I SPY

I SPY

(director: Betty Thomas; screenwriters: Marianne Wibberley, Cormac Wibberley, Jay Scherick, David Ronn/based on characters created by Morton Fine and David Friedkin; from a story by Marinne Wibberley & Cormac Wibberley; cinematographer: Oliver Wood; editor: Peter Teschner; music: Richard Gibbs; cast: Eddie Murphy (Kelly Robinson), Owen Wilson (Alex Scott), Famke Janssen (Rachael), Malcolm McDowell (Gundars), Gary Cole (Carlos), Phill Lewis (Jerry), Viv Leacock (T.J); Runtime: 96; MPAA Rating: PG-13; producers: Jenno Topping, Betty Thomas, Mario Kassar, Andy Vajna; Columbia Pictures; 2002)

The black guy-white guy buddy movie is totally spy by-the-numbers.

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

The television series from the 1960s that starred Robert Culp and Bill Cosby gets a big-screen update, but the movie is not as good as it was on the small screen. Woman director Betty Thomas (“Private Parts”/”Dr. Doolittle”) keeps it as a blend of goofy spoof comedy antics and typical spy action scenes of chases and gun fights. The screenplay by Marianne Wibberley, Cormac Wibberley, Jay Scherick, and David Ronnis is based on characters created by Morton Fine and David Friedkin.

It’s based on a story by Marinne Wibberley & Cormac Wibberley. An invisible prototype stealth jet, Switchblade, has fallen into the hands of the unscrupulous arms dealer Gundars (Malcolm McDowell). Special agent Alex Scott (Owen Wilson) is assigned to find it with the help of a civilian recruited by the President. The egotistical middle-weight champion boxer Kelly Robinson (Eddie Murphy) is to accompany Alex to Budapest, where he’s to fight. Budapest is where Gundars, a big boxing fan, has his headquarters, and where he plans to sell it at an auction to the highest bidder. The U.S. worries that the plane could be used by a terrorist country to drop nuclear weapons.Famke Janssen plays the agent the shy Alex has a crush on and would love to partner with. Gary Cole plays the super agent Alex is jealous of.

The black guy-white guy buddy movie is totally spy- by-the-numbers, the screenplay is shallow, and the gags are mostly unfunny. What it gets right is showing off how beautiful Budapest looks, featuring the ornate Gellért hotel and Danube River.

Famke Janssen, Eddie Murphy, and Owen Wilson in I Spy (2002)

REVIEWED ON 2/13/2017 GRADE: C