Movie Mom

Movie Mom


Agent Cody Banks

posted by rkumar
B
Lowest Recommended Age:4th - 6th Grades
MPAA Rating:PG
Profanity:Schoolyard terms like "screwed up"
Nudity/Sex:One kiss, woman in sexy clothes
Alcohol/Drugs:None
Violence/Scariness:Characters in peril, gross death
Diversity Issues:Diverse characters, strong women, mean "special ed" insults
Movie Release Date:2003

I took four young teenagers to this movie and they loved it. But I was not as impressed.

The idea is a cute one — but it was cuter when they did the same thing in two editions of “Spy Kids.” This version is mildly enjoyable, but suffers by comparison to those wildly imaginative and funny movies.

Frankie Muniz (“Malcolm in the Middle”) plays Cody Banks, a 15-year-old who has been attending a CIA-sponsored summer camp that has given him all the training he needs to be a junior secret agent. But when he gets his first assignment, to get close to Natalie (Hillary Duff, TV’s “Lizzie McGuire”), the daughter of a scientist, it turns out that $10 million of training that covered every detail of combat and espionage left out one detail — how to talk to girls.

So, Cody gets some quick and confusing lessons and then finds himself in a new school, trying to make friends with Natalie. He finally gets the hang of it just in time to save the day when she is kidnapped and taken to that most popular of spy movie destinations, the bad guy’s arctic secret lair.

Muniz and Duff are always fun to watch and there are some nice stunts, especially a skateboard rescue of a toddler in a runaway car and a snowboard entry into the aforementioned lair. Saturday Night Live’s Darryl Hammond is a lot of fun as the equivalent of James Bond’s “Q” character, the guy with all the gadgets. Angie Harmon does not have much to do except show up in a series of outfits more appropriate for Spy Barbie. And the movie wastes the time and talents of two of Hollywood’s best actors, Martin Donovan and Cynthia Stevenson, as parents of the teens in the lead roles. The story is lifted from a combination of “Dr. No” and the recent (and better) “Clockstoppers.” The movie won’t have much appeal to anyone outside the 10-16 demographic it is aimed at, but there are so few movies for that group that it does not seem fair to complain.

Parents should know that the movie has violence, including one grisly death by disintegration. Characters use some strong schoolyard language (“screwed up,” “play doctor,” “Are you in special ed?”) and there is a locker room scene in which a woman snatches the towel from a boy’s middle and snaps it at another boy’s crotch. (The flesh-colored underpants the boy was wearing under the towel are reassuringly evident.) The adult woman spy dresses like a comic book character, but she is strong and capable. The head of the CIA ia a black man. There is a joke about using the special x-ray glasses to peek at women’s underwear and an adult makes a joke about breasts. It is highly insensitive to have characters use “special ed” as an insult. Most troubling is that one of the young people in the movie is directly responsible for the death of a bad guy — usually, in movies for this age group, they are careful to have the bad guy killed as the result of his own actions, like falling off a building when he lunges for someone. Some audience members may be upset about this.

Families who see this movie should talk about whether they would like to be spies. They might want to check out the CIA’s website. I like the description of what they are looking for in spy candidates: “an adventurous spirit, a forceful personality, superior intellectual ability, toughness of mind, and a high degree of personal integrity, courage, and love of country. You will need to deal with fast-moving, ambiguous, and unstructured situations that will test your resourcefulness to the utmost.”

Families who enjoy this movie will also enjoy Spy Kids 1 and 2, Clockstoppers, and Big Fat Liar.



Previous Posts

Trailer #2: The Box Trolls
Did I mention how excited I am about this?  Coming in September, from the people who did "Coraline" and "ParaNorman." [youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cDr_ZY37RFg[/youtube]

posted 12:12:22pm Apr. 16, 2014 | read full post »

Heaven is for Real
A movie like "Heaven is for Real" requires two different reviews, one for believers/fans of the 1.5 million-volume best-selling book, one for those who are unfamiliar with the book and whose views about faith and heaven and proof may differ from the evangelical beliefs of the Wesleyan pastor who wro

posted 6:00:04pm Apr. 15, 2014 | read full post »

Heaven is for Real: The Real Story
"Heaven is for Real" opens tomorrow, with Greg Kinnear as Todd Burpo, a Nebraska pastor whose four-year-old son says that he visited heaven during surgery for a ruptured appendix.  It is based on a best-selling book Heaven is for Real: A Little Boy's Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back,

posted 3:59:56pm Apr. 15, 2014 | read full post »

Movie Critic Ann Hornaday Comes Out as...a Christian
Washington Post movie critic Ann Hornaday wrote a brave and very moving essay about being a writer sustained by Christian faith and how that affects the way she approaches all films and especially those with religious themes. As a critic, my first obligation is to assess each of these films not as

posted 3:59:22pm Apr. 15, 2014 | read full post »

Trailer: Gone Girl with Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike
Take a look at the very creepy trailer from director David Fincher for the upcoming "Gone Girl" based on the best-seller by Gillian Flynn. [youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=esGn-xKFZdU[/youtube]

posted 2:33:38pm Apr. 15, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.