My Spy (2020): Dumped Onto Amazon? No Kidding.

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“My Spy…” That is a name I have been waiting to say for the LONGEST TIME. Nevertheless, “My Spy” is directed by Peter Segal (Grudge Match, 50 First Dates) and stars Dave Bautista (Guardians of the Galaxy, Stuber), Chloe Coleman (Big Little Lies, Transparent), Kristen Schaal (Bob’s Burgers, Gravity Falls), Ken Jeong (The Masked Singer, The Hangover), and Parisa Fitz-Henley (Jessica Jones, Midnight, Texas). This film is about a CIA operative who is on a mission alongside a fanatic/newbie in Chicago, who is supposed watch over a particular family’s apartment, only to run into a nine year old girl who lives in said apartment. As this happens, the CIA operative is now at the mercy of this nine year old who can potentially affect the entire mission.

If you wonder why I started this review the way I just did, here’s some context. I have waited FOREVER to talk about “My Spy.” Not because I knew about it for a long time and was finally getting to see it. Not because I was looking forward to it. Hey, this is no “Star Wars.” Before the COVID-19 craze happened, prior to when it was announced that this film would be going straight to Amazon’s Prime Video after multiple delays in the United States, I was invited by STX Screenings, which is an outlet based on the studio responsible for this film, to see “My Spy” a couple towns away from me. So I got on a train. Remember trains? Those were so much fun. I headed on over, saw the movie, but I knew one thing was for sure. I could not talk about it. That is unless I turned Scene Before into an Australian outlet, because this film already released in Australia months ago. Without saying much about the film, I did not hate myself, but it didn’t feel buzzworthy.

By the way, THIS WAS IN JANUARY. And it’s not like I went to a big festival or something or a test screening. No! This was a finished product! This was a screening meant to promote the film, get people to think about it, and that sort of thing! It was a simple free screening that just so happened to take place on a Saturday in January at 10AM! They really wanted families for this thing, didn’t they?

But guess what? I’m a Prime member, so I took the opportunity to watch this film again. After all, a lot can change on a second viewing, and I did forgot a lot about this movie over the last five months.

Once again, I did not completely hate myself for watching “My Spy.” But to call it Shakespeare is laughable.

Oooh! Here’s a hashtag! #ThisAgedWell.

Now don’t think I’m nagging on Dave Bautista, I love his work and he often comes off as one of the most down to earth celebrities working today. He doesn’t let the attention and fame get to his head, and he seems like an all around fun guy. I also love his passion for the film industry, those involved in said industry, and unlike some people, he is not afraid to project his opinion beyond the stratosphere (even if sometimes it might not work out in his favor). And I’ve seen him do good work. I think Bautista was a good pick to play Drax in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He had a solid screen presence during the beginning of “Blade Runner 2049” as Sapper. I even liked “Stuber!” It’s not a masterpiece, but… It has its moments. Well, Bautista’s performance in “Stuber” wasn’t his finest, but I liked the movie nevertheless. Here in “My Spy,” he looks the part from a physical standpoint, but the way the script translates onto the screen is weird at particular points where Bautista happens to speak.

Continuing on with what I just said, Dave Bautista DOES NOT give a career-damaging performance. At this point, I’m still excited to see him if there is a “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3,” which is seemingly in development at this point, so I can’t wait to see where that goes. However, when it comes to how his character is written. It’s very hit or miss. And the same can be said for some other moments of the screenplay as well.

While I did end up buying the mother/daughter relationship between Parisa Fitz-Henley and Chloe Coleman, there are a couple utterances of their lines and interactions where they didn’t feel like real people. Yes, one of the core objectives of a film is to stretch the truth and reality to a certain point, but there are one or two moments where it breaks the barrier and goes a little too far. I bought into the characters, but this is nevertheless how I felt as I witnessed said characters on screen. I also think the chemistry between Dave Bautista and Chloe Coleman is admirable, which does kind of end up being the heart of the film, so I gotta give credit to the casting department where it is due. Although, it is not like I haven’t seen this type of chemistry done better in the past. This film kind of reminded me of “The Game Plan” starring Dwayne Johnson. You know, that movie where he unexpectedly meets his own daughter. Although, that movie handles something better that this seems confused with, its identity.

While I often criticize Disney for its unwillingness in regards to pushing boundaries, their movie, “The Game Plan,” at least feels consistent. It always feels family-friendly, it always comes off as somewhat warm yet exciting, it projects a sense of clean fun throughout. Here, it feels kind of weird. Did they make this movie for young teenagers who wanna hear people drop a couple bombs? Did they make this for kids? Families? The movie starts off with a strategically laid out action scene that almost glorifies violence, but later on we get this family drama that turns out to be the heart of the movie. It feels like a PG-13 action movie in one moment, but for almost the full remainder of the runtime, it feels PG at best. I am willing to bet, that if this movie was PG, it MAYBE could have gotten away with as much violence as there is. Maybe if it was just toned down or edited with slight differences, it would have gotten the PG rating. If they took out a few naughty words, it would have gotten a PG rating. Do I want this movie to be PG? No. If you ask me, I am always for the dark route whenever possible. But I want this movie to have a tone that works, but it almost fails when it comes to having its own identity. It feels like a conglomeration of ideas that are randomly placed together to waste a little more than an hour and a half.

“My Spy” is a technically competent film. When it comes to aspects like editing, camerawork, and music, “My Spy” works. It’s not the greatest movie ever made. Far from it in fact, but it is confusingly laid out and doesn’t feel like it really knows what it is. The movie also tries to be a comedy, and there are moments where the comedy does land, but it also comes off as a little traditional, like I’ve seen it before. Bautista has a couple well-executed comedic moments as the movie goes on, but if you have seen a lot of movies, it is probably not going to stick the landing as perfectly as one would hope.

For those of you who don’t watch a lot of animated movies, one of the cliches from that realm of film is that there is a dance sequence of some sort. Now, “My Spy” is not animated, but this does honestly nearly, not COMPLETELY, but nearly come off, as a movie meant for kids. Much like the typical animated fare, “My Spy” has a dance sequence, but I will say the way they handled it here was not exactly annoying. It wasn’t completely exciting or exhilarating, but it felt like it had a noticeable purpose compared to some other movies (I’m looking at YOU, “Uncle Drew”). For a movie like this, seeing a dance sequence that actually worked and didn’t make me want to rip my hair off was sort of delightful.

In all seriousness though, “My Spy” is probably going to end up being one of the more forgettable movies of 2020. How do I know that? Because as I mentioned, I already saw the film in January and a lot of it already faded. It feels disposable, slightly typical, and doesn’t really offer anything spicy to the table. I think Chloe Coleman, who plays the young girl in this film, has a bright future ahead of her, but if she becomes successful, I don’t think “My Spy” will be the film I will end up remembering her for most.

In the end, “My Spy” is probably going to be watched once and then quickly left in the dust. The only thing I can say at this point is that if you are bored and you pay for Amazon Prime, watching this movie won’t exactly kill you. If it’s a family movie night, you can do better, but you can also do a lot worse. Now I saw this movie twice, and that’s because I wanted to refresh my memory on what happened in the film and how it presents itself. Was it worth the second watch for those reasons? Sure. But if we’re talking about entertainment value, there are superior options out there. I like the people in the movie, but the movie itself, not as great. I’m going to give “My Spy” a 5/10.

Thanks for reading this review! It is almost the end of June, so that means that we are getting closer to the day I release my review for Tom Cruise’s “Minority Report.” This is the conclusion to Scene Before’s Tom Cruise Month, which has been fun for me personally, as I do enjoy Tom Cruise as a professional. I have not seen “Minority Report” yet, but I assure you that I do have even just the slightest anticipation to talk about it. If you want to see more great content like this from Scene Before, please give the blog a follow! If you have proper account credentials, give this post a like! Also, check out the official Scene Before Facebook page! I want to know, did you see “My Spy?” What did you think about it? Or, since it’s relevant… Did you ever see the 2007 movie “The Game Plan?” Tell me your thoughts on that! Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!

CHECK OUT MY TOM CRUISE MONTH REVIEWS SO FAR:

OBLIVION (2013)

ALL THE RIGHT MOVES (1983)

DAYS OF THUNDER (1990)

TOP GUN (1986)

Second Act (2018): Jennifer Lopez Is Stunning, This Film Is the Opposite

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“Second Act” is directed by Peter Segal (50 First Dates, Grudge Match) and stars Jennifer Lopez (World of Dance, Maid in Manhattan), Leah Remini (King of Queens, The Exes), Vanessa Hudgens (High School Musical, Powerless), Treat Williams (127 Hours, A Streetcar Named Desire), and Milo Ventimiglia (This Is Us, Gilmore Girls). This film is about a girl who works in a big box store, ends up no longer working there, and decides to seek out another job opportunity. Having received less education than other people in particular and relying on street smarts as opposed to book smarts, Maya wants to prove to Madison Ave that she is worth something.

I got passes to an early screening of “Second Act.” The passes were used by a friend and I as we both individually trekked to the movie theater. For those of you who don’t attend advance screenings, I’ll just have you know that these passes, like others, happen to be free for those who can get their hands on them. Not that you need to know, but I’m an AMC Stubs member. I also just had a birthday in November, which meant I got to get a free large popcorn. That was the best part of this whole experience, not just because I saved tons of money, but also because “Second Act” is a disposable mess. 2018 is a very positive year in film for me, but it has some stinkers in there, and this is certainly one of them.

“Second Act” is a film about believing in yourself, no matter where you stand in society. While that may be a positive thing, one thing that is also positive is the amount of negativity I’ve had going through my mind just having to sit through this film. The release date for “Second Act” is December 21st. It honestly feels like a January movie. The only thing that seems to save it is that it seems to be targeting a different audience than all the award film junkies and big budget films. “Second Act” reminded me of a Lifetime movie without commercials. And it doesn’t surprise me that my mother wants to see this film at some point. Having seen the film, she MIGHT like it. I don’t know if she’ll remember it afterwards, but she might enjoy herself for almost a couple of hours.

How forgettable is this movie? I probably happen to be cheating with this statement because I have the ability to work on this movie review for a month, but the comedy was not only unmemorable, it was some of the stalest material I’ve suffered through all year! It’s not “Life of the Party” bad, but the humor was repetitive, awkward, and it is all s*it I’ve heard before! Speaking of s*it, one running joke happened to come from Leah Remini’s kid, and the joke is that he’s a pottymouth.

Great.

A+ material.

Legend-dary.

Eat your heart out, Will Ferrell.

This movie makes me think that I’ve almost seen it all when it comes to comedy. If I were to make a comedy movie, and I were trying to think of new material, nothing would come to mind. Swearing and sex rule while all other walks of life, ultimately walk away.

Let’s also talk about Jennifer Lopez in this film. She did a fine job with her lines that were given to her, and her character wasn’t all that unlikable. However, as I left the theater, my friend and I were in a car together. As we were in the car, she thought Jennifer Lopez’s ultimate goal in this movie was to show herself off, show her body, show her inner fashionista as much as possible.

I mean, come on!

Jennifer Lopez made the top of the list on For Him Magazine’s 100 Sexiest Women twice. She was named the most lustable celebrity of the past twenty years according to Vibe magazine. In 2011, Lopez was named “The Most Beautiful Woman” by People. Jennifer Lopez did not direct this movie, but there is no denying that a film’s actors can have some power in the direction the vision tends to go. Where does the vision go?

Her figure.

Hey, jackasses! HER EYES ARE UP THERE!

As far as other characters go, they’re really just disposable trash. What is there to remember about them that’s noteworthy, nifty, or cool? I didn’t care about many of them, I don’t want to hang out with them had I been given any opportunity to face them in real life, and I just want to annihilate everybody. There’s a scene containing these dumbasses that is one of the most awkward things I’ve had to watch all year! I’d rather watch the sex scene from “Deadpool” with a room full of seven year-old kids than have to sit through that all over again. There’s a part of the movie that takes place in Grand Central, we see the main character’s friends, who might as well be as street smart as her, disguised and dressed up as intellectual snobs. Get that out of here, out of my sight, NOW!

There’s only one funny scene in the film that I can actually recall, and guess what? It’s in the trailer! I don’t care if I go into detail about this scene, I don’t want you to watch this film anyway so why should I care?! Jennifer Bombshell has to go to a fancy dinner and speak to a guy in Mandarin. After all, she’s the only person who can actually do such a thing. Well, sort of. Lopez goes into the dinner with an earpiece and she’s listening to a vet say all that needs to be said. She hears something that she doesn’t understand, but it comes off as rather raunchy. That was actually pretty funny. But who am I kidding? THIS MOVIE SUCKED!

Also, I gotta say, this is probably not up in my worst cliches just yet, but I feel like I’m getting to the point where I weep for humanity every time I see a certain scene that happens to be in “Second Act.” That scene to be specific, is when a character is trying to decide what they should wear and their friends have to judge them. I’ve seen that for the umpteenth time this year alone, and the only time it really worked for me might have been in “Ready Player One.” I’ve seen it in that movie, “Life of the Party,” and “Love, Simon.”

In the end, “Second Act” is not just one of the worst movies of the year, it feels like it doesn’t even belong in December. It feels like a release the studio would attempt to dump into January or February. Jennifer f*cking Lopez is nothing more than a walking line uttering robot who has some capabilities of understanding human emotion, perhaps sexuality. The supporting characters, wait, WHAT supporting characters? My gosh I hate this movie! I’ve seen a number of new releases this year from the studio which associate with this movie. STX to be specific. NONE OF THEM have been higher than a 3. Sadly, this doesn’t even surpass that. I’m going to give “Second Act” a 2/10. Thanks for reading this review, be sure to stay tuned for my top 10 best and worst movies of 2018! Those will be up on New Years Day as separate posts. Look forward to those posts coming soon! Be sure to follow Scene Before either with a WordPress account or an email so you can stay tuned for more great content! I want to know, did you see “Second Act?” What did you think about it? Or, who is your celebrity crush? Let me know down below! Scene Before is your click to the flicks!