Review by: Jack Foley | Rating:
DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: Agent Mode (interactive quiz).
Spy On The Set (video commentary with Frankie Muniz, Anthony Anderson
and Hannah Spearritt); 'Back In Action' making of featurette;
Deleted and extended scenes; Easter egg; Behind the scenes photo
gallery; Theatrical trailer.
WHAT is it about Hollywood that it cannot resist the temptation
to portray the English as either sneering villains, or oddball
eccentrics, in the stiff upper-lip mode?
Whatever their reason for travelling, American protagonists generally
tend to arrive in our capital with a pre-conceived idea that all
Brits are posh twits, or worse, affable and stupid.
The cast of Friends
did it, last years What
A Girl Wants did it, and now Agent Cody Banks does it - to
his subsequent detriment.
It only seems five minutes ago that we were waving farewell to
the last Banks outing, yet before audiences had even got the chance
to catch their breath, the producers spied a franchise in the
making and rushed a sequel into production before the original
Hence, fresh from his last success, as a High School student,
CIA operative, Cody Banks (TVs Frankie Muniz), now poses
as a music student, at an elite British boarding school, in order
to retrieve a top-secret mind-control device that has been stolen
from the US government, by his own instructor (Keith Allen).
Once in London, Banks becomes paired with an out-of-favour handler
(Anthony Anderson), who helps him to enrol in the boarding school
run by Anna Chancellors eccentric music lover, in the hope
that her husband may hold the key to the retrieval of the device.
Helping him along the way is Hannah Spearritts fellow musician
student, who may also possess her own secrets.
Whereas the original Cody Banks provided its fair share of thrills
for the pre-teen market, thanks to some enjoyable set pieces,
the follow-up falls flat from the outset, amid a wave of predictable
cliches and tired jokes.
Munizs junior James Bond spends half the movie looking
as incredulous as the rest of us, at some of the things he is
asked to perform, failing to build on the appeal which helped
to make the original such a favourite among the younger generation.
Kevin Allens direction also seems pre-occupied with the
gadgets, rather than any real coherence, and his treatment of
the adults is excruciatingly painful.
Anderson, especially, seems content to churn out his usual comedy
black-man-with-attitude persona, while none of the British
cast are allowed to rise above the bog-standard, and frankly insulting,
stereotypes that have been penned for them.
Spearritt, of former S Club 7 fame, does her best, with limited
material, but looks awkward whenever she is called upon to act,
while even the set pieces feel a little laboured.
There are fleeting moments of ingenuity, such as a comedy sequence
involving lobsters, which may appeal to really young children,
but the humour is so dumb, and the jokes so obvious, that this
smacks of being a sequel with its eye on the cash register, rather
than any real entertainment value.