In case you've already hung out with those blue-skinned Na'vi in Avatar, this week brings funny man/action maestro Jackie Chan back to the cineplex
as The Spy Next
Door. Our favorite kung fu comic may be new to mixing espionage and punchlines, but his project is only part of a long-standing tradition of Hollywood spy comedies. Click through for 10 of our all-time favorites...
By Chuck Walton
In between gigs as Gilbert the Geek in Revenge of the Nerds and high-flying Goose in Top
Gun, Anthony Edwards landed this cool little movie as a paintball campus gunslinger who accidentally gets involved with the real spy world when he hooks up with sexy agent Linda
Fiorentino on a trip to Paris. Think of it as an '80s version of TV's "Chuck", with a little more
seduction and a lot more feathered haircuts.
9. Spies Like Us
Another '80s cult curiosity, Spies Like Us pairs Animal House director John Landis with SNL vets Dan Aykroyd and Chevy Chase. Enjoy the imminently hummable title tune by Sir Paul McCartney, and revel in the absoutely inane shenanigans of Aykroyd's bookwormish
Austin Millbarge and Chase's clueless Emmett Fitz-Hume.
8. Casino Royale
Before the excellent version starring Daniel Craig, Casino Royale was a 1967 spy comedy starring David Niven as James Bond alongside an all-star cast including Peter Sellers, Woody Allen and original Bond babe Ursula Andress. The psychedelic affair, which was
directed by multiple filmmakers and featured a plot involving six different James Bonds, was a bit of a mess...but a highly entertaining mess.
7. The Tailor of Panama
Once upon a time, Pierce Brosnan played a spy...who wasn't 007. Here, in a movie based on John LeCarre's spy novel, Brosnan is Andy Osnard, an MI6 agent banished to Panama after some extracurricular dalliances. Along with devious tailor Geoffrey Rush, who agrees to spy for Osnard by gaining information on his wife's employer, Osnard may - or may not - be able to get back into his Majesty's good graces.
6. Mr. and Mrs. Smith
Mix together the best-looking couple on the planet, a bunch of heavy artillery, a director hot off The Bourne Identity, and a cute concept about married assassins who finally find out each other's occupations, and - voila! - you've got the makings of a spy com classic. The fact that Mr. and Mrs. Pitt-Jolie were generating sparks in real life is only sweet icing on the cake.
5. Our Man Flint
Z.O.W.I.E.! Long before Austin Powers, James Coburn was cooler than cool as agent Derek Flint, an intentional parody of James Bond back in the mid-'60s. In Our Man Flint and its sequel In
Like Flint, Coburn's uber spy beds the babes and takes out terrorists without hardly breaking a
sweat. The next time bad guys try to take out the planet by creating a weather-control machine, you'll know who to call.
4. Burn After Reading
Leave it to the Coens to devise a spy com that's as funny as it is pitch black. John Malkovich is great as a CIA analyst gone loco, and George Clooney deserves credit for his Treasury agent who devolves into stark paranoia, but we give ultimate thanks to whichever movie god helped Pitt fashion his dumber than dumb gym employee, who ends up in way, way, way over his head.
3. Confessions of a Dangerous Mind
George Clooney the director is just as tapped into states of paranoia as George Clooney's character in Burn After Reading. Confessions tells the outrageous life story
of one Chuck Barris, known to millions as host of the Gong Show, and known to himself as an
assassin for the CIA. For real? Well, real funny, at least.
2. Top Secret
You've got to love a movie whose tagline is "Movie? What movie?" So it goes with this ingenious spy
com from the makers of Airplane, starring Val Kilmer as an Elvis Presley type pop idol who
lands in WW-II era East Germany for a cultural festival, only to become part of a madcap resistance
movement. Comic targets include The Wizard of Oz, The Sound of
Music, and '80s touchstones like Pac-Man and The Blue Lagoon.
1. Austin Powers
Yeah, baby, yeah! In the year 1997, a movie hero of enviable proportions - buck teeth, flamboyant wardrobe - was born. After being de-thawed from a cryogenic state to wreak all kinds of groovy on the 1990s, Austin Powers spawned multiple sequels and pop culture catchphrases, all while bagging such A-list beauties as Elizabeth Hurley, Heather Graham and Beyonce. James Bond, eat your heart out!