Saturday, September 24, 2016

Spies Like Us (1985)

The Defense Intelligence Agency has a problem.  They’ve been sending their best spies in to Soviet-controlled Asia, yet all of them are killed before reaching their target.  The DIA’s solution is to send in two of their worst spies as decoys.  Hopefully, this will throw off the enemy long enough for the actual spies to complete their mission.  This is where Dan Aykroyd and Chevy Chase come in.  They play Austin Millbarge and Emmett Fitz-Hume, respectively.

Millbarge is a code breaker that’s stuck in a basement and will probably never be promoted.  Fitz-Hume is a legacy employee and will probably never be promoted.   Both want to take the foreign service exam, although for different reasons.  Millbarge is smart and driven enough that he might pass, but Fitz-Hume gets both of them kicked out for cheating.  The DIA realizes that they have their decoys.

Millbarge and Fitz-Hume are told just enough that they could believe that they’d be useful.  They’re rushed through basic training.  They’re given just enough details that they know where to go, but not enough to let them complete their given mission.  That much doesn’t even become apparent until they’re in the thick of things.  Hopefully, the Soviets will see the two of them bumbling around and capture them.

This was one of those movies that I sort of remembered watching at some point in the past.  There’s a good reason for this.  The movie was released in 1985 and is dated.  The Soviet Union has since dissolved.   Many of the computers look like something out of a history book.  Even the image of a spy is like something out of the 80s.  It’s a very goofy movie, as you might expect from Aykroyd and Chase.  There’s one scene where Millbarge and Fitz-Hume are talking to a group of doctors, posing as doctors themselves.  Everyone greets each other as doctor. It’s a minute of people just saying, “Doctor,” to each other.

I’ve always wondered what actual spies/operatives even would think of movies like this.  I know it’s supposed to be a comedy.  Accuracy often takes a back seat to comedy.  In that regard, you’re probably going to get some laughs out of the movie.  I’m not sure what those younger than me would think of the movie.  This is something I could see someone my age watching with their kids where the parents laugh and the kids don’t quite get it.  This movie was definitely a product of its time.

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