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Special Agent Alex Scott is a Grade-A, USDA-approved goofball. Every assignment he’s sent on degenerates into a huge fiasco. Take his latest, for example: he was to sneak through a snow-choked mountain ridge in Uzbekistan, find a traitorous U.S. pilot who absconded with an experimental jet—The Switchblade—and bring him back alive. Easy stuff for a highly-trained spy, right? Not for Alex. After triggering an avalanche and losing the pilot in a firefight, his professional life is in shambles. His colleague, Carlos, on the other hand, has all the luck. He gets handed all the latest and greatest gadgets while Alex has to make do with equipment that looks like it was cobbled together by an electronics geek from the 1970s. The powers-that-be adore Carlos’ spotless record while barely tolerating Alex’s slipshod performance. Women weep and swoon when Carlos enters a room. They barely know Alex exists. That goes double for the lovely Rachel, who has just been assigned a role as Alex’s partner.
While Alex may be profoundly inept, he did manage to learn one key piece of information from the pilot before he died: arms dealer Arnold Gundars has The Switchblade and is planning to auction it off to the highest bidder. So it’s probably no coincidence that Gundars has packed his Hungarian mansion with armed goons and invited the most notorious international criminals to a party and secret auction. The plan is simple. Gundars has invited champion boxer Kelly Robinson to battle Hungary’s prize fighter. Rachel and Alex will pose as Kelly’s assistants and find the plane. That is, if they can handle the haughty boxer’s constant showboating. And if Alex doesn’t mess everything up at a crucial moment. And if they could actually see the plane when they find it. (Did I mention it’s invisible not only to radar, but also to the naked eye?)
positive elements: After much mutual antagonism, Alex and Kelly eventually work out a grudging respect, each aiding the other when he’s in need. While mostly played for laughs, Kelly’s constant self-congratulation and egotism is frowned upon. Gundars’ theft and sale of The Switchblade, and the various bidders’ evil actions and plans (such as genocide and nuclear war) are portrayed negatively.
spiritual content: Kelly occasionally refers to himself as "semi-psychic," but is quick to say he’s "no Miss Cleo."
sexual content: Sexual anatomy references abound. When Kelly gets recruited for the mission he refers to himself as "009 1/2." While receiving his bulky spy camera, Alex notes that size matters to spies, but in reverse. Twice, captured men are threatened with having their genitals cut off. Kelly jokes about edible underwear, threesomes and picking up strangers for casual sex. He’s also constantly surrounded by a throng of barely-clad tarts. A running gag involves a rumor about Rachel and Carlos sleeping together during a long stakeout. After hearing it, Alex begs to be assigned to such a stakeout with her. During a brawl, Rachel ends up accidentally straddling Alex, much to his delight. One overly long scene involves Kelly coaching Alex on how to seduce Rachel using high-tech hearing and vision implants that allow each to sense what the other experiences. It culminates with talk about misogynistic sex, sadomasochistic foreplay and shots of Rachel in her panties (she also unbuttons her shirt).
violent content: Gun battles, fisticuffs and chases are common, but not overly graphic. Blood and gore appear only rarely and in small amounts. While in Uzbekistan, Alex is pursued by Russian soldiers and a tracer-spitting tank. Alex accidentally pulls a man out of the snow by his broken leg. Fast edits and exotic camera angles add intensity to Kelly’s boxing matches. A band of masked goons kidnap a man off a street corner; later they’re caught by surprise and shot down. Alex sticks a tranquilizer dart into an airplane pilot’s back and sends the plane into a nosedive. At one point, Alex and Kelly brawl. An immobilized man is repeatedly beaten and then stabbed in the leg. A long pursuit by Gundars’ men involves lots of gunplay, scary heights, crashing cars and explosions. Kelly and Alex are ambushed in a steam room by automatic weapon-toting thugs. The resulting battle ends in a fiery conflagration. A rigged car explodes. A plane crashes. Men are repeatedly kicked in the groin. A man is electrocuted. Alex, Owen and Gundars’ cronies blast at one another with machine guns.
crude or profane language: I-Spy is a crude mess featuring over 100 profanities and crudities (more than 50 of which are the s-word). The Lord’s name is abused about half-a-dozen times.
drug and alcohol content: Champagne flows at Gundars’ party. Hard liquor is seen on a plane. Rachel has a martini. Gundars offers a cigar to a bidder.
other negative elements: While stealing a car, Kelly mentions that he was a car thief before he was a boxer. He also keeps his fighting entourage in the dark about the nature of their trip by saying that Alex is President Bush’s retarded nephew. Alex deceives Kelly a number of times to gain his compliance. Music played under the closing credits features muffled profanities and orgasmic moaning.
conclusion: Do you have fond memories of I-Spy on TV? Keep them that way by avoiding this movie. If you like plots that require you to not only suspend disbelief, but lynch it and hang it in the town square at high noon, I-Spy does the job. This movie has holes a pudgy pachyderm could waltz gracefully through. But families looking for decent entertainment had better duck and cover. Boorish behavior, crude language and violent drama consume every onscreen minute.
Crude or Profane Language
Drug and Alcohol Content
Other Negative Elements
Other Belief Systems
Readability Age Range
Owen Wilson as Alex Scott; Eddie Murphy as Kelly Robinson; Famke Janssen as Rachel; Malcolm McDowell as Arnold; Gary Cole as Carlos
Betty Thomas ( )