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Spy Next Door, The


Stars: Jackie Chan, Amber Valetta, Madeline Carroll, Will Shadley, Alina Foley, Billy Ray Cyrus, George Lopez, Katherine Boecher

Director: Brian Levant

Sooner or later, it seems, most action heroes get a yen to act with kids. Schwarzenegger brought it off pretty well with Kindergarten Cop, while Hulk Hogan came a disastrous cropper with Mr Nanny. This Jackie Chan caper falls somewhere between the two.

It's a pity the villains had to be quite so comic, but the action is often fun, and Chan remains an engaging screen presence. The kids, however, aren't terribly good by today's demanding standards, and Billy Ray Cyrus offers further evidence that his Golden Raspberry as worst supporting actor for Hannah Montana was no mere flash in the pan.

Chan plays a Chinese agent on loan to the CIA who falls for the woman next door (Amber Valetta), whose three kids all hate him and think he's some kind of nerd. Naturally, he gets landed with having to look after them while trying at the same time to cope with a group of Russian agents who are after an invention that involves a 'formula for a growth bacteria hybrid that evaporates oil' - giving Russia's oil mastery of the world.

It's really not that bad, but you shouldn't expect a rousing night out. The outtakes at the end are particularly redundant.

David Quinlan

USA 2009. UK Distributor: Momentum. Technicolor.
92 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: U.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 16 Mar 2010