Then a miraculous thing happened: Cody Banks 2 started and there was a heavenly quiet--occasionally broken by laughter--that was maintained for the next hour and forty-odd minutes. That's a tremendous compliment for a kids' movie. I would like to say that Cody Banks 2 has a lot to offer adults, as well. For anyone over the age of 16, the movie moves briskly and doesn't make you curse the gods of time. In this pre-summer movie season, those qualities will be a blessing.
Frankie Muniz returns as the title character, a clean-cut 16-year-old who just happens to be an undercover agent for the CIA. Hilary Duff isn't back, probably busy with her scheme to take over the world. This time around, Cody must stop his mentor, Diaz (Keith Allen), a crazed veteran agent who has stolen a mind control device made by the CIA. To get the device and save the world from harm, Cody must fly to London, where Diaz is collaborating with the dastardly Kenworth (John Faulkner).
Kenworth's wife just happens to be hosting an international group of teenage musicians. On top of saving the world, Cody must fake playing the clarinet, deal with the advances of the unusually pretty band geek (Hannah Spearritt) and put up with his bumbling handler (Anthony Anderson, in roughly his fiftieth film appearance in a year).
Kids, especially young boys, will get a kick out of Cody Banks 2: the broad humor, the cool gadgets, the brisk pace, Spearritt's energetic presence. I only wish director Kevin Allen (Keith's younger brother) had included material adults could appreciate, aside from the speedy pace. Another detriment lies in the Muniz/Anderson pairing. Muniz, who can be a capable actor, appears to be on autopilot. Anderson, for the umpteenth time, rehashes his hip-hop, fast-talking, cuddly persona. The actors are content to put enough effort to make the movie entertaining, but not enough to make you want to root for their characters.
Then again, kids probably won't be examining these topics. As for adults, hey, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind opens in a week. For now, just relish the silence.
DVD extras include some brief deleted and extended scenes, plus a "video commentary" which pauses the film frequently so Muniz, Anderson, and Spearritt can pop on screen to deliver their insights. It's an odd way to do a commentary -- and it extends the movie by a good 20 to 30 minutes. Yoiks.
Cody vs. Al Qaeda.
Run time: 100 mins
In Theaters: Friday 12th March 2004
Box Office USA: $23.2M
Box Office Worldwide: $28.8M
Distributed by: MGM
Production compaines: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 13%
Fresh: 12 Rotten: 82
IMDB: 4.4 / 10
Director: Kevin Allen
Screenwriter: Don Rhymer
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