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6 Degrees Entertainment

'Spymate'
(Chris Potter, Richard Kind, Emma Roberts, et al / DVD / PG / 2006 / Miramax)

Overview: Minkey, a super-spy primate, and his partner Mike were the two best spies in the business. For years, they made every mission possible. But when Mike retired to raise his baby girl, Amelia, he never predicted that life would come full circle. Ten years later, Amelia - who has invented a revolutionary chemical drill - is kidnapped and whisked off to Japan by her hero, Dr. Farley, who is planning a highly dangerous experiment that could cause a massive earthquake and destroy the entire world. Mike and Minkey partner up one last time for their most important mission ever: saving Amelia - and the world - from the clutches of the evil Dr. Farley.

DVD Verdict: If a kid can do a spy job, a monkey can do. `Spymate' features a super-spy chimpanzee `Minky' who can not only fly like a bird but also beat up the baddies and rescue the kidnapped secret agent (and Minky's partner) Mike (Chris Potter). If you see this opening sequence, you know exactly what you will see. `Spymate' is directed by Robert Vince, who (as producer) gave us the `Air Bud' series. Like his previous canine films, the clever animal is the main reason for which the film is made. The story is a pale imitation of other family pictures. It is about one brilliant girl Amelia, only daughter of Mike, who invented `iodine oxide' laser drill. Sorry if I made a mistake about the exact name of her invention, but it is one great invention, the film says, for which Amelia is tricked into a conspiracy, and is kidnapped (without her knowing) by one bad scientist, who is about to do a most dangerous experiment in Japan. So who is going to save her? And save the world too? It is Minky who goes back to work with the jolly members of the circus troupe. Equipped with the gadgets, and helped by the ninja troop, Minky and Mike go to Japan to rescue her and prevent the country's destruction. To be frank, the story is thin and the gags are stale. But I am an adult, and I am not sure how the kids, especially pre-teens, would find the film. The gags are mostly slapstick, all too familiar type like a fat lady rolling like a ball, and some parodies of the 007 films such as "Dr. No" and Ursula Andress and her famous beach scene. The cast include Emma Roberts (daughter of Eric Roberts, which means niece of Julia), Chris Potter, Richard Kind, Debra Jo Rupp, Michael Bailey Smith, Musetta Vender. Pat Morita appears as the master of Japanese ninja troop. But you know, it is Minky who steals the show. `Spymate' is an innocuous family picture. It is a low-budget romp trying to keep the ball rolling, but its unoriginality (except the chimpanzee) is painfully obvious. It is not awful, and some parts are amusing, but largely uninspired. This is a Widscreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
Behind-The-Scenes Featurette
Subtitles: English
Audio Tracks: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French

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