25 September 2000 | NewYorkLondonParisMunich
Please, no more reunions...?
My wife didn't catch the name of the movie when it started playing on Bulgarian national TV tonight. I checked the listings, and found something like "The Spy Comes Back". I started watching, and found Bill Cosby as some sort of aging spy acting foolishly. "Oh, no," I thought..."it's 'Leonard, Part 6'!" I was relieved to find I was mistaken, and the movie was "I Spy Returns". The relief didn't last long, though.
The premise is, Robert Culp and Bill Cosby are now much older, and their son and daughter, respectively, have joined whatever spy agency they worked for. The aging dads follow their kids around on their first field assignment to make sure they're safe. Hilarity ensues.
The movie stops dead during the long, long, long banter-and-bicker scenes between Mr. Culp and Mr. Cosby. And there's not much more to the story beyond the bantering and bickering. A few horribly choreographed action scenes (when you yell the single word "freeze!" at someone in Vienna, will they understand you're telling them in English to stop moving or be shot?), and bantering and bickering, and ...ummm, I can't think of anything else.
But that's the point of TV reunion movies, I guess: to see what the actors look like today, 25 years after they were in prime time. If there's actually a plot, interesting characters, strong dialogue, or even a semblance of intelligence, it's a bonus. "I Spy Returns" aims for the bare minimum, nothing more. Yes, Mr. Culp and Mr. Cosby have indeed aged, and no, there's no other reason to see this movie.