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'I Spy' an old story -- but the buddies are fun

[an error occurred while processing this directive] By BILLY NORRIS

© St. Petersburg Times
published November 11, 2002

Movie: I Spy

  • Rating: PG-13

Summary: The U.S. government has developed an experimental military plane, code named "Switchblade," that has the capability of becoming invisible with the push of a button. But a Hungarian illegal arms dealer has gotten his hands on the plane and plans to sell it to the highest roller on the black market. Using a highly publicized World Boxing Championship match between American champ Kelly Robinson (Eddie Murphy) and a Hungarian bruiser as an entry, the government sends in one of its top spies, Alex Scott (Owen Wilson), to regain possession of the plane. Alex needs Kelly's help to accomplish the task, but he has no time to gently introduce this overconfident American to the fascinating and complicated world of spies.
Two guys driving away from a massively exploding car
[Times photo: ]
Owen Wilson and Eddie Murphy make a pretty good team in the already-been-done buddy flick I-Spy.

My view: This is a remake of the 1960s TV series of the same name, starring Bill Cosby and Robert Culp. I've never seen the original series, so I'm not qualified to make a comparison, but I do know this scenario is something that has been done over and over since then. Basically it's just another crime-fighting buddy movie. But, I really liked the pairing this time. Wilson and Murphy were comparable to the onscreen likes of Mel Gibson and Danny Glover, Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones, and Jackie Chan with, well, just about anyone. They provided strong comedic support for each other, and each joke was quickly rebutted with a sharp comeback. The plot, with just a few minor alterations from what we've seen before, was nothing out of the ordinary.

Favorite part: There was a scene in a sewer where the methane gases from the "wastes" made Kelly and Alex a little loopy. The dialogue that followed was absolutely great.

Recommendations: This is a good movie to go to with a group of buddies for a fun time, but only if they're over 13.

Grade: B-

- Billy Norris, 14, is in the ninth grade at Seminole High School and is a former member of the Times X-Team.

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