Spies Like Us - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Spies Like Us Reviews

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½ May 17, 2019
Spies like us is cleverly directed by John Landis and stars Chevy Chase and Dan Aykroyd. The highlight for me is the hilarious scene where Chevy ( Emmet Fitzhume) and Aykroyd ( Austin Milbarge) are taking the Foreign Service Board exam. This movie is classic comedy with Chevy bumbling and goofing his way through each scene and Dan playing it straight. Donna Dixon, Frank Oz and Terry Gilliam co-star in this ridiculous cloak and dagger comedy.
February 26, 2019
o me, this is absolutely one of the best of its time. Full of clever jokes, hilarious gags and great comedic timing, it shows Aykroyd and Chase in their prime. I cant begin to tell you what a comedic gem this film is and its rather sad that not many people are aware of it. This is one that rewards multiple viewings and with each one you will find more and more fun bits throughout. To this day I havent looked at an abandoned drive through theater the same way, you ll know what I mean when you finally watch the film. https://latetothegame.blog/2018/12/13/key-movies-of-my-life-spies-like-us-1985/
Super Reviewer
October 31, 2018
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.
February 1, 2018
A classic 80's comedy. Chevy Chase and Dan Aykroyd are trying to be spies during the height of the Cold War era. It's a funny movie.
October 11, 2017
A truly terrible film, I saw it upon it's UK theatre release in 1986. So traumatised was I by it's unrelenting awfulness that I have never again visited a cinema since.
½ October 11, 2017
Spies Like Us is in a long line of 80s comedies that feature screw-ups accidentally getting an important job despite themselves. For some reason this was never one that I got into my regular rotation growing up, so it doesn?t have as much nostalgic draw as other films of the same style. It is definitely one of those movies where the creators beg you to just go with the flow and accept that highly illogical stuff will happen and no one will bat an eye. It?s not quite farcical comedy, but it?s riding pretty close to that line. Chevy Chase and Dan Aykroyd are totally funny together, and each embrace their characters and the humor of the situation. I?m never sure why these two guys form a strong bond with one another, but it works for the sake of the story, and I always end up liking them. The big flaw in Spies Like Us is that it couldn?t commit to how seriously it was going to take the story. At times there is some action and even some perceivable drama, but then they start cracking jokes and making light of the idea of nuclear war. They either need to take it super serious and allow us to laugh at the juxtaposition of silly things happening with huge stakes, or take it super silly and remove any sting. It makes the movie just a bit conflicted and takes it down a peg for me. But Spies Like Us is definitely good for some laughs and I will watch it anytime I catch it on TV.
August 17, 2017
The film has some very funny moments (particularly in the first half) but then meanders around without a real purpose. Dan Akroyd and Chevy Chase both have distinct characters set up well, but the film then fails to utilize their talents. Like Chevy's truly divine gift for bullshit, which quickly decays into just a willingness to sell out at the drop of a hat (although the "we'll take a finger for every lie you tell" "whose? Yours or mine?" line was played really well). Or Akroyd's super tech abilities, which spontaneously appear only occasionally.
Super Reviewer
½ August 5, 2017
There was a time when certain movies could be rolled out into the cinemas solely depending on a handful of [i]Saturday Night Live[/i] performers. These movies didn't necessarily have to be overly interesting, the plot could be thin on the ground, and the characters could be one dimensional. All that was needed was to see these guys doing their thing, their shtick. The studios knew that was enough to generate ticket sales.

In this comic caper Dan Aykroyd and Chevy Chase play somewhat mis-matched, yet strangely well matched, low key government workers that both undertake a foreign service exam to better themselves. After being caught cheating in a highly embarrassing display of lunacy, the pair are amazingly promoted to foreign service operatives. Turns out that some underhanded DIA folk need decoy agents to protect their real agents out in the field (the field being Soviet Asia). So in thinking they have a real mission to carry out, the bumbling duo are dropped behind enemy lines to basically lead the Soviets on a wild goose chase.

So the plot revolves around the old enemy, the dastardly USSR, arch nemesis to the good old US of A. Going into Russian territory, arming an intercontinental ballistic missile, launching it and then testing a missile defence system. What could possibly go wrong? Turns out the predictable does in fact happen but luckily our inept heroes save the day. Does anything happen much in between this? Well not really truth be told, the entire movie is very much stringed together with a series of skits, or so it seems. This isn't a bad thing but just don't go expecting anything amazing plot wise that's all, this is a bare bones tale.

So lets look at our heroes. Dan Aykroyd is Austin Millbarge (great name), a very clever and innovative codebreaker who works at the Pentagon. Bottom line this is the type of character you've come to expect from Aykroyd because its clearly his own persona. He's clearly very smart, a fast thinker and fast talker who can reel off large chunks of dialog in a robotic fashion. Likewise Chevy Chase plays Emmett Fitz-Hume, an easy going, loveable rogue who's a bit of a coward, a bit slow at times and a ladies man. Now I wouldn't say Chase is all this in reality but he certainly comes across like an easy going, loveable rogue and ladies man. Overall both characters show promise but also display remarkable ineptitude.

I love both characters introductions, Millbarge working in this rather curious factory-like part of the Pentagon surrounded by his work. To look at he comes across as nothing more than a messy, going nowhere, slob. But we quickly learn this guy is a technical whizkid. On the other hand we find Fitz-Hume lounging at his desk, headphones on, watching a movie. When asked about his upcoming exam he merely brushes it off as a forgone conclusion. When we get to the actual exam we are offered the first glimpses of how fecking hilarious this movie will be. Aykroyd and Chase work off each other flawlessly in this sequence, its fantastic. I adore how Fitz-Hume has all these little compartments where he's hiding answers (an eyepatch and arm cast). 'What does K.G.B. stand for?' is written on a bit of paper he slips to Millbarge. Then when he eventually play acts a nervous breakdown merely to grab other people's answer sheets, gloriously cheesy Chase.

The next classic segment would be the training montage where both men are put through their paces double time. Apart from how adorably dated everything looks this is also an opportunity for some quick visual gags. The obligatory obstacle course, being shot at above and below water, radical vertical impact simulation, high-G training in a centrifuge, staying afloat, extreme heat tests etc...Customary military training type stuff. What is kinda amusing is the way they both got to the training facility. Thrown out of a plane (with parachute), only to both land in the exact same spot which just happens to be the training grounds.

The movie does move fast and before you know it we are in the deserts of Pakistan for more hijinks. Naturally the duo get captured by the locals but are saved by two other westerners who conveniently turn out to be the real DIA agents. Of course one of them is a hot blonde (Donna Dixon) so you know what comes next with Chase's character. The duo end up impersonating doctors for the most part at this stage and its a hoot. A very amusing operation sequence, some sexual innuendo, topped off with a small chase sequence and its off to Russia by camel. This is where the movie does start to falter somewhat, it slows right down and loses its comedic impetus. This is probably because the plot has to focus more on the whole missile launching angle from the military types in their US bunker.

It does seem pretty reckless doesn't it, sending agents into the USSR to launch one of their ballistic missiles only to test your own missile defence system. And the fact that this missile is targeted at the USA! Why not just launch one of your own missiles which isn't pointed at your own country? Any way its very dumb and does kinda spoil the whole ham-fisted spies side of things. This is where many of the plot holes become more apparent also. At the end the US Army Rangers eventually burst into the rogue bunker, but how did they know where it was? Plus how did these DIA folk manage to pull of such a feat as this without anyone finding out?? They knew there was a risk of global thermonuclear war if their missile defence system missed its target...but they went ahead anyway?? All to preserve the 'American way of life'?! Surely there wouldn't be much life left after a nuclear war, and all the military personnel in this bunker agreed to this??

The ending is also rather poor and a letdown. After all the missile has been safely sent off into space via Millbarge's technical reprogramming and the DIA bunker stormed, we later find Millbarge and Fitz-Hume now promoted as nuclear disarmament negotiators. But the weird thing is, the Russian soldiers they fought off to launch the missile back in Russia, are somehow representing the USSR in these talks? So...were the Russians promoted too? If so...why would they have been promoted? Or were they originally nuclear negotiators? Also they all seem to be playing some kind of [i]Risk[/i] board game to negotiate? Like...huh??!! Apparently this was a reshot happy ending, clearly the wrong choice methinks.

The location work is terrific it has to be said. Apparently they filmed in Morocco and Norway for Pakistan and Russia but in all honesty it all looks authentic enough to me. This movie is surprisingly good looking considering what it is. With that in mind, even though you might think this was a run-of-the-mill comedy top heavy with slapstick (which it is), its also quite a clever little movie. Director John Landis has injected some nice wit into the proceedings along with nice visuals, nice effects (for the time) and a whole host of cameos that you might not even realise on a first viewing. Aykroyd and Chase are also on winning form with some cracking quick-fire one-liners that can't fail to make you smile. This isn't a perfect comedy and its not a thrilling adventure, but it has a good energy to it. If anyone is looking for the epitome of a classic 80's screwball comedy, you can't go wrong here.
½ July 23, 2017
From the very start I hated this movie. The jokes were lame. After this movie Chevy Chase's career took a major nose dive.
½ December 26, 2016
not bad has some really funny parts in it
November 29, 2016
Fun and nostalgic movie.
½ November 27, 2016
Strained updating of the Hope, Crosby "ROAD to..." pictures. Hope has a great cameo, otherwise nothing special or particularly note-worthy.
½ November 5, 2016
I expected a lot more from the subversive sense of humor that John Landis brought to his films, and I certainly had high hopes for Dan Aykroyd and Chevy Chase in their primes. But the laughs in "Spies Like Us" are few and far between. Perhaps the movie takes itself too seriously, but most of the jokes just miss the target.
October 14, 2016
Shame on those who gave this less than four stars, I dont think they understand why movies are made. This is classic comedy and will never get old.
September 16, 2016
John Landis directs Dan Aykroyd and Chevy Chase in Spies Like Us. Chase and Aykroyd are two spies looking for some action. The CIA decides to deploy them as decoy agents to keep the heat two good agents who have an actual chance of sustaining. The mission is to infiltrate Russia and stop a nuclear bomb. Little does the CIA know that these two might offer more than they bargained for. The movie is quite hoaky and does not offer many laughs. One of the only good scenes involve Chase in a scene where he tries several different tactics to cheat on the initial exam. The film features big names, but does not have much else beyond that, and this film can be easily missed.
August 12, 2016
The story isn't the best, but Spies Like Us is an entertaining film. Aren't movies for entertainment?
But it lacks strong direction, its a mediocre story and an alright script.
It definitely could've been better.
August 12, 2016
They don't make em like they used to
Super Reviewer
½ August 5, 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.
August 1, 2016
Criminally underrated to this day as this movie was during the height of Chevy Chase's comedic powers. His facial expressions alone are fucking hilarious. And this was way before Akyroid became a sell-out huckster assclown. If you dig 80's comedies check this one out Doctor.
July 30, 2016
- Watched yet again. Super cheesy, but fun film with Chevy Chase and Dan Aykroyd in their prime. Good for a few laughs!

- Had to watch again, not the best film, but it's fun. Nice seeing Akroyd and Chase in their prime. Also, many director cameos: Joel Coen, Sam Raimi, Martin Brest, Costas Gravas, Frank Oz and more. Give it a try.

- Not great, but it is fairly amusing. Fun watching Chevy and Dan together...
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