Spymate: A Movie Review

By Jake 

To put this article into context, imagine that it is a 90 degrees day and you are a little buzzed. You are at your friend's apartment and she is leafing through Netflix's watch instantly feature trying to find something entertaining to watch. Out of the corner of your eye you see a movie with such an absurd title/premise that you have no option other than to watch it. The film is titled Spymate, and it is about a chimpanze spy.

From the opening scene this film grabs you by the throat and does not let go until your eyes roll back into your head and you have severe brain damage. Minky, the chimp spy, is walking through the desert, dressed in a flowing robe and turbin. He reaches a tented area and climbs up one. He cuts a hole in it and peers down onto his partner, Mike, who is being held hostage. As the villains advance toward Mike, Minky drops from the opening and quickly takes out a handful of the enemies using kung fu. He gets into a swordfight with one, which he wins using a very clever trick: ducking a hard sword swing that is looking for decapitation, causing the sword to stick into a wooden support beam, allowing Minky to easily knock him out. Minky and Mike flee, hop into a fan-propelled hangglider and get away as the tents explode from bombs Minky has planted.

This all happens within the first seven minutes! If this film could have kept up this lightning pace of ridiculous chimp action for its full running time, it would have made Gone with the Wind look like an autographed photo of Abe Vigoda. Sadly, a subplot involving circus freaks gets in the way of an otherwise solid entry into the chimp spy genre, but I'm getting a little ahead of myself.

Mike has decided to retire from spying and Minky has followed suit. Mike has a young daughter, Amelia (Emma Roberts), who happens to be the first child who has won the perstigious National Scientific Achievement Award. She has invented a chemical laser drill that will help extract the greatest energy man has ever seen, which is in the Earth's core.

Meanwhile, Minky has become one of America's top celebrities by headlining Circus Boreal. This circus is so exciting, so entertaining, that they can put the word "bore" into its name without people correlating their circus with tedium. As the ringmaster is announcing Minky at his only performance we are privy to see, he slaps on a jetpack and travels seemingly across the United States to make it to the circus before his introduction has finished. I have heard of birds flying, but never chimps, and yet this film has presented us with such a ludicrous event.

Dr. Farley, played by Oscar nominated actor Richard Kind, has developed a lifesize, working version of the chemical laser drill. Amelia and he share a special bond because he presented her with the National Scientific Achievement Award. When he asks Amelia to travel to Japan with him she is hardly reluctant, and she really wants to help get her laser drill working. Little does she know that she is being kidnapped.

When Mike finds out she has been taken to Japan, he and Minky come out of retirement for one last spying. They are joined by Minky's circus freak friends, who all have some sort of superpower like being fast or very fat. These are some of the worst characters I have ever seen in a film, they are fuzzy and "cutely" colored; they seem like Nickelodean's vomit.

Mike and Minky follow a semi-albino man, who is working with Dr. F, until they reach Japan. Then things like skateboarding and Pat Morita training a chimp to be a kung fu master happen. Minky already knows kung fu, and that knowledge is shown to us, not just in the earlier scene in the tent, but also in a fight against Pat Morita's stunt double. If you can find a scene that is shot as poorly as this one in any other film I would be so shocked that I would start convulsing and my eyes would explode out of my head.

Most likely you will not watch this film. It was just the perfect moment in time-- a few hours before grilling and the power going out, about 2 PM-- to view it. Spymate is a great pun title, and there is no arguing that, much like that nobody would argue that Spymate is a quality film. Yet, the opening seven minutes are pure genius.

This is perhaps the most deliberate movie I have seen. During the climax of the picture, Pat Morita shows up to offer help, he is heard to remark to Minky, "Thought you could use some kick butt assistance." Too much screen time is also given to Debra Jo Rupp, the mother on That 70s Show, falling down in a depressing display of slapstick comedy.

The movie ends with the president, played by Weekend at Bernie's II's Barry Bostwick, thanking Minky for his hard work and expressing his hopes that Minky will once again spy for the United States Government. I know I would rest easier knowing that a chimp super spy was protecting us from mad scientists and their ninja henchmen. I would rest even easier if they had not set up for a sequel!

I rate movies based on my overall enjoyment of the film. Even if the movie is technically bad, if I enjoy it I will give it a good rating because I liked it. It is not based on the overall quality of it. So a 5 would be the most mediocre movie possible and anything below that are various degrees of terrible, anything above it are degrees of goodness.

I give this movie a 4 out of 10. It is truly awful and mostly boring. The opening scene was hilarious, but sadly the film was extremely frontloaded. This is the usual problem with chimpanze movies.


  1. Nickelodeon's vomit is slime.

    You are the next Roger Ebert.

  2. Richard Kind was not nominated for a fucking Oscar!

    Also, this film misrepresents what is at the center of the Earth and the film's financial backers know it.

  3. 2 out of 10. I wouldn't make anyone I didn't hate watch this movie. I think I read a book during most of it because it was just a little too surreal to be watching at the time.

  4. this is great jake! i'm going to watch the movie now though.