Generally unfavorable reviews - based on 31 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 31
  2. Negative: 15 out of 31
  1. Reviewed by: Carla Meyer
    A loose, lighthearted romp that's a notch above the usual buddy comedies.
  2. 63
    This is probably Murphy's best comedic performance since "Bowfinger." The adrenaline is pumping and the outrageousness is dialed all the way up. Murphy is often funny, and occasionally hilarious.
  3. The missing ingredient, of course, is script.
  4. 60
    No less than four screenwriters are credited, yet the script is filled with the usual clichés (hello, red digital readout!) and supposed twists that can be seen a mile away.
  5. 60
    Between spy training and sensitivity training, the two (Murphy/Wilson) prove nicely matched comic foils.
  6. 60
    I Spy confirms Wilson's ability to turn mediocre, mercenary endeavors into fun crowd-pleasers. Of course, Wilson starring in I Spy is like Phil Jackson coaching a junior-high basketball team, but as long as the results are this entertaining, it's doubtful audiences will care.
  7. 50
    The movie comes to life when Murphy and Wilson are trading one-liners, and then puts itself on hold for spy and action sequences of stunning banality.
  8. 50
    Up against the wit and teamwork of the sparkling TV original, this lame vehicle sputters and fades.
  9. TV's ''I Spy'' knew how to swing. The movie 'I Spy knows only how to scramble and string together moments of Murphy braggadocio and Wilson stoner-ocity, and the sweat shows.
  10. Too much of the humor falls flat. Thomas' numerous chase sequences through the streets, over the rooftops and through the airways of Budapest seem numbingly repetitive, and the script's reliance on castration gags betrays its overall lack of imagination.
  11. Reviewed by: Robert Koehler
    It's precisely the lineup of familiar past work that makes I Spy pretty dull goods, invigorated mainly by the sharp interplay between Murphy and Wilson, both of whom shine best when they have a sidekick to work with.
  12. 42
    We're talking mediocre-to-bad. Still, the film has at least two bits that are funnier than anything in many better films and a fair amount of mild amusement in between.
  13. Reviewed by: Steve Simels
    The real problem with the new film, however, is a certain lack of chemistry between the leads; Wilson is game, as always, but his part is seriously underwritten, and while Murphy raises trash talking to the level of a fine art, he seems to be operating in another movie altogether.
  14. 40
    Spoof or tongue in cheek update, the movie squanders the lion's share of its time on tired, cartoon-quality sequences choreographed around ho-hum chases and explosions. None possess the satiric zip of Austin Powers-style parody.
  15. Mostly I Spy, with more dead spots than a Jerry Lewis telethon, is content to mark time. That gives us, and perhaps the cast as well, the opportunity to reflect on how satisfying this film could have been if anyone had thought it worth their while to provide real material for the talent to work with.
  16. 40
    Buffeted by the usual car crashes and explosions, Wilson and Murphy never develop any comic chemistry.
  17. 38
    An overblown clunker full of bad jokes, howling cliches and by-the-numbers action sequences.
  18. Their (Murphy/Wilson) exchanges and interplay are so campy and over the top that I kept expecting them to pull out frying pans and start bopping each other over the head with them. I Spy is one just Stooge short of homage.
  19. The execution is so dumbed-down, so dumbfounding, that sophisticated moviegoers might confuse it for outtakes from "Spy Kids 2" and "XXX."
  20. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    I cry for I Spy— or I would if this latest and laziest imaginable of all vintage-TV spinoffs were capable of engendering an emotional response of any kind. Comas are physical, not emotional.
  21. 38
    The sex bits are flat, the racial innuendo is flatter, and somewhere, Cosby is having a Pudding Pop and shaking his head in disbelief.
  22. 30
    The movie is so thoroughly lousy. It's loud, brash and obvious, full of car chases and explosions and gunplay.
  23. 30
    Something lazy, slow, shallow, stupid, amateurish, unfunny, unsuspenseful, uninformed, unspeakably dull and witlessly written, directed and acted (the special effects suck, too).
  24. Reviewed by: Ed Park
    Though ample time is spent mingling Murphy's jabberjaw locutions and Wilson's curveball spaciness, the film leaves only the bitter reek of a botched chemistry experiment.
  25. 30
    Even the handful of moments that are amusing feel recycled from old sketches of Mr. Murphy's.
  26. Stinker doesn't begin to describe this movie's character -- both frenzied and dispiriting.
  27. 25
    Exhausts you with its derivative stupidity, leaving you weak and bored and weary of comedy that's not funny, action that's not exciting, dialogue that's not clever. It's not even an adequate rip-off of the TV show.
  28. 25
    Hollywood's Thanksgiving turkey arrives today - 27 days early - in the gobbling guise of the heavily hyped, brain-dead comedy, I Spy.
  29. 20
    Just plain dismal, an inexplicable mining of old, mid-level programming that has all the raging excitement of continental drift.
  30. Nothing is real, but at the same time, nothing is fake. Nothing is, period. You don't believe a second of it for a second, so banal and predictable is it.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 22 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 15
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 15
  3. Negative: 3 out of 15
  1. Feb 4, 2011
    I must have seen this movie at least a dozen times. I don't understand why the critics gave it such a low rating - I would recommend this movie to anyone! Full Review »
  2. ClarkW
    Aug 10, 2008
    A very funny movie. The banter between Wilson and Murphy is hilarious, and the actions scenes are entertaining and fun. It could use a bit more depth, but overall it is a very good action comedy buddy movie. Full Review »
  3. JohnB.
    Aug 4, 2007
    The critics don't seem to be able tell the difference in tone between Breach and Get Smart. This movie is no more unrealistic than the average James Bond film, but then this film is a comedy . It's supposed to make you laugh and it does, especially the riffs between Wilson and Murphy. Full Review »