It’s exactly what it looks like. So this is about an aspiring writer (Kevin James). He has put together a new spy novel, but due to a publishing mix up, it gets released as non-fiction. Being that he did research with an actual spy, he gets mistaken for the real-life spy that he mentions in his book, and through happenstance, he ends up in the middle of a revolutionary war in Venezuela, playing three sides against each other. If there is one thing I can appreciate about this movie, it is the fact that it realizes how implausible it would be for Kevin James to be anything other than the goofy fat guy that falls down a lot; it knows that there isn’t a single person out there watching that can buy this, so it lets you know early on that it understands. It opens with James being featured in an action sequence, but it isn’t long before you realize that he’s actually just at a computer, typing into a word processing program.
You take a look at a poster for this and you just assume that Kevin James wants to be James Bond. It’s not that.
While this is not even in the running to being considered to be the worst that 2016 has shown thus far, it still doesn’t have a whole lot to offer. It’s just your standard mistaken identity action movie, and you have already seen everything this movie has to offer in superior movies like True Lies or North by Northwest. I do realize that simply by mentioning True Memoirs in the same sentence as those movies catapults its worth to unmerited territories, but it is what it is. Now Kevin James is definitely a student from the Adam Sandler school of movie making to be sure, but I give him more credit than Sandler. When he shows up for one of Sandler movies, it is terrible for everyone involved, but when he makes one of his own movies, he at least tries. Sure, it’s the same note over and over again, but it’s not just a cash grab and a vacation write off, and he at least makes a movie with a story you can stomach.
If it was your movie, wouldn’t you make it so you get a girl who is ridiculously far out of your league, too?
Another place where I award minor points is the decision to release this straight to Netflix. If this got a theatrical release, I would be a bit peeved for the delusions of grandeur, but because he has the common sense to go straight to home market, it actually shows maturity and self-awareness. The material itself doesn’t have a whole lot of laughs, and it is as simple as can be with tons of mugging for the camera. It is stupid when you stop to think about it, but it is over so fast that it is kind of hard to truly hate.
True Memoirs of an International Assassin (2016) **
– Critic for Hire