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  • Writer's pictureS.J.

Quick Reviews: 'Spies In Disguise', 'Seberg' | Spy Comedy, Kristen Stewart, Biographical Thriller

Walter looking at Lance Sterling, Kristen Stewart at a bar
Spies In Disguise (L), Seberg (R)


Flying like a pigeon so under the radar in December, Spies In Disguise directed by Troy Quane and Nick Bruno threw its hat in the ring of animated films. Unashamedly having reference points in spy franchises of Bond and Mission Impossible, it follows a superstar spy Lance Sterling (Will Smith) and Walter (Tom Holland) in their fight against a terrorist and shapeshifting. There isn’t much that will surprise you as the movie definitely succeeds in being a kid distraction and doesn’t offer much else on top of that.

Plenty of humour here is smart and funny but at the end it does beg the question: who is it really for? There’s certainly some adult humour thrown in to get a laugh from the older crowd but at the same time they’re so wild that kids will be missing punchlines left and right. And when it is combined with visual gags that’ll surely please the youngsters, parents will probably find themselves laughing at totally different points. The film does however narrowly avoid being a forgettable piece of entertainment as it does offer some academic lessons and teaches being proud of your interests, no matter the opinions of others.

The specific animation style on the screen is very much subjective whether you find it pleasing. To me personally, the designs of characters’ bodies and buildings is an eyesore and the way they move in animation isn’t smooth to look at all. It’s done both better and worse before in other movies as well and I still don’t vibe with it. Speaking of other movies, Spies In Disguise follows the common story beats that you’ve seen before and as of writing this review, I find it really hard to remember anything special about it. The movie is perfectly fine entertainment for kids which is never a bad thing, I doubt though that rewatchability is high with this one.

Smileys: Humour

Frowneys: Character design, originality

Hard to believe that ”pigeons aren’t fun to follow in any movie” wasn’t the first item on the story document. Apparently no one said it.


A pigeon, Walter and Lance Sterling inside a vehicle
20th Century Fox


Have you missed biopics or any resemblances of them after seeing a bunch during the last couple of years? Seberg is there, I guess. Taking flourishes from crime dramas and thrillers, we follow actress Jean Seberg’s (Kristen Stewart) life from France to USA as she gets tangled into an invisible fight with the FBI. Even having so much of Seberg’s interesting life to draw from, the movie is never able to catch fire so to speak but just turns into a series of shots from hundred different places.

Some neat production design work is shown though. I don’t know how based on realism Seberg’s glass house is but on screen it offers a lot to look at. Similarly the FBI sweatshop looks great and gritty and is portrayed as this dark side of the film compared to the natural lightness of the house. Much of the acting is pretty much wasted as Stewart, Vince Vaughn (as Carl Kowalski) and Zazie Beets’ (Dorothy Jamal) performances could’ve been incredible with the right material in hand. Script is unbearably dull, making every conversations boring and over-explanatory. The FBI investigation and smearing turns into a comedic shouting match.

Director Benedict Andrews never really seems to have a grip on the story. Actor’s movements around the spaces are slow and clunky, like they’re given freedom to do whatever but are afraid of stepping out of the middle of the frame. Tone is never here or there, serious issues like suicidal tendencies, self-harm and deteriorating mental health due to federal hounding are brushed aside. Instead time is wasted on FBI agent Jack Solomon (Jack O’Connell) and his weird family life. Why is this so much about him when we don’t know anything about him and the movie’s name is Seberg? Seberg the film is a blended drink and the maker has no idea about its ingredients.

Smileys: Production design

Frowneys: Directing, screenplay

Pretty sure that there wasn’t a single riveting scene.


Kristen Stewart in a bar
Amazon Studios

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