is syphillis on the dick of cinema. It's comedy that plays like
a series of open festering pustules that seep onto your shorts and
sting at the slightest touch.
Give a monkey
Ex-Lax and he'll crap out something better than I Spy. Every
time I think those grassfuckers and ass-hobbling dimwits in Hollywood
have scraped the bottom of the barrel they go and dig up another
layer of sludge, ram it up our asses and say, "That'll be $8
dollars, please." Actually, people in New York pay like sixty
or seventy dollars for a movie ticket, but they kind of deserve
it for spending most of their time celebrating themselves.
In some ways,
I Spy achieves the near impossible. What are the chances
that not one of the four screenwriters would have an original idea.
If fresh ideas were toilet paper, these guys would be dead from
diaper rash. I think one of them, maybe even two, would have something
original to say, or at least reach some point hasn't already been
trampled under the Ugg Boots of ten-thousand other screenwriters.
There is nothing new here, not a plot element, not a character,
not a gag. From a creative perspective, writing this kind of shit
is no more satisfying than bulk mailing ads for penis enlargement.
is a sassy-street-smart-black-guy/unsure-bumbling-white-guy buddy
action-comedy movie that takes the best of the tired genre and chucks
it out the window. Then it goes back, filches the worst and puts
a dull sheen on it. At its beginning, the black guy (played with
appropriate skin color by Eddie Murphy) and the white guy (an effectively
pigment-deficient Owen Wilson) don't like each other. Against their
wills they must work together on a top-secret mission to stop a
craggy old bad guy with world domination plans (Actually, I'm sure
the makers are saving world domination for the sequel; this one
is about billions of dollars.). As they work as a team, they learn
to respect and rely on one another. Neither can solve the case alone,
and in the last five minutes the unique skills of each are needed.
There are some details, such as that Murphy is a loud-mouthed boxer
and their mission is to go undercover in Budapest before a big fight
to retrieve Wonder Woman's invisible plane. But director Betty Thomas
and her writers don't care about the plot, so why should we?
I'll let you
fill in the details. Just imagine the worst scenes of man-to-man
bonding, jive-talking and one-upsmanship from Another 48 Hours,
Bulletproof, The Mod Squad, Blue Streak, Rush
Hours 1 and 2. Then, suck the life out of them. Now, you know
the lingering, bitter taste of I Spy.
It takes a powerful
bad script to make someone as naturally funny as Owen Wilson suck
wind like this. Murphy has been cashing his checks for a while now,
so his shrill and tiresome performance is no surprise. But Wilson
co-wrote Bottle Rocket, Rushmore and The Royal
Tenenbaums. The studio executives must have shoved so much money
up his ass that he had no choice but to appear in this stinker.
Then they shoved a bunch more in his mouth to keep him from ad-libbing
and accidentally making the movie funny.
is flatter than Kansas in December. It's loud, for sure, and there
is plenty of shit blowing up, but it stinks. The action is cheap,
more disjointed than a sideshow freak and sometimes incomprehensible.
There are also massive continuity errors and shoddy production values
that aid a lazy script by writers with no interest in doing research.
It's one of those movies where the writers just invent some impossible
crazy techno-device to get their characters out of tight spots.
When Murphy and Wilson race around Prague in a convertible, they
are so obviously in front of a blue-screen that nobody even bothers
to blow wind on Wilson's hair. The opening scenes are clearly on
a soundstage and I was stunned when the movie then pretended they
were outdoors. I thought it would turn out to be some sot of spy
training ground, and that would explain the cheap-ass look. A thermo-nuclear
device is suspiciously small, and floats. Wouldn't a metal bomb
loaded with one of the densest metals on earth be heavier than water?
These are nitpicky details, but they add up fast and the sum is
"Nobody fucking cared, but we'll take your $8 anyway."
I wonder why
the producers had to use the old I Spy TV show to justify
this movie. None of the previous black-white buddy comedies did,
not even the straight-to-video ones. Maybe they though today's teenagers
would be excited: "Fucking rad! That's my favorite mediocre
TV show that I've never seen!" Really, for the similarity to
its namesake's concept, I Spy might as well be called "Funky
Winkerbean." They could have gotten the rights a hell of a
writers tell us that comedy is the hardest genre to write. These
people scare me, because they write the over-earnest, belabored
crap in the New Yorker's Shouts and Murmurs. You know, the
wacky exchange of letters between Thomas Jefferson and the Spice
Girls or any of Bruce McCall's painful pantloads. The only scarier
people are the ones who think comedy is easy because everything
out of their mouths cracks them up. These are the hacks, and they're
so enamored with their own zaniness that they never bother to notice
everyone else is cringing. They write cat lover joke books, "The
Red Green Show", sketches for the Capitol Steps, and now I
the perfect place for hacks because it's the only place in the world
where humorless pricks with deep pockets sit around waiting for
someone else to tell them what's funny. The unfunny-but-self-assured
writers pitch stories, presumably using oversized props and kooky
sound effects, and the executives think "The kids love farts,
right? That sounded like an amusing fart."
As long as there
are asshole Hollywood executives who dredge up 35-year old TV shows
and sell them back to us, and as long as there are unfunny writers
willing to fling flabby scenes at a plot skeleton until it looks
fleshed out, we'll have I Spy. One Finger.
to tell Filthy Something?