Junior High Spy

Movie review by
Barbara Shulgas..., Common Sense Media
Junior High Spy Movie Poster Image
Poorly made, cringe-inducing spy adventure is awful.
  • NR
  • 2011
  • 87 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

"There's nothing wrong with confidence as long as you don't underestimate your opponent."

Positive Role Models & Representations

A 10-year-old is a computer hacker and technical genius. He says about a teenage girl, "Who's the goddess by the barn? That's a heavenly body if I've ever seen one." He wants to pick up girls at a party. He breaks into someone's house.

Violence

Ricky attacks a bad guy in a martial arts fight with pool cues. Jack and Kate stick a trash can over a bad guy's head, then beat the can with a rubber baton. The fighting is unrealistic and cartoonish.

Sex

Ricky briefly kisses Kylie. Jack makes remarks about Kate's attractiveness and gets a peck on the cheek from her.

Language

"Punk," "snitch," "gnome," "stinky pants," "toad," "twerp," "perv," "oaf," "backside."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Adults drink at a cocktail party.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Junior High Spy has a fun premise -- a teen boy learns surveillance techniques and other tricks of the trade from his FBI agent dad and then has to use them when his dad is mysteriously kidnapped. But that's about as good as it gets. Everything about the movie is dreadfully amateurish and cringe-inducing, from the script to the acting to the direction. The teen photographs a pretty girl, dances with her, and finally kisses her briefly, and a couple of fistfights occur before and after the kidnapping. Expect some name-calling, including "punk," "snitch," "gnome," "stinky pants," "toad," "twerp," "perv," "oaf," and "backside."

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What's the story?

Ricky (Christopher Fazio) is the JUNIOR HIGH SPY of the title. When his FBI agent dad is kidnapped, he uses the skills his dad taught him to break up a sham Costa Rican charity that is covering for a smuggling ring. Ricky enlists the help of a local girl named Kylie (Mikayla Ottonello) and a precocious 10-year-old techie named Jack (Matthew Downs). We are never told why the agent is kidnapped, nor what the kidnappers have planned for him, nor what was being smuggled.

Is it any good?

The amateurishness of this enterprise reminds viewers of how good even the worst studio movies are, at least from a technical point of view. This feels a lot like a 1970s Super 8 home movie, only more awkward and embarrassing in that the filmmakers decided to share it with the world rather than only forcing family and friends to watch. The script (a lot of instances of "aw, Mom"), acting, camera work, and, especially, direction are all laughably dreadful. If you see this one in the dollar bin at a garage sale, save your money.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the movie's intended audience. Who is most likely to enjoy this movie? Are there audiences who might not like this movie? Why?

  • How is the acting here? Name things the viewer can see that indicate the actors are inexperienced.

  • What do you think is more important in determining the quality of a movie, a bad script or inexperienced acting?

Movie details

Themes & Topics

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