Agent Cody Banks
Charming, whitty and fetherlight
Cody Banks (Frankie Muniz - the whizzkid from the funny sitcom "Malcolm in the Middle") is 15 and enjoys videogames like most boys from his age. However, he's also a trained CIA-agent since his last summercamp. He needs to gather info about the mysterious plans from Dr. Connors, an authority in science. To enter into Connors' territory, he must interrogate his daughter. But seducing Sarah Connors (Hilary Duff, the lekker stuk from the funny sitcom "Lizzie McGuire") may be a harder challenge than saving the world, as it turns out for shy Agent Banks.
Numerous Belgian magazines and newspapers made a complete laughingstock of this movie ... "hollow", "stupid", "embarrassing, even for kids" and more compliments. Well, guess what, I don't give a (ugly word). When you're reviewing a kid- or teenflick, then at least imagine being a kid/teen when writing down your thoughts. Or let a kid review the damn thing. But don't ditch the movie, because that's all too easy. Does a movie have to be downright depressing all the time? Weren't movies originally meant to entertain the audience? "Agent Cody Banks" isn't spiritual, enlightening or educational. It's fresh, it's funny, it's charming. I'm satisfied.
Frankie Muniz has the ability to 'carry' a movie on his own. He has the coolness of a secret agent. He's convincing and, at times, explosively funny.
Hilary Duff, the love-interest aka damsel in distress, strikes a very different chord. Being a sexy, sunny honey, she really kept my attention throughout the whole movie. I would've liked more scenes with her, but the ones that were there, are all a joy to watch. Let's hope we'll get some deleted scenes on the dvd. Or a Muniz/Duff/Zwart audiocommentary. Yeah, that would be sweet.
Speaking of which, director Harald Zwart ("One Night At McCool's") delivers what he needs to : an entertaining, action-packed movie. No more, no less.
A sequel is apparently already in the making and if the producers act with common sense and productivity (instead of only caring about the cash that's rolling in front of their eyes), this second effort could be the start of a long-running series. But watch out, "Goldmember" wasn't nearly as funny as the previous two outings, so a joke can run very thin, very quickly.
As long as it lasts, "Agent Cody Banks" is a decent movie to keep everyone who is young at heart entertained for an hour-and-a-half. I enjoyed it more than I expected. Looking forward to the Belgian release of "The Lizzie McGuire Movie"!
Julian, 23 July 2003
** "Agent Cody Banks" from Harald Zwart, with Frankie Muniz, Hilary Duff, Arnold Vosloo ...