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
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
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