3 1/2 Stars
I Spy is Eddie Murphy’s funniest film since The Nutty Professor 2 (12 years prior). The 1960s television show has been given the big-screen update with Murphy in the Bill Cosby role and Owen Wilson replacing Robert Culp as the co-star. I Spy works because of the high energy from Murphy and the off-beat delivery of Wilson. They are a nice matched pair, and the film gives them ample moments to shine.
When the Switchblade, the most sophisticated prototype stealth fighter created yet, is stolen from the U.S. government, one of the United States’ top spies, Alex Scott (Owen Wilson), is called to action. What he doesn’t expect is to get teamed up with a cocky civilian, World Class Boxing Champion Kelly Robinson (Eddie Murphy), on a dangerous top secret espionage mission. Their assignment: using equal parts skill and humor, catch Arnold Gundars (Malcolm McDowell), one of the world’s most successful arms dealers.
There was a time that to attack Eddie Murphy and his dwindling box-office prowess was fair game. I think that I Spy was overlooked by audiences and unjustly critiqued by the film critics. This is an immensely enjoyable comedy that presents Murphy is a role and performance that harkens back to his golden era.
Director: Betty Thomas
Stars: Eddie Murphy, Owen Wilson, Famke Janssen