The Beach House (2020) | SHUDDER
I had heard nothing about this film prior to its release, so I had no expectations or forethought. After a quick glance at the movie poster, I recognized the lead character and had an “Oh yea!” moment when I realized it was Dax (Dave Bautista) from Guardians of the Galaxy. This looked like a potentially funny, potentially heartwarming flick--so I was all in!
Peter Segal directed this one, and he has credits to his directing list full of popular comedies, like Tommy Boy (1995) and a couple Adam Sandler comedies: 50 First Dates (2004) and The Longest Yard (2005). This type of genre and storytelling is right in Segal’s wheelhouse. Overall, the plot for My Spy is somewhat predictable from the start, so it makes for an easy to follow storyline, and the characters fit into their respective roles without question or confusion. There is nothing special here with the direction, but with a unique twist that is handled well, the film goes from just okay to a little bit better.
Former soldier, JJ (Dave Bautista), turned CIA operative is sent on an undercover mission with an unusual partner to surveil a mother/daughter family who has moved to Chicago after living in France. The daughter, Sophie (Chloe Coleman), a 9-year old they are supposed to be spying on, discovers a hidden camera JJ and Bobbi placed in her room. Sophie uses this against JJ the remainder of the narrative, as blackmail, to get him to be a stand in male figure in her life. JJ and Bobbi are there to discover if Sophie’s mother, Kate, knows anything about her now dead husband’s involvement with an illegal arms dealer.
There is a really fun and unexpected twist that happens toward the end of the narrative. At the moment you think the story is wrapping up, the twist happens and fully takes off from there, providing a fast-paced, action-packed, and suspenseful final 20-minutes of the runtime.
ACTING | CHARACTERS | DIALOGUE:
This seemingly odd-bunch cast has great chemistry and creates a fun-loving and quirky atmosphere throughout the narrative. JJ and his partner Bobbi (Kristen Schaal) start off on a weird foot because Bobbi is obsessed with him, but they end up developing a friendship that resembles some of your favorite buddy-cop duos. Bobbi also delivers a few lines of dialogue so perfectly that you will laugh out loud, guaranteed. Kate gives an even, expected performance in the role she serves. The gay couple next door, complete opposites of each other, provide comedic relief: Carlos (Devere Rogers) who does all the talking, and his partner Todd (Noah Danby) who literally does not say a word. Ken Jeong plays JJ and Bobbi’s boss at the CIA, but his performance is a bit of a let down because he is known for his memorable characters; literally if this role was played by anyone else, you would not remember they even had a boss in the film.
The real star of the show is Sophie, who is so cool and natural in this character that she steals every scene she is in, commanding the attention she deserves. She is funny, witty, and quick, fully carrying the story to the end. JJ would be nothing without her.
VISUAL EFFECTS | MAKEUP | DESIGN:
'My Spy' Will Please The Entire Family
The film opens and closes with some awesome action scenes that are visually impressive, and those are the right places for these moments. In the opening sequence, I was worried the film would be littered with these fight scenes that would seem “over the top” and dramatic, but the film takes advantage of the visual effects only when it needs to, and it works great for the cause.
My Spy (2020) | PRIME VIDEO
MUSIC | SCORE | SOUND DESIGN:
The film opens with really fun and upbeat songs in the beginning and continues strong throughout. Nothing special or unique, but the use of a very popular Cardi B song, not once, but twice--for the purpose of JJ to show off his dance moves. Both of these scenes are fun to watch because JJ is painfully hilarious to see dancing.
This was fun and cute overall; I’d say it’s a “family movie” despite some cuss words here and there and a few intense, violent moments. However, it definitely will please the entire family. Don’t expect this to particularly knock your socks off in any aspect, but it will definitely make you laugh a few times and will leave you to feel a little warm and fuzzy on the inside.