(Release Info London schedule; March 13th, 2020, Vue Cinéma, Finchley Road, O2, Centre, 255 Finchley Rd, London NW3 6LU, United Kingdom, 2:30 pm)
Jason Jones (Dave Bautista) is a hardened covert operative who finds himself out-maneuvered by Sophie (Chloe Coleman), a precocious youngster. When 'CIA' field agent Jason Jones, 'JJ' to his friends, is demoted to a light surveillance detail, he finds himself at the mercy of a sweet but determined 9-year-old girl, Sophie, who uses her tech savviness and street smarts to find 'JJ’s' undercover hideout near the apartment she shares with her protective mother Kate (Parisa Fitz-Henley). In exchange for not blowing 'JJ’s' cover, Sophie convinces him to spend time with her and teach her to be a spy. Despite his reluctance, 'JJ' finds he's no match for Sophie’s disarming charm, intelligence and aptitude for espionage.
As the story begins, we see 'JJ' in his element, playing a mega-tough professional who dispatches the villains with ease. But now he’s going into a more nuanced world that demands a different, more subtle skillset, as opposed to a guy with a machine gun in the desert. Getting information, instead of breaking necks, doesn’t come so easily to 'JJ'. We meet 'JJ', he's piercing eyes and wearing a suit that barely contains his formidable physique, in a faraway desert, where he’s demonstrating his cowboy heroics and expertise in kicking butt, as he wipes out a band of bad guys carrying a plutonium pit. 'JJ' is an ex-'Special Forces', so action and heroics are what he’s good at. 'JJ’s' natural badassery is offset by his challenges with the covert spy stuff, which requires subtlety, finesse and emotional intelligence. None of which 'JJ' possesses. When he returns to 'CIA' headquarters, 'JJ’s' caustic and disapproving boss David Kim (Ken Jeong) dresses him down for botching the mission, the goal of which was to discover what the terrorists knew. But that’s going to be a little difficult, given that 'JJ' has killed them all. Kim gives 'JJ' one last shot to succeed as an agent, a seemingly lightweight surveillance assignment. Grunt work. Moreover, 'JJ’s' been saddled with a new partner, Roberta 'Bobbi' Ulf (Kristen Schaal), a tech specialist and aspiring field agent with messy hair, unkempt clothes, and an acerbic manner.
This is all a punishment for 'JJ', so he’s not thrilled about it. Now, he and his pet fish, 'Blueberry', are stuck in this apartment with a partner who’s been forced on 'JJ'. Even worse, he’s running surveillance, to him, it’s really babysitting, and he thinks it’s a really embarrassing situation. As if 'JJ’s' mickey-mouse gig weren’t bad enough, things get even more uncomfortable for the beleaguered agent. He and Bobbi have planted high-tech cameras in a neighboring apartment occupied by a nine-year-old girl, Sophie, and her mother, Kate, whose deceased husband was connected to the terrorists 'JJ' had eliminated earlier. But the ingenious young lady, with the assistance of her dog, discovers one of the cameras and tracks down 'JJ' and Bobbi to their once covert lair. Lonely and friendless, Sophie blackmails 'JJ' to be her new best friend, and teach her everything he knows about being a spy. Desperate not to have his cover blown by a child, no less 'JJ' reluctantly promises that he’ll go ice skating with her, be her guest at her school’s 'Special Friends Day', humor the other kids with a ride on a teeter-totter and a game of dodgeball, and teach her the finer points of spycraft. Not only does Sophie have 'JJ' wrapped around her little finger, she quickly becomes adept at beating a lie detector test, outsmarts 'JJ' in a training move, and learns some of the fun spy stuff, like how to walk away from an explosion without looking back, or figuring out pithy statements to make before taking out a bad guy.
As Bobbi fumes, she's supposed to be training with 'JJ' and her new pal grow closer, as the youngster attempts her biggest mission; set up her mom, Kate, with 'JJ'. Romance begins to blossom, but first, 'JJ' must deal with villains who are closing in on him and his new family, as Sophie puts her new skills to the test. The bad guys never have a chance. The favorite on-screen moment between Sophie and 'JJ' is when 'JJ' reluctantly teaches his young charge how to outsmart a lie detector. "JJ' is incredulous at how quickly she not only learns how to beat the machine, but how she turns her new skillset against him. Sophie is so deadpan and really carries it off. Ever mindful that a youngster, Sophie endeavors mightily to avoid using colorful language. Bad language is a fact of life. Everybody has to be on their toes because Sophie is always lurking in the shadows, just waiting for you to say a bad word. You just want to cheer and root for her. She's wonderful character. The heart and soul of "My Spy" is centered around the surprising bond between 'JJ' and Sophie. One is a nine-year-old girl, the other is a grizzled special ops veteran turned spy.
As Sophie’s path to becoming a junior master spy blossoms under 'JJ’s' reluctant tutelage, his actual partner, Bobbi, feels like she’s been left behind. This is especially maddening for Bobbi because, she’s eager to leave the office and tech side of the operation and get out in the field and take down bad guys. Bobbi wants to be recognized as 'JJ’s' partner and equal. Bobbi’s frustration level escalates as Sophie becomes increasingly espionage-savvy. Sophie is not only getting closer to 'JJ', she pretty much starts running the mission So, Bobbi’s not thrilled with Sophie. Yes, she’s actually jealous of a nine-year-old. Bobbi confronts 'JJ', demanding to know why he’s teaching Sophie, and not Bobbi, everything he knows. And 'JJ' is clueless about handling her frustration, which drives her even more crazy. They’re like a bickering married couple. Sophie’s mother, Kate, an 'ER' nurse working long hours, is at first oblivious to her daughter’s friendship with 'JJ', not to mention her lessons in espionage.
Then there’s Sophie’s’ other top-secret operation, to make a love connection between her mom and 'JJ'. But Sopies’s master plan goes sideways when Kate spots 'JJ' and Sophie holding hands as they’re enjoying ice cream cones. The protective 'Momma Bear springs into action, swatting away 'JJ’s' cone and kneeing him in his special ops. Obviously the scene is carefully mapped out in advance. There's an ice-skating sequence where 'JJ' reluctantly accompanies Sophie on a sojourn to a local rink. There's a dance scene featuring the culmination of 'JJ' and Kate’s first date. Both scenes bring out a side of 'JJ' that Kate didn’t expect to see. David Kim is 'JJ' and Bobbi’s exasperated and fed-up boss. Kim has pretty much had it with 'JJ’s' take-no-prisoners exploits and lack of field smarts, so he banishes him to monitor a woman and her young daughter in a nondescript Chicago apartment building. Kim is definitely a by-the-book, control-freakish 'CIA' boss. He’s at a tough place in his life and taking it out on everyone, especially 'JJ'.
Blending action, humor and an unexpected friendship between a mega-tough superspy and a fatherless child. You've an emotional investment in these characters and their story. You can compare "My Spy's" surprising genre; blending to 'The Guardians Of The Galaxy' films. 'The Guardians' films are about family, but are disguised as superhero films, just as this one is a heartfelt relationship story, disguised as an action-comedy. "My Spy" gives audiences something unexpected; Dave Bautista being vulnerable and funny, as well as badass and tough., He compares his acting and on-screen presence to Clint Eastwood’s, it’s contained, grounded and subtle. This film has all the action you expect, as well as the romance and heart you don’t expect from a Dave Bautista movie. It has elements of a family comedy, that’s also relatable to adults, all wrapped up in a big action movie. Along with the action and comedy, there’s an inspiring message of two very, very different kinds of people coming together against all odds. That’s inspiring. And now, more than ever, audiences need a good laugh and to be entertained.