‘My Spy,’ ‘The Craft: Legacy,’ & ‘Come Play’: Film Reviews- DC’s Take

‘My Spy’:

Watched Date: 11/28/2020

After multiple delays and sitting through the trailer in theaters for a year, My Spy was finally released in the United States on Amazon Prime, because there was no way of it being shown in theaters this past summer. This follows J.J. (Dave Bautista), a C.I.A. agent who screws up his latest mission and is reassigned to Chicago to monitor widowed mother Kate (Parisa Fitz-Henley) and her nine-year-old daughter Sophie (Chloe Coleman). But when Sophie discovers what he goes, J.J. is forced to teach her how to be a spy in order to not blow his cover.

It was only a matter of time till they got Bautista to star in the typical action-comedy where the big action star has to take care of cute kids, as seen to little respect from The Pacifier and one of 2019’s worst Playing with Fire. Because of that, you already know what to expect from the premise itself, and I expected to not find this entertaining whatsoever. But, My Spy wasn’t as terrible as I thought; though it couldn’t help by being forgettable as well.

I gotta say, Bautista and Chloe Coleman’s chemistry wasn’t too bad. There’s nothing we haven’t seen before with a pairing like this, but props for having this unlikely team play off each other well in their scenes together. Bautista had the comedic comps I knew would carry over here that proves he’s surprisingly funny. And Coleman’s performance as Sophie wasn’t annoying to where she’s actually a smart kid who wants to fit in.

It means nothing in here to be taken seriously, and that’s probably what director Peter Segal and writers Jon and Erich Hoeber. Yet they’re taking part in a story that’s too familiar and doesn’t have much originality at all. It’s a spy comedy that can become stale for some people, especially when it has to go through a training montage and a possible romance between J.J. and Sophie’s mom everyone can see coming.

A few moments made me laugh that caught me off guard during the first act, but then all the rest of the laughs didn’t land, to which we should put the blame on the writing. I’m just lucky we don’t have to watch that dance scene we’ve seen a dozen times in the trailer. Even the main villain wasn’t interesting whenever it cuts back to him, and those moments try too hard to be serious. And at first, it surprised me this got a PG-13, which is pretty much because of the action that wasn’t half-bad, though nothing too impressive.

Final Thoughts: To my surprise, I didn’t hate My Spy. Nothing new since it’s predictable with these kinds of movies we’ve come to expect, so it falls in the middle between The Pacifier and Kindergarten Cop. Bautista and Coleman played off each other well enough to consider passing it as average. You’re not gonna miss out if you’ve been one of the few who’ve been desperately wanting to see this for a year. Grade: C+

‘The Craft: Legacy’:

Watched Date: 11/28/2020

Next up, The Craft: Legacy is Blumhouse’s soft reboot written and directed by Zoe Lister-Jones. The story follows Lily Schechner (Cailee Spaeny) and her mother (Michelle Monaghan) moving into her new boyfriend’s home with his three songs. Her first day of school doesn’t go well when she gets her period in class, but gets help from a trio of girls- Lourdes (Zoey Luna), Tabby (Lovie Simone), and Frankie (Gideon Adlon), as they’re looking for a fourth member to join their coven and pursue witchcraft.

There’s probably a group of folks who wanted to come into reality, and actress-turned-director Lister-Jones made what’s basically a sequel, not a remake of Andrew Fleming’s 1996 cult favorite. That was a movie from the mid90s I always wanted to watch but haven’t gotten around to. But I should since Neve Campbell is one of its stars. Given the familiar name and who its target demographic is, The Craft: Legacy not only stinks, but its appeal is more in line with a straight-to-DVD sequel.

I wish this was better from a fresh mind, and it could’ve been entertaining for the fantasy coming-of-age tale about witches for a new generation. Lister-Jones might’ve done this with the best intentions of making it different in which it’s more empowered than the original from what I heard, but this couldn’t even compare to the original. Watching this was, unfortunately, dull and wasn’t showing anything spectacular for all it tried to be with no style anywhere. At least it’s nowhere near the trash Black Christmas tried to do previously.

Cailee Spaney’s performance can be considered a silver lining for the movie, because not only is she the one character worth caring about the entire time, she, out of the group, is the only one with an inkling of characterization. For that reason, I honestly couldn’t care less about the other girls, which explains why the lack of chemistry between them showed.

It made me wish they were in a better movie so they could have more time to develop and to help the message of friendship to better use. There was one interesting idea of turning this bully Timmy (Nicholas Galitzine) into a woke person and becomes part of the group after they put a spell on him I wasn’t into at first, but didn’t mind it after a second thought. But the coolest moments that might’ve been seen in the original aren’t in here when nothing’s exciting happens, when it’s rushed exploring their powers through a montage set to “Seventeen” by Sharon Van Etten (Love this song, btw).

I stopped caring during the first half, but everything turned after a third act that came and went so fast I thought 20 minutes got cut out. Not only does it have David Duchovny as a one-dimensional character, but the CGI looks so fake and you tend to notice plot holes, oddly enough. It wasn’t even 90 minutes, and I felt like it progressed to nothing memorable.

Final Thoughts: As someone who hasn’t watched the original, I can easily say The Craft: Legacy is a massively wasteful film in every way. Spaney gives a good performance and fans could be on board, yet there isn’t a reason for this to exist except for using the name. Grade: D

‘Come Play’:

Watched Date: 11/24/2020

Last up is a horror flick that came to theaters in late October and then released On Demand a month later from Focus Features, Come Play. Based on the short film Larry from writer-director Jacob Chase, an autistic child named Oliver (Azhy Roberton) who’s attached to his electronic devices and uses them to communicate. When his dad brings home an iPad that was left in the lost and found, Oliver reads a story called “Misunderstood Monsters” about a creature named Larry who just wants a friend. The more he reads, the more he takes part in making a presence in Oliver’s world.

Come Play kind of came out of nowhere (of course), but I was hoping for a creepy and smart horror movie to truly think about when it’s over. But there’s so much more that could’ve saved this from being a hit which is what most movies adapted from shorts usually are. It hinders a plot that acts as an allegory on the usage of technology, especially with young children meets an urban legend that can be somewhat scary to some. More so, it’s just like taking The RingLights OutInsidious, and The Babadook together, that’s what you get, basically.

As far as horror movies go, it wasn’t particularly scary. The opening scene provided some good tension to make us suspect something evil’s afoot, but the rest resorts to ineffective jump scares that don’t contract to some creative moments between them. I also didn’t think the performances of Azhy Roberton, Gillian Jacobs, and John Gallagher Jr. were bad, even when given weak material to work with.

Almost knowing it’s going to involve the parents at some point in understanding what has to be accepted, the third act drags itself out for too long, and it goes for a boring path beforehand when nothing scary happens on screen. Plus, we might have a first in making SpongeBob creepy when played on screens.

Final Thoughts: Come Play is creative in some parts due, in large part, to the premise, but this horror wastes a talented cast on a bland and forgettable experience that doesn’t lend itself to really being scary in its short runtime, feeling similar to better movies out there. Grade: C

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