Spy missions for the CIA may be difficult and dangerous, but they're nothing compared to the challenges of raising a family. Bob Ho (Jackie Chan) is a Chinese spy on loan to the CIA, but to Gillian (Amber Valletta) and her kids Farren (Madeline Carroll), Ian (Will Shadley), and Nora (Alina Foley), he's just a neighbor and pen salesman. Gillian and Bob are attracted to one another, and Bob is ready to tell Gillian what he really does for a living. He's prepared to retire from his career in espionage so they can take their relationship to the next level. Unfortunately for Bob, Gillian's kids are less than impressed with their nerdy neighbor, and that means his relationship with Gillian can't move forward. When Gillian has to leave town suddenly, Bob volunteers to take care of the children in hopes of "making them" like him. Ian inadvertently downloads a secret file from Bob's computer, and suddenly the Russian terrorist Poldark (Magnus Sheving) is bent on destroying Bob and the children. As if Bob weren't having enough trouble negotiating the daily duties of making the children's breakfast, getting them to school, and keeping track of young Nora in the local mall, he unexpectedly discovers that one of his CIA coworkers is working for the Russians (George Lopez and Billy Ray Cyrus play Bob's colleagues). Bob finds himself alone in the fight of a lifetime as he battles to keep the children safe from the violent Russian and his associates. The Spy Next Door
is full of action-packed martial arts scenes that highlight Jackie Chan's prowess and will inspire much mock fighting and begging for lessons by school-age children, but it's also a funny take on the very real difficulties of dating and parenting that adults will readily relate to. While there is a fair amount of fighting in the film, it is tastefully rendered and won't upset most children ages 7 and older. --Tami Horiuchi
Stills from The Spy Next Door (Click for larger image)
THE SPY NEXT DOOR stars Jackie Chan as Bob Ho, an undercover CIA superspy who decides to give up his career in espionage to settle down with his next-door neighbor and girlfriend, Gillian (Amber Valletta). But Bob has one more mission to complete before Gillian agrees to marry him: winning over her three opinionated kids. When Gillian suddenly has to leave town, Bob volunteers to babysit the children so he can earn their approval. But when one of the kids mistakenly downloads a top-secret formula from his computer, Bob’s archenemy, a Russian terrorist, moves in for the attack, forcing Bob to juggle the roles of spy and prospective stepfather in the most challenging mission of his career!