Agent Cody Banks

Falling somewhere between the James Bond and Spy Kids franchises comes Agent Cody Banks, about a CIA trained teenager out to save the world. The CIA recruited Banks (Frankie Muniz, Deuces Wild, Big Fat Liar) at a summer camp, and trained him in everything he needed to know about being a secret agent. Now, he is the only person who can help in preventing a mad scientist from taking over the world. The CIA sends Ronica Miles (Angie Harmon, Good Advice, Lawn Dogs) to supervise him as he tries to get close to Natalie Connors (Hilary Duff, Human Nature, The Soul Collector), daughter of scientist Dr. Connors (Martin Donovan, Insomnia, Pipe Dream).

The CIA believes that Banks can get to Dr. Connors through Natalie. What they do not realize is that although Cody has access to millions of dollars worth of gadgets and is in excellent physical shape, he cannot talk to girls. Every attempt he makes to befriend Natalie makes him look insane. What nobody knows is that Dr. Connors is unwittingly designing nanobots for ERIS, an evil organization (about as smart as KAOS) bent on world domination. That is about all there is to Agent Cody Banks. With story credit going to Jeffrey Charles Jurgensen and screenplay credit going to Zack Stentz, Ashley Miller, Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski (Screwed, Man on the Moon), it makes for a lot of people not doing much. Any deeper thought into the plot is liable to get somebody a headache, since, like most Bond movies, it is in place only to set up scenes for stunts.

Agent Cody Banks has pretty standard kids movie stuff, without the sheer exuberance or imagination of Spy Kids. The best thing one can say about it is that it never becomes obnoxious. There are tons of gadgets and lots of special effects, but director Harald Zwart (One Night at McCool's, Hamilton) cannot inject any sort of spirit into the film. Muniz never comes across as convincing. He is afraid to talk to girls but not to Miles. He can recite a variety of facts about nanotechnology but has no clue who T.S. Eliot is. Harmon prances around showing off as much cleavage as possible, which is very odd given the primary audience of this film is children. Apparently, she lost the top buttons on her clothes along with the first two letters of her character's name. Worst of all, there is very little chemistry of any sort between Muniz and Duff. Watching them is kind of dull, like most of the film.

Haro Rates It: Not That Good.
1 hour, 41 minutes, Rated PG for action violence, mild language, and some sensual content.

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