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movie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: I-Spy

Starring: Eddie Murphy, Owen Wilson
Director: Betty Thomas
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 96 Minutes
Release Date: November 2002
Genres: Action, Comedy

Review by Steve Rhodes
2 stars out of 4

I SPY, which is supposed to be a movie version of the 1960s TV series, feels more like a low-rent James Bond spoof. And with large portions shot on ugly digital video rather than film stock, the movie frequently looks like a washed out old videotape.

The writing committee of Marianne Sellek Wibberley, Cormac Wibberley, David Ronn and Jay Scherick do find some good material for the film's two A-list stars, Eddie Murphy and Owen Wilson. But for every gag that works, there are many others that don't.

Murphy, who needs a hit after his PLUTO NASH debacle, plays Kelly Robinson, a flashy, undefeated boxer who likes to make WWF-style entrances. With an ego the size of Texas, Robinson talks about himself incessantly and only in the third person. Wilson plays doofus spy Alexander Scott. In order to remind us of his mental limits, the costume department keeps carefully untucking Scott's shirt on one side and tucking it in tightly on the other. Although he appears to be a bad secret agent, he is actually a top notch one. Famke Janssen plays Rachel, Scott's fellow spy and would-be girlfriend.

The retreaded script has Scott and Robinson alternately squabbling and watching each other's back as they go on a mission to retrieve a stolen stealth plane. The not-so-funny use that the bad guys plan for the airplane is to employ it to drop an atomic bomb on Washington. After 9-11, I'm getting very tired of Hollywood's not realizing that America is threatened and the potential of killing of millions with nuclear weapons is not something that viewers want to hear about in comedies. Wake up Hollywood.

I SPY runs 1:36. It is rated PG-13 for "action violence, some sexual content and language" and would be acceptable for kids around 11 and up.

Copyright 2002 Steve Rhodes

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