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Despite the comedic prowess of its director and two leads, Spies Like Us appears to disavow all knowledge of how to make the viewer laugh. Read critic reviews

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Movie Info

Looking for a way out of their mundane government jobs, Austin Millbarge (Dan Aykroyd) and Emmett Fitz-Hume (Chevy Chase) take the entrance exam for a CIA espionage program. Immediately chosen to take part in a top-secret mission in the Middle East by the officious Gen. Sline (Steve Forrest), the new recruits are set upon by Soviet forces in Afghanistan. Soon it becomes clear that the hapless pair are being used as decoys to expose the Russians for a Cold War nuclear showdown.

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Critic Reviews for Spies Like Us

All Critics (25) | Top Critics (4) | Fresh (8) | Rotten (17)

  • That Chase is godawful is no surprise -- he's been running on empty for years with variations on that tired "I'm Chevy Chase and you're not" riff.

    January 2, 2018 | Full Review…
  • Landis never bothers to account for the friendship that springs up spontaneously between these two antipathetic types, but then he never bothers to account for anything in this loose progression of recycled Abbott and Costello riffs.

    March 26, 2009 | Full Review…
  • The script is so patchy that most of the genuine laughs are squeezed into the first half; the rest is a rather tacky and confused extended joke about the nuclear arms race.

    June 24, 2006 | Full Review…
  • There are seeds of something funny in the film's beginning and in its premise, but they are soon dissipated by so little sustained wit, and so much scenery.

    May 20, 2003 | Rating: 1.5/5
  • Dated '80s comedy has strong language, few laughs.

    February 6, 2018 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…
  • Landis' direction is indulgent, to say the least, with big landscapes, big crashes, big hardware, and big gags filling the screen. What he forgets is character development, that all-important factor that must exist for comedy to work well.

    January 14, 2011 | Rating: 1/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Spies Like Us

  • Aug 05, 2016
    You know, once I saw this on Netflix, I knew I was gonna watch it that same night, there was absolutely no hesitation from my part. I mean it's Chevy Chase and Dan Aykroyd working in the same movie when both were at their peak as comedians. What could go wrong? Yea, the reviews at the time weren't that kind, but sometimes films end up aging better than one might have imagined. And, to be fair, time has been kinder to this film when it comes to critics' and audience's reception. But, if I'm being completely honest, time legitimately has not been kind to this movie. I bet that if I was around in 1985, when this film was released, I would've probably thought it was a really funny movie. And I'm not saying that there aren't parts of it that aren't funny, because that would be a lie, but I found it to be a totally inconsistent movie when it comes to laughs. I think part of the novelty, to me, is seeing Dan Aykroyd and Chevy Chase in the same film together. Both worked with a lot of the same people, but I don't think I had ever seen them in the same film together. So, honestly, more than anything else, it was that and seeing how those two would work together. And, if I'm being honest, I just felt there was something missing from their chemistry. They're good together, of course, don't get me wrong, but it's not quite as genius a comedic pairing as one might have imagined. Both guys, like I mentioned, were at their peak in the 80s, particularly Chevy, who went on to have a near career-ending drop in the 90s. It might as well have been career ending, cause outside of appearing in Community for like three or four seasons (and getting fired from said show because everyone hated working with him), Chevy has done literally nothing. Anyway, the point is the fact that both were at the top of their game in the 80s and this movie really doesn't reflect the quality of the two comedians. Though, to me, part of the film's flaws can be traced back to the script. The first half of it, when Emmett and Austin find themselves in Pakistan, is when the film is at its best. The film does lose its steam when they cross the border into the Soviet Union. I just don't know what it was, but it's like they ran out of ideas or ways to put Emmett and Austin into absurd situations. The film does have a story and Emmett and Austin have to 'save the world', as it were, but it's literally so minimal that it might as well just have been a series of skits without any effort put into an actual story. Though this movie does have something that resemble more of a narrative than some of Adam Sandler's worst films. So, at the very least, this is better than that. I dream movies with more of a narrative than Sandler's worst. Not saying this is bad, not even close, it's only just average. But considering the people in this movie, it should have been world's better. Nothing else I can really say about this. It should've been funnier, but it's got a nostalgic tone and Chevy Chase and Dan Aykroyd, while not being as great a comedic duo as their names might suggest, still have enough solid chemistry to carry a lot this. Not without its flaws, but it's a perfectly harmless movie to watch.
    Jesse O Super Reviewer
  • Mar 31, 2014
    Chevy Chase and Dan Aykroyd team up for the Cold War comedy Spies Like Us. Two incompetent government employees are fast-tracked through spy training in order to act as decoys in a top secret mission. Co-written by Aykroyd, the comedy is well-done and has some clever satire about the military. However, the film kind of falls apart in the last act and at times the story is sacrificed for jokes. Spies Like Us has some problems, but it's very much a comedy of its time.
    Dann M Super Reviewer
  • Aug 07, 2011
    I enjoyed the film for what it was and considering the talent it should have been a much better film. John Landis the filmmaker has had a checkered career of hits and misses, one truly horrible Beverly Hills Cop sequel. He has a fun concept here but the comedy and the overall arc of the storyline is a little off. The key to the film is Chase and Aykroyd who are quite good and never appear to be coasting. The comedy strives for some dark political satire but it does not achieve this and struggles to maintain interest in the end of the world plot device. I have heard this was going to be a very different movie and I think it should have been that film, this one gets lost in the hybrid genre. A missed opportunity here. 30/10/2018.
    Brendan N Super Reviewer
  • Jul 13, 2011
    it's has some of it's moments, and it may be funny, but it's just lost on it's own. C-
    Juan C Super Reviewer

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