Agent Cody Banks 2: Destination London (2004) / Comedy-Action
MPAA Rated: PG for violence and some crude humor
Running Time: 126 min.
Cast: Frankie Muniz, Anthony Anderson, Hannah Spearritt, Cynthia Stevenson, Daniel Roebuck, Anna Chancellor, Keith Allen, James Faulkner, David Kelly, Santiago Segura, Connor Widdows, Keith David
Director: Kevin Allen
Screenplay: Don Rhymer
I find myself questioning my worth as a critic sometimes when a movie that isn't really meant for me, and for which I don't even consider very good, can still hold my attention throughout, and even be modestly entertaining at times. I don't know whether to consider Agent Cody Banks 2 as a disappointment for not really building up from the premise of the original Agent Cody Banks, or to be impressed that it actually managed to change the location and formula while not really losing much in quality. It's not really good, but not half bad either, and in terms of derivative children's fare (and a rushed sequel at that), it's probably just good enough to entertain the audience it was intended for.
Frankie Muniz returns as the titular character, a teenager trained by the CIA for top secret missions, here traveling to London to try to recover a device that can control minds, which the nefarious bad guys seek to use to manipulate the world's foremost leaders. Banks must disguise himself as a clarinet player in an all-children's school band, although he can't play a note, while not tipping anyone off as to who he really is. He meets up with his contact, Derek (Anderson, Kangaroo Jack), and together, they do whatever they can to thwart the bad guys' plans and save the world.
The one clear difference between this film and its predecessor is that it is decidedly more juvenile in nature, and that's not a slam against it. While the first entry could be enjoyed by children as well as their parents, this one is mostly aimed at kids, so unless you consider yourself young at heart, it's probably not going to have much appeal. That said, as a movie for the youth, it seems to hit the right spots enough times to stay afloat for the duration, with the only major flaws coming from some overused stereotypes regarding stuffy, upper-crust Londoners.
If you liked the first go-round, you just might find enough of the same elements here for it to pass as innocuous, marginal fare. If not, give it a pass, as you probably will find this one to not really do anything better. A helpful tip: low expectations and a state of absolute boredom are required before making the attempt.
© 2004 Vince Leo