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The Spy Who Bugged Me

My-spy-movie-review-dave-bautista-chloe-coleman
Michael Gibson/STXfilms

MOVIE REVIEW
My Spy (2020)

In “My Spy,” former wrestler-mixed martial artist Dave Bautista plays J. J., a nails-for-breakfast war veteran-turned-C.I.A. operative on assignment staking out newly widowed Kate (Parisa Fitz-Henley) and her 9-year-old daughter, Sophie (Chloe Coleman), who have recently fled Paris and are struggling to adjust to their new life in Chicago. The clever Sophie is quickly on to J. J. and threatens to blow his cover if he doesn’t take her ice skating, participate in her special person’s day at school and train her to become a spy, all so that her new classmates will no longer ostracize her.

Given that the 11-year-old Ms. Coleman is prominently featured on all the promotional materials, one might consider “My Spy” a children’s film. But its PG-13 rating and “Notting Hill” reference belie that categorization. While violent in a mostly harmless and comedic way, the film’s dialogue is downright lewd. Also, parents may not want their kids getting any ideas from Sophie’s being so scary good at blackmail.

In full “Kindergarten Cop” mode, Mr. Bautista certainly does the lovable lug more convincingly than does Arnold Schwarzenegger. Thus it is too bad the film doesn’t maximize the potential of its premise, and instead devotes much of its runtime to Sophie playing matchmaker between J. J. and her mother.

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