Spy Kids 4: All The Time in The World 4D
Review by Rob Carnevale
YOU can almost hear the clock ticking as time runs out for Robert Rodriguez’s Spy Kids franchise by virtue of the desperately poor quality of this latest 4D instalment.
Introducing us to a new set of spy kids (owing to the fact the originals are now all grown up), as well as a fourth dimension that supposedly enables the audience to smell what’s going on via a scratch and sniff card, the film merely exudes a stale odour of its own.
Nothing about Spy Kids4 works, whether it’s the tacky opening sequence involving heavily pregnant Jessica Alba’s mother spy chasing down bad guys mid-contractions, or a new set of ultra-pretentious young spies putting paid to plans by a mystery villain known as The Timekeeper to turn back time or stop time in its tracks.
To add insult to boredom, the 3D feels tacky and poorly executed, while the 4D element (at my screening at least) failed to give off any odour other than sickly bubblegum smell.
Rodriguez, who wrote the screenplay as well as directs, sets the whole caper in such a hyper unrealistic world that there’s no sense of peril or warmth. The life lessons are obvious and emotionally shallow.
Of his cast, Rowan Blanchard and Mason Cook are stupendously annoying as the constantly bickering, hopelessly spoilt new spy kids, Joel McHale is similarly so as their inept spy-hunting dad and Alba fails to find any mileage in her kick-ass step-mum.
Jeremy Piven, so charismatic in Entourage, feels shackled here and you wonder what his TV alter-ego would make of his own career choice here (cue F-bombs galore, probably) , while Ricky Gervais seems to have phoned in a particularly smug and equally self-satisfied vocal performance as a robot spy dog.
There is an appearance from original Spy Kids Alexa Vega and Daryl Sabara but even they look half-hearted, while the supposedly ‘surprise reveal’ of the main villain is so well telegraphed that it owes more to the Scooby-Doo school of sleuthing.
In its heyday, Spy Kids was able to attract star names such as Antonio Banderas (1-3), Teri Hatcher, Carla Gugino (1-3), Alan Cumming, Steve Buscemi (2 & 3), Ricardo Montalban (2 & 3), Sylvester Stallone (3) and Salma Hayek (3). Now, it’s only likely to attract derision.
It’s hard not to imagine audiences of every age wanting to turn back time afterwards and reclaim what they’ve lost.
Running time: 89mins
UK DVD & Blu-ray Release: December 12, 2011