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Agent Cody Banks (PG)
Official Site
Director: Harold Zwart
Producers: Dylan Sellers, David Glasser, Andreas Klein, Guy Oseary & David Nicksay
Written by: Ashley Edward Miller, Zack Stentz, Scott Alexander & Larry Karaszewski
Cast: Frankie Muniz, Hillary Duff, Angie Harmon, Keith David, Daniel Roebuck, Cynthia Stevenson, Arnold Vosloo, Ian McShane, Martin Donovan

Kid's Eye View Rating: out of 5
Parent's Perspective Rating:
out of 5

Kids’ eye view:

This is an action-filled adventure and you’ll be sitting on the edge of your seat the whole movie. Cody Banks (Muniz) is your average teenage secret agent. The only problem is he can’t talk to girls and his mission is to get close to one—uh-ohhh. The girl he is supposed to get close to is named Natalie Connors (Duff). She is just a regular teenager with a brilliant scientist for a father.

The gadgets are awesome. Cody’s “handler” Ronica Miles (Harmon) is sassy and far from innocent. The bad guys, Brinkman (McShane) and his large henchman Francois (Vosloo) are going to get their evil rumps kicked. Frankie Muniz & Hillary Duff make a super cute couple and really spice up the movie. YOU HAVE TO SEE IT!


Parents’ Perspective:

From the beginning we see that Cody is your average 15-year-old boy who has a pesky little brother, gets behind in his chores, doesn’t know how to talk to girls and oh, by the way, he’s been trained as a junior agent for the CIA... The first clue that there is something “different” about our boy is an exciting (albeit a bit far-fetched) rescue scene that involves a baby, a car, and a “smokin’” skateboard with some hot music by John Powell (a great addition that helps to get the adrenaline going and keeps it going). We quickly find that the CIA has thought of almost everything for getting this agent close to the daughter of a world-class scientist who may be in over his head with ERIS and his cute little nanobots. Cody has spending money, gizmos and gadgets, his “target” Natalie’s preferences (pistachio ice cream, T.S. Eliot and horses), a well-trained “handler,” and all the self-defense and technology skills he will need. They only forgot one thing—teaching him how to talk to girls. The first scenes in which he tries to talk to Natalie are painful, but then, so was the first time most of us tried to talk to that bewildering opposite sex. He eventually settles down and gets to know her just by being himself (and saving her life a couple of times, thanks in large part to the CIA training).

The obvious parallels between 007 and  “Banks, Cody Banks” resonate throughout the movie—including the gadgets, the music, even the Dr. No-like setting of Brinkman’s secret laboratory. There may not be as many beautiful (and scantily-clad) women as with Bond, but this is, after all, a PG movie! (Besides, Angie Harmon can easily hold her own against most of the Bond ladies—in more ways than one!) Our only criticism is that the gadgets were a little toned down—most were unimpressive when used and when Cody actually drives the high-tech CIA car from the “Q” equivalent (Darrell Hammond), we only see him getting out of it after driving (with not even a hint as to what its special features are). Are they saving this for the extra features on the DVD?

Having grown up watching James Bond save the world time after time, it was a thrill to be able to take children to a version made for them. Don’t get us wrong, there was plenty there for parents to enjoy, done in a way that was entertaining for kids while not requiring us to cover their eyes every five minutes. We recommend this movie to anyone who likes the thrill of spy movies and wants the kids to be able to watch too.

—Samantha, Caleb, Brian, & Karen


hybridCinema Ratings Guide:

Take a pal and pay full price for both tickets.

It’s worth a full-price ticket.

It’s worth a matinee ticket.

Wait for video rental.

Check out the video from the library, if you must.

While we would never encourage anyone to destroy a video...

Mike Doughty

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