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After discovering that his CIA contact Diaz (Kevin Allen) is a traitor who has stolen a powerful new mind control device, sixteen-year-old secret agent Cody Banks (Frankie Muniz) has to go undercover in London to find out what Diaz is up to. He's assigned a new handler, Derek (Anthony Anderson) and a false identity as a member of an international youth orchestra - even though he can't play a note.

Review by Jake Wilson:
Talk about political subversion. Considering that they must have been shooting about a year ago, it took some balls for director Keith Allen and writer Don Rhymer to make a mainstream kids' film which centres on a plot by the CIA to brainwash the President, and ends with a gathering of world leaders rocking out to the sounds of "War - What Is It Good For?"

Unhappily, this is where the interest of Agent Cody Banks 2 begins and ends. James Bond for the tweens, the Cody Banks series is not a patch on the manic invention of Spy Kids 1 and 2 (before Robert Rodriguez plunged into 3D disaster). Perhaps the routine adventures would be more thrilling if Cody wasn't such a joyless smart-arse; none of the dangers he confronts ever manage to wipe off his you-can't-faze-me smirk. Frankie Muniz only gets a few opportunities to show off his precocious talents as a slightly inhuman physical comic in the tradition of Mickey Rooney - as when Cody is hypnotised by the villains and finally loses his cool, starting a food fight for no apparent reason.

As in the recent What A Girl Wants (this film's feminine equivalent) Britain is imagined as a never-never land of heritage buildings and tea-slurping aristocrats - though the panache of the English eccentric has certainly faded since the glory days of Margaret Rutherford and Alastair Sim. Only the plaintive London accent of junior pop star Hannah Spearitt, as Cody's tomboy sparring partner, strikes an authentic note. I couldn't help feeling that the producers might have got a much more interesting and nuanced film if they'd troubled to employ a British screenwriter -particularly given the long history of British children's entertainment (mainly on TV) which respects its audience enough to go beyond cartoonish hijinks. While Allen himself is Welsh, I couldn't spot any traces of personality carried over from his unpleasant debut feature Twin Town, a sub-Guy-Ritchie crime caper set in Swansea; but this is probably just as well.

The DVD offers a featurette, deleted and extended scenes, outtakes, an interactive quiz, photo gallery and a video commentary.

Published September 16, 2004

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CAST: Frankie Muniz, Hannah Spearritt, Anthony Anderson, Daniel Roebuc, Keith Allen, Anna Chancellor, Keith David

DIRECTOR: Kevin Allen

SCRIPT: Harald Zwart

RUNNING TIME: 95 minutes


SPECIAL FEATURES: Featurette, deleted and extended scenes, outtakes, interactive quiz, behind the scenes photo gallery, cast video commentary


DVD RELEASE: September 15, 2004

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