A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Good triumphs over evil. In a fantasy world, kids can be as powerful and heroic as adults.
Positive Role Models
Though loving and kind, Cody's parents are gullible and ineffective. Adult authority figures (mostly members of a farcical CIA) are far less intelligent than their youthful counterparts, and are mostly rigid and clueless. One Asian stereotype -- a driving instructor -- speaks pidgin English and is an exaggerated caricature. Rich kids are described as "spoiled brats"; they harass and haze the hero. There's ethnic diversity throughout the cast.
Violence & Scariness
Almost nonstop exaggerated action, starting with a baby at the wheel of a careening, out-of-control car and his rescue by a skateboard-riding teen daredevil in the opening sequence. From then on there are: fist fights, martial arts battles, jet ski and snowboard chases, a wild driving lesson, fires, crashes, launches through glass, a melting face, numerous narrow escapes, the "plastification" of a villain, a tense countdown to a massive explosion, and assorted falls, captures, and rescues. Despite all of the above, the violence is not played as real and most characters do not die on camera.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Cody’s statuesque CIA handler wears low-cut tops and bare midriffs. Some kids ogle girls' breasts; X-ray glasses reveal girls' underwear; boys and men leer occasionally, once at a sexy holograph. In one comic sequence, Cody is instructed in seduction and attracting girls.
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Scattered potty language: "crap," "screwed." Twice Cody is asked, "Are you in Special Ed?" which is meant as an insult.
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Products & Purchases
Cap'n Crunch, Albertson's Markets, Seattle's Best Coffee, Lo-Jack, Ruffles chips. Clearly identified autos: Volvo, GMC, Ferrari.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Agent Cody Banks is a James-Bond-like action movie for tweens filled with smash-'em-up cartoon violence, particularly a final sequence that pulls out all the stops -- explosions, electrocutions, jet-ski chases, and more. Other scenes include multiple martial arts fights, wild driving, kids captured and held against their will, and some cartoonish scary villains. Many bad guys' off-camera deaths are a result of the young lead's heroics. Mild, campy sexuality includes some revealing clothing, a comic scene in which the young hero is instructed in ways to attract girls, X-ray vision glimpses of undies, and a few leering males and breast jokes. Occasional potty humor and coarse language ("crap," "screwed"), and twice the hero is asked, "Are you in Special Ed?" -- meant as an insult. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
AGENT CODY BANKS seems like a combination of the James Bond movie Dr. No and 2002's Clockstoppers. Kids and teens will enjoy it, but it's not as imaginative and funny as the first two Spy Kids movies. Muniz and Duff are always fun to watch, and there are some nice stunts, especially a skateboard rescue of a toddler in a runaway car and a snowboard entry into the bad guy's arctic lair. Saturday Night Live's Darryl Hammond is a lot of fun as the equivalent of James Bond's "Q" character, the guy with all the gadgets. Angie Harmon does not have much to do except show up in a series of outfits more appropriate for Spy Barbie. And the movie wastes the time and talents of two of Hollywood's best actors, Martin Donovan and Cynthia Stevenson, as parents of the teens in the lead roles.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.