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Agent Cody Banks 2: Destination London
2004 - PG - 99 Mins.
Director: Kevin Allen
Producer: David Nicksay
Written By: Don Rhymer
Starring: Frankie Muniz, Hannah Spearitt, Anthony Anderson, Keith David, Daniel Roebuck
Review by: Joe Rickey
   

Frankie Muniz, meet Hillary Duff's replacement.
Frankie Muniz has had what could be termed a very successful if short career thus far. He first made waves with the film 'My Dog Skip,' an innocuous family film that nonetheless caught the attention of Fox executives, who later cast him as the title role in his very own TV sitcom, 'Malcolm in the Middle.' The show went on to become a highly acclaimed series, receiving Emmy nominations on an almost yearly basis, with it renewed through the next fall season.

Muniz has taken the television show and used it as a springboard to a successful career starring in more films such as 'Big Fat Liar' and the original 'Agent Cody Banks'. 'Big Fat Liar' garnered over forty million at the box office, as did 'Agent Cody Banks.' No surprise then that MGM quickly gave the greenlight to a second film in the teen spy series. Now what amounts to a year later, 'Agent Cody Banks 2: Destination London' hits theatres with Muniz in tow but missing Hillary Duff from the original. Instead, as a way to keep the budget similar to that of the original, MGM has cast unknown Hannah Spearitt as his female counterpart and they are joined by Anthony Anderson; no stranger to children-oriented films after 'Kangaroo Jack.' Kevin Allen (The Big Tease) replaces Harald Zwart in director’s chair for this outing.

The film’s storyline has Agent Banks going off to London on a mission to recover a stolen mind control device. In order to do so, he has to go undercover as a student at an elite boarding school. He is joined by his gadget handler (Anderson) and meets a fellow student (Spearitt) who comes along for the ride as Banks attempts to stop a terrorist from taking over the world with the aforementioned mind control device.

'Agent Cody Banks 2' is a strictly by-the-numbers sequel. With such a quick turnaround from the original, that’s about the best anyone can expect. Heck, it hasn’t even been a full year since the first film hit theatres. If MGM wanted to produce a higher quality sequel, they should have devoted more time to developing a good script. As it is, the sequel really isn’t much to write home about but also avoids being a complete disaster.

What doesn’t work in the film is the fact that, even more often than the original film, it resorts to the kind of juvenile humor that I wish would disappear from films aimed at kids/teens. I hope that even that age range is able to see through such thinly devised antics. The film also lacks a concrete villain, as the film’s villain is the stereotypical villain, complete with the maniacal laugh and overly complex plans for world domination. If being on the brink of achieving world domination were as easy as it’s portrayed in this film, there would be double the number of terrorists in the real world. Also, Muniz himself seems to be mostly disinterested with the proceedings as he sleepwalks through his role while costar Spearitt fails to register much of the time.

The film does contain a few elements that keep it from being completely lacking in entertainment value. For one, the action sequences are effective with some inventiveness being present every so often. Anthony Anderson’s humorous performance is also worth noting, as he once again is able to rise above the material given to him and reliably provide laughs at the opportune moments.

Overall, 'Agent Cody Banks 2: Destination London' is a barely mediocre film that isn’t even the best teen spy styled film of the year thus far, with that honor going to the far superior 'Catch that Kid.'

 
Movie Guru Rating
Below Average.  Mediocre. Has substantial flaws, but is watchable. Below Average.  Mediocre. Has substantial flaws, but is watchable. Below Average.  Mediocre. Has substantial flaws, but is watchable.
  2.5 out of 5 stars

 
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