Agent Cody Banks 2: Destination London Jun 3, 2013 23:03:08 GMT -5
Post by StevePulaski on Jun 3, 2013 23:03:08 GMT -5
Hannah Spearritt, Frankie Muniz, and Anthony Anderson.
I ended my review of Agent Cody Banks by calling it exactly what it was, which was a direct-to-DVD, TV movie that had the luxury of being released nationwide in theaters. Now we have Agent Cody Banks 2: Destination London, which stunningly got the same treatment. This is the kind of film you encounter years after its release, stunned at its very existence. Who was this picture made for? The kids who enjoyed the first one? It seemed the first film was substantial enough for a quick, spy-themed sugar rush. "The Los Angeles Times" called the original film, "a clever and lively action-adventure," and preceded to call this sequel, "ingenious...a handsome, often hilarious comedy-adventure." Perhaps it was made for the staff of the "LA Times," who appear to be the franchise's biggest fans.
Well, Agent Cody Banks 2 and its predecessor certainly weren't made for me. If I'm going to like a film deemed at younger audiences, it better be mature, somewhat substantial, and imaginative and this sequel is none of the above. It's a tired droll that successfully creates a franchise out of one that, you guessed it, didn't need to be created in the first place. If anything, the only thing this film succeeded in was distracting its talent from other projects they could've and should've been doing instead.
The story is just as much of an unoriginal slog as it was the first time we endured it. The title character is back, reprised by Frankie Muniz, who has spent his summer at a CIA recruitment camp disguised as your average, happy-go-lucky summer camp. When Banks mistakes a real attack as an invasion, he allows Victor Diaz (Keith Allen), the alleged head counselor who is trying to get away, to make an escape with discs containing information on how to create a mind control device to manipulate others. Now Banks, with the help of the bumbling Derek (Anthony Anderson) and the obligatory beauty Emily (Hannah Spearritt), must try and retrieve the mind control disc and stop Diaz before this all gets out of hand.
In the period of a year (exactly a year, seeing as this came out the same weekend its predecessor did), Cody Banks hasn't changed too much. He still works better as a marketing gimmick for young children who actually believe they could be him and relate to his "struggle" and lust for girls and adventure. Cody Banks is the kind of kid you'd like to play as a child, running around your house, maybe with a few fake weapons, sliding on your mother's furniture, on her newly-polished floor, prancing around and starring in your own little show. I'd rather watch three children play "Cody Banks" in their hours rather than watch a robotic sequel to a film that was already difficult to sit through.
I suppose the main problem with this franchise is it's a TV movie playing dress up. I could see parents in the theater in 2004 questioning why they're paying the theater's surcharge for a film that will look just fine and play just as well on TV in a few more months (or simply just deserves to be on TV). If you were to show the average Joe Agent Cody Banks or its sequel on a theater screen, providing them with no prior knowledge of the film, they'd likely assume it was a TV movie blown up on the big screen.
Once again, Muniz is a bit charming here, which goes a long way in a film like this. Anthony Anderson, a good-spirited but often shortchanged actor, remains the butt of almost every joke, and Hannah Spearritt doesn't have half the chemistry of Hillary Duff from the first film. She has the blonde hair and a smile, but what she lacks is the irrevocable chemistry Duff had.
There are way better films at your local video store than Agent Cody Banks 2: Destination London. They will likely provide your child with imaginative setups along with values and insight. This is a film that provides about as much healthy nourishment to children as a bowl of cereal and a ten minute commercial break.
Starring: Frankie Muniz, Anthony Anderson, and Hannah Spearritt. Directed by: Kevin Allen.