March 16, 2004  
Volume 97, Issue 86  

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Banks ain’t no Bond

Agent Cody Banks: Destination London
Starring: Frankie Muniz, Anthony Anderson, Hannah Spearritt
Directed by: Kevin Allen

By Brian Wong
Gazette Staff

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures/2004
WOAH, EASY THERE, FRANKIE BOND! In a daring renegade move, Frankie Muniz (a.k.a. Agent Cody Banks) attempts to steal his neighbour’s cable.

Yes, I know — unless you have a small sibling, are a Big Brother or Sister, or have a pedophilic grandfather, you probably won’t be heading out to the theatre to see the second Agent Cody Banks movie (creepy student-newspaper movie reviewers in the back row and spinsters exempted).

But then again, adults — a.k.a. slaves to their offspring — actually enjoyed the first of this Bond-for-tykes series. Perhaps they felt that story-lines about heroic kids were empowering. Or perhaps it was because the film co-starred America’s No. 1 Jailbait, Hilary Duff.

In Agent Cody Banks: Destination London, Duff has been replaced by the new Banks girl, Spearritt, best known for her masterful work in the television/pop music group S Club 7. For the most part, Spearritt’s role follows the Bond film formula: the female takes on a limited role as the attractive babe until the latter half of the movie when we find out that women have secrets — in this case, Spearritt’s Emily turns out to be a member of the British Secret Service — and that they really are useful for something.

Working together, Emily and Cody (Muniz hitting puberty) set out to stop a CIA mole from using a mind-control device stolen from the American government. To locate the mole, Cody must go undercover as a clarinet student at an international music boarding school where he is assisted by failed CIA applicant Derek (Anderson), posing as the school chef.

Unfortunately, Anderson’s slapstick scenes just add to Destination London’s reliance on tired devices to make kids laugh. Har har, look at the tubby and sensitive teddy-bear-of-a-black-guy set fire to the kitchen! Har har, look at the Indian girl with the Apu accent!

And the sad thing is, you may laugh more than the grade schoolers, especially during the eerie scene in which the mind-control contraption is tested on a dog, who pours a glass of whisky and plays a piano. Too bad the writers didn’t have the brilliance to make him play poker.

But the most annoying thing about Destination London is its obvious attempt to sell more shit to the kiddies: exploding Mentos candy, an iPod that helps Cody fake clarinet-playing, animated Beanie Babies that serve no purpose, as well as M&Ms and Heinz ketchup. Such a fantastic way to further enslave moms and dads.

[Props to the little girl rockin’ out to Rancid (yes!) during the closing credits].



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