• by Wes Singleton

Spies in Disguise - B-

Rated PG, 104 minutes

"Spies in Disguise" is silly, colorful fun that isn't anything new in terms of animation, but will still please the young set its aimed for

Famous super spy Lance Sterling (Will Smith) protects us from grave threats, who often counts on the scientific smarts of young Walter Beckett ("Spider-Man's" Tom Holland) to help him successfully complete his missions, However, when Beckett attempts to introduce his newest invention, Sterling accidentally ingests it and turns him into a pigeon. He must now work with Beckett to save the world from a cybernetic madman ("Bloodline" character actor Ben Mendelsohn) as pigeon.

"Spies in Disguise" is an enjoyable, well-cast piece of puffery and hardly anything earth-shattering in terms of spies or animation, provided by Fox's Blue Sky Studios. It still features "Suicide Squad" star Smith, charming as ever as the lead spy, and is paired well with Holland, a seemingly perfect voice fit for the nerdy Beckett. "Spies" is co-directed by Troy Quane and Nick Bruno in their feature debuts, and co-written by Lloyd Taylor and "Arrested Development's" Brad Copeland, and based on a 2009 animated short "Pigeon: Impossible" by Lucas Martell.

Interestingly, "Spies" tends to channel Smith's own "Men in Black" with a little "Mission: Impossible" (sans Tom Cruise) thrown in for good measure. There's some laughs to be had, especially when Smith's character is turned into a pigeon; however, the uneven story sputters a little in reaching its destination, taking too much time for laughs, and some of the action set pieces, with a handful of genuinely funny moments, seem like filler until the climax, with a showdown.

Aside from Smith, Holland and Mendelsohn, you're bound to recognize country music superstar Reba McIntire as the CIA director, while DJ Khaled, Rashia Jones and "Jumanji's" Karen Gillan providing some additional support. Most of those pigeons assisting the good guys get most of the biggest laughs, particularly when it involves body parts or ingesting certain items not intended for ingesting.

"Spies in Disguise" isn't perfect and occasionally misses its mark, but it's good, silly fun for the young ones. While it pulls few surprises from its sleeve, it should most please the young ones in your family, and that's all that counts here.


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