Spy Kids Movie Poster Image

Spy Kids



Just the right combination of fantasy and comedy.
Parents recommendPopular with kids
  • Review Date: May 19, 2003
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 2001
  • Running Time: 88 minutes

What parents need to know

Educational value
Not applicable
Positive messages

Strongly emphasizes the importance of family and teamwork. Villains get their due, and it's clear who the good and bad guys are. Some potty humor.

Positive role models

The kids have relatable issues and are brave and resourceful. Strong female characters and a diverse cast.

Violence & scariness

A good bit of peril and fantasy/cartoonish action violence, though it's often played for laughs. Fights and chases, plus falls, crashes, and explosions. Mutant creatures could be scary to some little kids.

Sexy stuff
Not applicable

One brief almost-use of "s--t" (but it's turned into a different word). Also "oh my God."

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Adults are briefly seen drinking wine.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this action-packed adventure includes a little bit of potty humor (which most kids will find hilarious) and one almost-swear word. Younger children might be scared by the mutant creatures, but most will find them more silly than frightening. Characters are frequently in peril (though it's usually played for laughs), and there's a certain amount of head-bonking violence. But no one even gets a scratch, except for one villain, whose encounter with flames leaves her having a very bad hair day.

What's the story?

Carmen and Juni Cortez (Alexa Vega and Daryl Sabara) are the children of Gregorio (Antonio Banderas) and Ingrid (Carla Gugino), once the cleverest spies in the world but now loving parents who make a living as consultants. Or so they say. It turns out that once the kids go to bed, Gregorio and Ingrid flip a few switches to connect to a command center that keeps them involved in spy missions, though now from a safe distance. When top secret agents start disappearing, Gregorio and Ingrid call on "Uncle Felix" (Cheech Marin) to watch the kids and climb back into their spy gear to go off and save the world. But then they, too, disappear, and it's up to Carmen and Juni to rescue their parents -- and, while they're at it, the rest of the world.

Is it any good?


Imagine James Bond crossed with Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, and you might have an idea of what to expect in SPY KIDS, one of the best family movies of 2001. It has just the right combination of giddy fantasy, exciting adventure, wonderful special effects, and sly comedy to be ideal for 7- to 12-year-olds and their families. It's also notable for featuring strong female characters and and characters and performers from the Latino culture.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the movie's conclusion that spy work is easy compared to keeping a family together. What does it take to keep a family together and functioning well so that everyone's happy?

  • How does the violence in this movie compare to what you've seen in other movies? How does the fantasy element affect its impact?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:March 30, 2001
DVD release date:February 18, 2003
Cast:Alexa Vega, Antonio Banderas, Daryl Sabara
Director:Robert Rodriguez
Studio:Walt Disney Pictures
Genre:Family and Kids
Topics:Adventures, Book characters
Character strengths:Courage, Perseverance, Teamwork
Run time:88 minutes
MPAA rating:PG
MPAA explanation:action sequences

This review of Spy Kids was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.


Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

Great handpicked alternatives

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Parent of a 7 and 10 year old Written bysarafmc December 9, 2011

Creepy, depending on the kid.

Consider your kid carefully with this one. My ten year old, who is not a particularly fearful kid but has a very vivid imagination, was extremely disturbed by the mutant creatures in this (the idea of people being mutated in that way and used as kid show props while begging for help in distorted voices) to the point where he had a hard time going to bed afterwards. The almost-swearing didn't bother us, and I thought it was better than average in many other ways, despite a lot of corny cartoonish action and dialogue. The kids were enthralled by all the gadgetry, and the Incredibles-type family. Product placement is a Big Mac and fries early on (with golden arches briefly visible).
What other families should know
Great messages
Too much consumerism
Educator and Parent Written bychristian-witness June 28, 2012


A bit of peril and fantasy/cartoonish action violence, though it's often played for laughs. Fights and chases, plus falls, crashes, and explosions. Mutant creatures could be scary to some little kids.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much consumerism
Teen, 15 years old Written byWhiteBoogeySense April 9, 2008


Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?