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Agent Cody Banks

movie reviewmovie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: Agent Cody Banks

Starring: Frankie Muniz, Angie Harmon
Director: Harald Zwart
Rated: PG
RunTime: 90 Minutes
Release Date: March 2003
Genres: Action, Comedy, Kids

*Also starring: Ian McShane, Martin Donovan, Arnold Vosloo, Hilary Duff, Darrell Hammond, Andrew Francis

Review by Steve Rhodes
3 stars out of 4

Get ready to move over SPY KIDS. You've got competition now from 15-year-old Juvenile Agent Cody Banks, ably assisted by his handler, as in "zoo handler," 30-year-old Agent Ronica Miles. In AGENT CODY BANKS, the CIA is trying to get to 15-year-old Natalie Connors in order to rescue her scientist father from the evil clutches of some villains.

What makes this Bond spoof great fun for grade-school kids and older, as well as adults, is the casting. Frankie Muniz, the nerdy lead from "Malcolm in the Middle", plays Agent Banks, and Hilary Duff, the cutie from "Lizzie McGuire," plays Natalie. For the adults, a very sexy Angie Harmon ("Law & Order"), in a revealing outfit with a push-up bra and tight pants, plays Agent Miles. The movie pushes the limits of its PG-rating with its sensual situations, but it does so tastefully and humorously. Based on our preview audience, the movie is a real crowd-pleaser with many large laughs.

All of the actors play their roles to the hilt. Harmon's character shows visible disdain for having to baby-sit another agent. It is easy to empathize with Muniz, whose character knows world-class karate but doesn't have a clue as to how to even speak to girl, much less be able to ask one out, which is required by his assignment. Duff is given the least to do, having to act like a wholesome bombshell whom every guy at school would die for.

Agent Banks is given a gaggle of gadgets that any junior James Bond would love. Perhaps the best of these are X-ray sunglasses -- but with built-in parental controls, no less. Another is a BMW skateboard that has some impressive abilities.

I thoroughly enjoyed this James Bond spoof for the younger set. And the answer to your question is, yes, there is a traditional Bond ending -- PG version that is.

AGENT CODY BANKS runs 1:40. It is rated PG for "action violence, mild language and some sensual content" and would be acceptable for kids around 8 and up.

My son Jeffrey and his friend Nick, both almost 14, gave the movie ***, saying it was okay and that they liked how over-the-top it was. Nick's sisters, Kaity Rose, age 8, and Danielle, age 10, both gave it ****. There were 35 members of my son's eighth grade class at the screening. I was surprised at how strongly it was received by that group. Only 2 of the 35 didn't like it, and most thought it was really funny.

Copyright 2003 Steve Rhodes

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