Film Review: Spy Dad (2013) Is Not As Advertised

Film Info:

Tagnuulch Aav, or Spy Dad (2013)

Romantic Comedy

Director: D.Galbayar

Screenwriter: D.Galbayar, D.Khurelkhuu

Starring: Kh.Namuun, G.Tamir, D.Khurelkhuu, A.Unurjargal, E.Munkhtur, B.Ariuntsetseg


The Parent Trap meets Mongolian hoshin shog

What’s it about?

Children of successful Mongolian comedians team up to start a company, which fails many times until it scores an eccentric rich man who wants to turn around his gamer/CEO son’s crumbling marriage.

The wayward kids apparently started as a chicken egg import business until the avian flu bankrupted them. Then, they become a political party and put a sign that said so on their wall, (which attracted nobody, except for a braggart uncle played by G.Erkhembayar, and who the hell starts a political party as a business anyway?).

When that flops, they argue whether to continue with the reconciliation service idea, when Tumur (D.Khurelkhuu) walks in and offers them four bundles of one million tugrug and asks them to fix his PC game-addicted son’s marriage with his night-clubber wife.

Instead of arranging a certified therapist, like normal people do, the quintet tries to succeed by doing what they can’t do–acting like a cutesy couple all around the targets to make them jealous and reconsider their divorce — under the supervision of the easily disoriented father, D.Khurelkhuu.

My impression:

Watching the trailer, I thought this was a spy comedy. After all, it had the word spy in it. But it turned out to be a comedy of remarriage with the agenda of promoting five children of comedians, who play themselves.

Before blatantly promoting their children just because they are their children, the comedians should have asked their children if they really wanted to continue their legacy at all.

Oh, well. Said comedians make cameo appearances, along with numerous veterans (relatives) who come and go in the movie to make it anything other than a snooze-fest. So, bravo.

Perhaps this is how these rich kids imagine business works: start a political company, or a reconciliation service, and make pointless pretenses to even richer targets to get paid.

Also, if you think it’s a family film, there’s a scene where Bayaraa (E.Munkhtur) comes home with his wife after a date night in a drunkenly frisky mood, while Tumur, his dad, sneaks into his house and gets under his son’s bed. This scene should be muted or skipped entirely.

Speaking of awkward moments, here are some…

tagnuulch aav wide poster (1)

Cringe-worthy moments:

  1. The five kids and Tumuruu cheering and screaming after peeking from a bush five meters away from their targets and the targets not hearing them.
  2. The “cutesy couple” rear-ending the targets’ car and asking to sit with them during lunch after “paying it back”. The men exchange a slip of paper, B.Tamir (as himself) exclaims, “This is so cheap!” and that settles the reparation.
  3. The Korean film shown in the cinema involving a cursing, violent man shoving food into a woman’s mouth and the “cutesy couple” laughing their asses off at it. Even the target couple says they liked it, as if it was a comedy.
  4. Maralaa (B.Ariuntsetseg), Tumur’s night-clubber daughter-in-law, supposedly came from the USA, but she clearly had an over-the-top Korean drama style of talking and acting.
  5. The thought bubble of Z.Nomundari (ЭДЛРҮҮЛЭН) and the presentation animation of Tumur (ОБЬЕКТ) had typos.
  6. Rap Dembee happening on a rooftop and participants spitting out haiku.
  7. “Surprise” Ganaa (A.Unurjargal), the boyfriend of a famous comedienne’s daughter, chases his girl due to a misunderstanding–and vanishes. No denouement for his subplot.
  8. One of the posters suggests that D.Khurelkhuu will wear Splinter Cell night vision goggles, but they don’t appear in the movie.
  9. The trailer shows him wielding a samurai sword and cocking a paddy hat, suggesting he’ll fight like a samurai. This appears to be false when he uses the said hat to eavesdrop, and the sword vanishes in the next shot.


This is a silly and senseless romp that you should watch if you want to know how much Mongolian filmmakers are pushing the envelope in terms of awkward things you can do with your parents in a film.

Spy Dad is available for 2,500 MNT on Univision IPTV.


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SoWhyMongolia is an online magazine that explains Mongolian culture with humor. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.



SoWhyMongolia is an online magazine that explains Mongolian culture with humor. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

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