The Fan-Favorite Adventure Buddy Comedy With Two SNL Stars No One Ever Talks About

By Brian Myers | Published

Chevy Chase and Dan Aykroyd grew from their roots as early players on the NBC hit show Saturday Night Live and quickly gained notoriety as two of the industries greatest comedic film actors. Chase’s Caddyshack and Fletch and Aykroyd’s Ghostbusters and Neighbors made them hot commodities in the 1980s and attracted the attention of film director John Landis. In 1985, Landis cast the two actors together in Spies Like Us, a film that’s half buddy comedy, half spy saga, and all laughs. 

Spies Like Us

dan aykroyd chevy chase

Spies Like Us follows Emmett Fitz-Hume (Chevy Chase) and Austin Millibarge (Dan Aykroyd), two young men who meet while taking a foreign service exam.

Millibarge is hoping to score high enough to get him away from his code-breaking job at the Pentagon and lead him to be hired as a secret government agent.

Fitz-Hume, meanwhile, is the lazy son of an envoy that is only sitting for the exam due to pressure from his family.

The Spy Patsies

As Spies Like Us unfolds, Emmett attempts to bribe the test’s proctor (Frank Oz) and resorts to openly cheating on the exam as his money is refused. He involves Austin in his antics, causing both men to fail.

As the video footage is reviewed by top men in government, the Defense Intelligence Agency sees that they have the two patsies they need to help carry out a covert operation.

A Crazy Scheme

spies like us

Emmet and Austin are enlisted as spies and rushed through a training course. Unbeknownst to them, the objective of obtaining a Russian ICBM launcher is being carried out by veteran agents, while Emmet and Austin are being used as disposable decoys. Spies Like Us sees the scheme hatched by the Defense Intelligence Agency fail miserably when one of the real operatives is killed in action.

Emmet and Austin are now fighting for their very lives to escape Russian soldiers, spies, and other Communist operatives as they work with the surviving member of the original team of agents, Karen Boyer (Donna Dixon). Spies Like Us shows the trio sharpen their skills in order to survive and to fulfill the mission that has now been considered a failure.

Trite And Predictable

spies like us

As a film, Spies Like Us doesn’t offer audiences anything new in regards to a plotline or character sketches.

The screenplay is trite and predictable, and leaves much to be desired as far as being even remotely interesting. The saving graces of the film are Chase and Aykroyd, both of whom deliver at their comedic best and generate needed laughter to make up for the mediocrity of the storyline.

Chevy Chase Does Shine

spies like us

Chase’s penchant for physical comedy and his delivery of dry one-liners really shines through in Spies Like Us, as does Aykroyd’s precision as the straight man. Dixon is equally likeable as a co-star, giving audiences another shining moment in an otherwise boorish production.

The film didn’t get rave reviews from the critics of the time, but the star power of Aykroyd and Chase made it a box office success. Spies Like Us raked in nearly $80 million on a production budget of $22 million. The theme song was written and performed by the legendary Paul McCartney and was a top 10 hit in the United States.

Streaming Spies Like Us

spies like us


As a comedy film, Spies Like Us is a lackluster 1.5/5.0-stars. Fans of Chevy Chase and Dan Aykroyd should view it, though, as the movie does show the two actors in some of their funniest respective roles.

While you cannot stream Spies Like Us for free, the film can be seen On Demand with Vudu, Prime, and AppleTV.