Eddie Murphy and Owen Wilson go down together
Written by Marianne and Cormac Wibberley, Jay Scherick, David Ronn
Starring Eddie Murphy, Owen Wilson
What’s drearier than two gifted, savvy performers marking time in a leaden buddy flick? Two gifted, savvy performers marking time as cheery apologists for Mr. Bush’s War.
Nominally based on a 1960s U.S. TV show, I Spy offers up a few laughs, because even sleepwalking Eddie Murphy can loot that much from his store of aging tricks. But they’re drowned, like Murphy and co-star Owen Wilson, in a backwash of sour cynicism.
The original I Spy was notable for featuring a black co-protagonist (played by Bill Cosby) whose blackness was incidental. Here it’s integral – it’s straight-up salt and pepper as Murphy’s swaggering boxer Kelly Robinson is improbably enlisted (by GWB himself) to team up with Wilson’s Alex Scott, an agent with the, uh, “Bureau of National Security.” The mission: Lay hands on an invisible bomber (yep) before a Budapest-based villain (human skeleton Malcolm McDowell) can auction if off to whichever brown or yellow person wants baddest to blow the shit out of America. High-tech spook Scott brings the toys while Robinson brings the bling, whether taunting neanderthal whiteys in the ring or – get this – coaching his feckless paleface partner on getting it on with a leggy colleague.
That’s a good sign of the laziness on display here (although Murphy prompting Wilson through an earpiece to recite “Sexual Healing” to his crush is kinda funny), and the buddy-bonding and action sequences are staged with slack indifference. Murphy barely breaks a sweat, but Wilson strains visibly to invest the movie with a modicum of the smart/dumb cool he brought to Zoolander and The Royal Tenenbaums, as if trying to convince us (or himself) that something other than sheer opportunism lured the crafty writer/actor of Tenenbaums and Rushmore into this tower of crap.
Similarly, the movie itself grasps for a playful, self-mocking tone – the super agents bicker! The super gizmos break! – but there isn’t any genuine satire here, or even farce, just George Bush’s picture in the paper at the end. Dopey as they can get, the Austin Powers movies recognize spy-flick tropes as inherently ridiculous and treat them accordingly. I Spy wants credit for snarkiness while enlisting without a trace of irony to fight the Axis of Evil. Hollywood toeing the Washington line is nothing new, but this flippant, faux-hip reactionary-lite is somehow scarier than a half-dozen Schwarzenegger blitzkriegs. And not nearly as entertaining.
Video on YouTube
Movie Review: Bad Santa 2 by Raymond Johnston - Prague.TV
Billy Bob Thornton is back as everyone's drunken Santa, but the sequel lacks originality
Movie Review: The Red Turtle by Raymond Johnston - Prague.TV
Animated film from Studio Ghibli has no dialogue
Italian film festival at Lucerna by Raymond Johnston - Prague.TV
Recent works from Italy will play for five days in Prague
Movie Review: Nocturnal Animals by Raymond Johnston - Prague.TV
Double story contrasts the art world with a grim crime in the desert
Festival of French Films to play in five cities by Raymond Johnston - Prague.TV
The 19th edition of the festival has a retrospective on Catherine Deneuve
Movie Review: A Hologram for the King by Raymond Johnston - Prague.TV
Tom Hanks fails to deliver the goods in a generic romance set in exotic location
Movie Review: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by Raymond Johnston - Prague.TV
A spin-off from the Harry Potter books offers lots to look at but a thin story
Movie Review: American Pastoral by Raymond Johnston - Prague.TV
An adaptation of a Philip Roth novel about the 1960s should have been more evocative
Aussie and Kiwi Film Fest at Lucerna and Ponrepo by Raymond Johnston - Prague.TV
New films and a couple of classics show several aspects of two diverse cultures
Severský filmový podzim starts at Lucerna by Raymond Johnston - Prague.TV
A festival of Scandinavian and other northern films offers a few recent gems
Petra Měchurová Hair Salon right in the historical center...
... the real luxury is actually waiting for you on your...
Prague Airport Transport: Private, Shuttle & Limo-service!
Your cheapest calls home!
Czech Lifestyle magazine for young people
We help the young to fight cancer
Good Angel Foundation
IT advisory, development and outsourcing