Spy Next Door

dvd "The Spy Next Door" 2009 Bob Ho (still 5* amazing Jackie Chan) secret agent on loan from China to CIA, acrobatically kungfu capturing Russian sharp dresser (if his posse would only oblige) Poldark (Magnus Scheving) in the factory laboratory or sickly sweet pink princess costumed lisping Nora (Alina Foley) 4 in the Halloween decorated mall. Bob is on the verge of removing his Clark Kent spectacles, revealing his identity, giving up his job, and proposing to (much younger) neighbor Gillian (Amber Valetta).

Her three kids, rebellious mouthy stepdaughter Farren (Madeline Carroll) 13 is angrier than the villain, geek liar Ian (Will Shadley) 10, and aforementioned adorable Nora with ubiquitous kitty and nipping turtle, resent the "boring" boyfriend. A CIA mole, either hillbilly expression "not the sharpest barb on the wire" Colton (Billy Ray Cyrus), or greedy Glaze (George Lopez), is helping heavy-Slav-accented blonde wig in tight low-cut black side-kick Ms. Creel (Katherine Boecher) retrieve a downloaded file with a multi-million dollar formula.

Like silent film stars Harold Lloyd and Charlie Chaplin, Chan is an expert at make-you-laugh face and body expressions, using frypans, ladders, whatever comes to hand. He often plays orphans because he is one. His early films with close pals are more funny cartoon action than scary violent. I have long admired his great talents at stunts and clowning; I had a videotape collection; too bad about outdated technology. I still find his accent thick; thank goodness for accurate subtitles (TV broadcast was wrong, and omitted essential scenes for understanding), especially when he jives straight-face "It's rad. It's awesome. It's jiggy for shizzy. It's the bomb." dancing movements and secret hand-heart-kiss signal taught by Madeline. To the "university student" offering her "not a date", he has two words "Thir-teen." Moments for replaying to memorize. Beneath the fun is serious stuff about how it feels not to belong.

In extra interviews, the cast calls him a "wise kindly energetic uncle". Chan's hair looks too black, but he is a most lovable family father figure. Alina is a vegetarian (guess the spitting out bacon was real) calls herself an actor now, hopes to be an animal rescuer; Madeline will be an actress or swim with dolphins; Will wants to help buy pet food for owners (first I thought he meant for poor people to eat). The blooper reel is, like Chan includes on most, with the end credits.

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