Agent Cody Banks 2: Destination London (2004)
(Release Date: March 12, 2004)
(But I Saw it on March 6, 2004)


1/2



Great Laughs for the Family!
J.C. Mašek III
The World's Greatest Critic!

Let me tell you a little story about Agent Cody Banks! My lovely Daughter, who is to Frankie Muniz what Kim McAfee is to Conrad Birdie, decided to have her 13th birthday party with a showing of Agent Cody Banks back in March of 2003. Naturally, many of the Kids who declined to attend surprised us and showed up! Good for her... Bad for the Dad who didn't buy enough Tickets and had to wait outside of the theatre in the rain while everyone else watched old Middle-Malcolm himself and Hilary Duff tickle the Spy Genre until it screamed U.N.C.L.E., U.N.C.L.E.!

Well, another year, another Birthday and another Cody Banks Movie! This time we snagged Advance Tickets, so there was no way I'd miss it. The good news is that Agent Cody Banks 2: Destination London doesn't rely on knowledge of the first film to be fun, funny and full of action. What's the bad news? Luckily, if you know that you're getting in to another teenage James Bond (like Spy Kids or Catch That Kid) there really isn't much bad news. For the Genre it's in, Cody Banks delivers the goods, and actually manages to be better than both xXx and Austin Powers, and your Kids can watch this one!

We pick back up with Cody (without Natalie Connors) at a Summer Camp which is in actuality a training center for all our Junior CIA teens (insert John Ashcroft 1984 theme here). When a formerly respected super-agent (Keith Allen) goes rogue it's up to Cody and new partner Derek (Anthony Anderson at his physical comedy's best) to infiltrate a potential staging area in London (this time a music school for gifted youngsters). All the while, in the background lurks the CIA Director, played here by Keith David who mixes that wonderfully concocted balance of Authoritarian Menace and Friendly Goofiness to the point that he almost steals the scenes!

Naturally there's a whole lot of direct James Bond references, especially with this one taking place in Merry Old England. We've got the Quartermaster with all the cool-as-ice Q-weapons and tools for our Junior Spy to play with, we've got the cataclysmic Spy-versus-nemesis moment... everything but the required naughty bit. Ironically with such lame spy movies out there (xXx and Austin Powers, not to mention I Spy) making a mockery of "the formula" it's almost welcome to see this handled with a little respect. This doesn't make this film any less derivative, but it does make the film a lot less annoying somehow.

There's also plenty of "easy comedy" and just a tad of the old gross out. The food and fart jokes (especially when put together) are nitrous oxide for the kids in the audience, but a groan for the parents. And, of course (as if we weren't used to it by now) there's more product placement here than in your average Safeway! The word "Mentos" was mentioned so many times I actually stopped feeling so "fresh and full of life!" But, hey, everyone from Ben Urich in Daredevil to Sydney Bristow in Alias is doing this now. Everything's gotten to be such a big commercial that I expect the next Presidential State of the Union Address to be brought to us by Pepsi and Mastercard complete with a flash from Janet Jackson!

The thing is though, there are a whole lot of positives here. Aside from the mild, PG violence this is a pretty wholesome movie. Yeah, Cody has to lie to his parents, but it's pretty unbelievable that his lying about being a covert agent for the most secretive branch of the Government would rub off on the kids. The most profane word here is "Jackass" (don't have a Heart Palpitation, it's in the Bible), and in general, Cody Banks seems to be going out of his way to be the Wholesome kid-next-door against the odds (and probability). He's even respectful to his parental units (Cynthia Stevenson and Daniel Roebuck) and friendly and protective of his kid-brother Alex (Connor Widdows).

Like The Lizzie McGuire Movie, this film also gives teenagers and kids a more positive and life-affirming hero than your average film out there. The boys and the girls of multiple races are all depicted as smart, strong human beings with a lot to offer. There's very little negative that your kids will take away from this. It's a cute, fun movie!

Three and a Half Stars out of five for Agent Cody Banks 2: Destination London (keeping in mind, that as a critic, I compare movies fairly to other movies of its kind). It's a lot of fun for the family, and it's a great big grin for the teens and tweens out there. It's also about the most Kid-Empowering film you could bring your children to, unless, that is you want to bring them to see Kill Bill... Nah!


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Agent Cody Banks 2: Destination London reviewed by J.C. Mašek III who is responsible for this review, this site, and for the TUXEDO he can't fit in to anymore! Agent 00265, he is!
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