A Salt and Pepper Team for All Seasons
I Spy
Review by Ross Anthony

After a rather rickety, visually unstunning snowy mountain scene, "I Spy" takes a ride on a funky beat and never looks back. The repartee rapport between rambling, underdog spy, Alex Scott (Wilson) and world-champion boxer Kelly Robinson (Murphy) is entertainment enough. Btw, frisky verbal wrestle is just about the only thing this film has in common with the TV series of the same name. That Robert Culp/Bill Cosby chemistry reprising well here, while Wilson and Murphy bring their own twists to a fun, light, playful game of spy.

Director Betty Thomas tells us that Owen Wilson was responsible for conceiving the Carlos character (Gary Cole). Sort of a 007 spoof who has all the best spy toys and gets all the women while Alex whines, "My stuff looks like you got if from Radio Shack in 1972." Actually, Betty also mentioned Steven Seagal as her first choice for that role; hence, Gary Cole's ponytail.

Perhaps the film's funniest moments (they certainly had our audience in stitches) allowed Eddie and Owen to do what they do best, play together and just be funny. The sewer scene provides a moment to bond, Kelly reminisces, "My grandmother, she was the sweetest woman, she gave me my first jab in the face." Alex commiserates, "Yeah, no one takes the time anymore."

Somewhat less hard-hitting at the start and finish, but a whole lot of fun and funny in the middle, "I Spy" will get you laughing. And If you end up liking the wry comedy of Owen Wilson as much as myself, check out "Shanghai Noon," his pairing with Jackie Chan proves just as much, if not more amusing.

[Interview with Owen Wilson and Betty Thomas]

  • I Spy. Copyright © 2002. Rated PG-13.
  • Starring Eddie Murphy, Owen Wilson, Famke Janssen, Malcolm Mcdowell, Gary Cole.
  • Directed by Betty Thomas.
  • Screenplay by Marianne Wibberley and Cormac Wibberley, and Jay Scherick & David Ronn.
  • Producers Jenno Topping, Mario Kassar, Andy Vajna at Sony.


Copyright © 2001. Ross Anthony, currently based in Los Angeles, has scripted and shot documentaries, music videos, and shorts in 35 countries across North America, Europe, Africa and Asia. For more reviews visit: RossAnthony.com

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Last Modified: Saturday, 16-Sep-2006 08:08:01 PDT