as flat. Its gunfights are literally scattershot. Its stunt scenes are riddled with continuity problems (one second they're inside a building, the next their on the roof without explanation). And all the while, Murphy and Wilson are yappity-yap-yapping, trying desperately (and failing spectacularly) to squeeze any kind of laugh out of each lifeless episode -- be it the hackneyed gadget briefing scene, the hackneyed rooftop fight scene or the hackneyed attempt to bed the inevitable double-agent babe (Famke Janssen, taking a big step down from her Bond girl days).

"I-Spy" is more than just a misfire. It's rotten from concept to casting to directing to editing to ad campaign. If the movie's two stars didn't have their own resilient charms to serve as haz-mat suits against the cesspool they're swimming in (almost literally -- the movie's longest ad-lib scene takes place in a Budapest sewer), this unbelievable bomb could be a career-killer.

And with "Showtime" and "The Adventures of Pluto Nash" already putting a stink on Murphy this year, his charm may not be enough.



I Spy

Facts and Figures

Run time: 97 mins

In Theaters: Friday 1st November 2002

Box Office Worldwide: $33.6M

Budget: $70M

Distributed by: LionsGate Entertainment

Production compaines: Colombia Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 0.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 57%
Fresh: 4 Rotten: 3

IMDB: 5.4 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Kelly Robinson, as Alexander Scott, as Rachel, Keith Dallas as Lunchbox, as Gundars, Tate Taylor as Lieutenant Percy

Also starring:

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

The BFG Movie Review

The BFG Movie Review

For his adaptation of the Roald Dahl classic, Steven Spielberg reunited with screenwriter Melissa Mathison,...

Finding Dory Movie Review

Finding Dory Movie Review

It's been 13 years since the release of the Disney/Pixar hit Finding Nemo, and filmmaker...

Star Trek Beyond Movie Review

Star Trek Beyond Movie Review

This is where the Star Trek franchise officially shifts from thoughtful drama into thunderous action....

Ice Age: Collision Course Movie Review

Ice Age: Collision Course Movie Review

With its fifth feature-length adventure, this franchise continues its preposterous journey at full tilt. As...

Keanu Movie Review

Keanu Movie Review

An entertaining hybrid of satirical comedy and action thriller, this madcap adventure swerves wildly between...

Ghostbusters Movie Review

Ghostbusters Movie Review

It's been more than 30 years since the Ghostbusters first hit the big screen with...

Now You See Me 2 Movie Review

Now You See Me 2 Movie Review

While the original 2013 magical caper was a big hit, it's style-over-substance approach didn't exactly...

Advertisement
The Legend of Tarzan Movie Review

The Legend of Tarzan Movie Review

It's been nearly 30 years since the last live-action Tarzan movie, and yet it still...

Maggie's Plan Movie Review

Maggie's Plan Movie Review

A New York comedy with vivid characters and a contrived plot, this feels rather a...

Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie Movie Review

Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie Movie Review

Nearly 25 years after the sitcom debuted, Edina and Patsy arrive on the big screen...

Central Intelligence Movie Review

Central Intelligence Movie Review

After teaming up with Will Ferrell for Get Hard and Ice Cube for two Ride...

The Colony [Colonia] Movie Review

The Colony [Colonia] Movie Review

Based on a true story, this Chilean drama has a chilling edge to it that's...

Independence Day: Resurgence Movie Review

Independence Day: Resurgence Movie Review

Two decades is a long time to wait for a sequel, especially one starring much...

Elvis & Nixon Movie Review

Elvis & Nixon Movie Review

This movie is based on a real meeting between Elvis Presley and Richard Nixon in...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.