Parents' Guide to

Spy Hard

By Alistair Lawrence, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Spoof action movie has slapstick violence, innuendo.

Movie PG-13 1996 81 minutes
Spy Hard Poster Image

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This spy parody from 1996 feels very much of its time. Spy Hard's comedic take on the cliches of early Mission: Impossible and James Bond installments do highlight some of the flaws that have since been addressed in later movies of those franchises. Yet it doesn't appear to be self-aware enough to recognize that its own female characters are still under-utilized and sidelined. This, coupled with multiple scenes that parody Sister Act, Home Alone, and Pulp Fiction, which slows its second half, might make it a slightly confusing watch for anyone who hasn't done their 1990s cinematic homework.

Nielsen does a reliable job as agent Dick Steele, burning through pages of throwaway jokes with his famous deadpan delivery. But anyone who's seen his own iconic roles in Airplane!, Police Squad, and the Naked Gun trilogy is unlikely to view this as much more than a career footnote. Two of the movie's writers, Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer, penned Scary Movie (released the same year) and a succession of forgettable, similar titles. Sometimes it really is best to stick with the classics.

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