Film reviews

Agent Cody Banks, Dir: Harald Zwart - Cert: 12A

Most readers will know Frankie Muniz mainly for his role as Malcolm in the US sitcom "Malcolm in the Middle", and this is his first major film role. The synopsis is that Cody Banks is chosen as a secret agent for the CIA after the department decides that nobody would suspect an innocent child of espionage, and is assigned to a case where he needs to get close to a young lady called Natalie, played by the beautiful Hilary Duff, in order to discover information relating to her scientist father.

A lot of journalists have been quick to label Muniz's character as a "mini James Bond", and whilst there ARE certain aspects of the movie which have obviously taken a fair slice of influence from that inaugural institution, this does in fact stand out as a well made children's flick in its own right - with enough to keep the adults occupied too. Well, at least there's enough to keep the MALE half of the adult audience occupied - in the form of Angie Harman and her busty leather open zipped outfits that perhaps belie the movie's PG rating. The violent death of one of the villains later on in the film too is rather surprising considering the label bestowed upon it.

Still, the whole thing travels at a blistering pace from the off, when Banks saves a runaway car that appears to be being driven by a two year old child. Hey, I never said this wasn't far fetched! What I liked aboutt this film though was that there were some very real, human touches to it. For example I could totally relate to our hero's total ineptitude with the opposite sex, as I had a similar problem myself at that age...actually come to think of it, I had the problem well into my twenties too but let's not dwell on that. Let's just say that when your assignment involves the need to befriend a gorgeous female (and I say that in a completely unsexual way, before you say anything - she's only fifteen for Pete's sake), then it's not the kind of social problem you need, to be frank.

Anyway, the supporting cast does a decent enough job - including Duff, who has faced criticism from some quarters that she just "screams a lot" in this movie - and though we have seen the premise for this kind of thing before (see "Scarecrow and Mrs.King"), I thought the whole thing ultimately delivered what it set out to be - a hugely enjoyable film.

7/10 from an adult's perspective, 8/10 from a kid's one


Tone E


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