My wife and I saw the trailers for this about 100 times before Covid-19 hit. And each and every time, we laughed at Kristen Schaal saying, about Dave Bautista’s dance moves, “It’s like the wedding at the end of Schrek.”
It also looked like this is the same type of story we’ve seen so many times, for example — Kindergarten Cop. Although it’s another Arnold Schwarzenegger movie I thought about — True Lies. This movie “borrows” two scenes directly from that film.
Yet you don’t go to see a movie like this for originality. And yes, there’s a need for suspension of disbelief. So with that all being said, I think most people are going to have a good time with this.
JJ (Dave Bautista) is a CIA agent who has been upsetting his boss (Ken Jeong). That’s because, as we saw him say in the trailer, “You always kill everyone.”
Jeong basically plays it straight, but still cracks you up a few times. Oh, and he has relegated JJ to surveillance duty. Nobody can die if he’s doing that. Especially since it’s watching a cute 9-year-old girl (Chloe Coleman of Big Little Lies) and her mom (Parisa Fitz-Henley). It turns out the mom was married to a French arms dealer who was killed, and they want to know what she knows, or if she’ll be visited by the bad guys.
Sophie (Coleman) catches them spying and sweetly blackmails JJ. First, it’s to be trained as an agent. Second, it’s to pay a visit to her school (hard to bully someone that shows up with Bautista in tow). Third, to possibly be a romantic interest for mom.
What makes their interactions tolerable is that Sophie is cute, and not some precocious and annoying kid. So even if you can see the gags coming a mile away (he won’t know how to ice skate, he won’t know what to say to the class for “Parents and Friends Day,” etc.), they still make ya smile.
JJ is written a bit one-dimensional, and Bautista doesn’t quite have the charm to pull off some of the scenes.
For my money, it’s Schaal who steals the show. Aside from her Shrek line, just her badgering JJ to train her to be more than just a computer nerd. She has one scene, when he asks her to make dinner, that made my wife and I laugh for about 30 seconds. Ever since I first saw her on Flight of the Conchords, I’ve been a fan of her awkwardness. I’ve never seen her on a talk show where she didn’t crack me up.
And your heart will melt with every word out of Sophie’s mouth. In one scene, when JJ is trying to discourage her from becoming a CIA agent, she mournfully talks about becoming a barista, or a fashion designer, and staying in her box. It was adorable. Although, I’m not sure why they had the scene with her knocking the fishbowl over. That seemed a bit evil.
This film was supposed to come out in March, but with theatres shutting down, it’s going to be on Amazon Prime starting this weekend. It’s generally a fun family film that adults won’t mind sitting through, but it can get violent. Be warned if you’re watching it with the youngins.
2 ½ stars out of 5.