Monday, January 9, 2012


"This silly and childish plot is very appropriate, as it is aimed at children after all."

Spy-Satire, Action-Adventure, Comedy, Science Fiction, and Fantasy
Starring - Jessica Alba/Marissa Cortez Wilson, Joel McHale/Wilbur Wilson, Jeremy Piven/Danger D'Amo-Tick Tock, Alexa Vega/Carmen Cortez, Daryl Sabara /Juni Cortez, Rowan Blanchard /Rebecca Wilson, Mason Cook/Cecil Wilson, Ricky Gervais/Argonaut
Director/writer – Robert Rodriguez
PG – for mild action and rude humor
1 hr. 29 min.

Let me start out by saying that I was a fan of the original Spy Kids trilogy: Spy Kids (2001), Spy Kids 2: Island of Lost Dreams (2002) and Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over (2003). While the first film was clearly the freshest and most original, the two sequels still were entertaining.
Now, ten years after the first Spy Kids hit the theaters, Robert Rodriguez has written and directed a new beginning to his Spy Kids franchise. Having been forewarned about the abundance of – for lack of a better word – potty humor in this latest Spy Kid flick, I passed (gas?) on seeing this one at the theater and watched from the relative safety of my own home theater.

Marissa Cortez Wilson (Jessica Alba), a retired spy with a year-old baby, has managed to fool her husband Wilbur Wilson (Joel McHale) into believing she is an interior decorator and stay at home mom. Marissa is doing her best to win the affection of her twin step kids, but Rebecca (Rowan Blanchard) and Cecil (Mason Cook) are still not accepting her as a replacement for their real mom. Just as TV producer and star Wilbur’s new reality spy-hunting show is taking off, a real villainous spy known only as The Timekeeper (Jeremy Piven) is threatening to end the world by terminating time itself. Marissa is called back into the spy biz to hunt down The Timekeeper. Marissa’s kids are attacked by the Timekeeper’s henchmen, so she leaves her kids at OSS headquarters for safekeeping. There, Rebecca and Cecil meet former Spy Kid division head Carmen Cortez (Alexa Vega). With a little help from her brother Juni Cortez (Daryl Sabara), the kids join in the fight against the Timekeeper and bring back The Spy Kids!

This silly and childish plot is very appropriate, as it is aimed at children after all. Like the three other Spy Kids films, once the action commences, the kids are at the forefront of the story, pushing the adults to the side. Robert Rodriguez really takes full advantage of the freedom he’s allowed to do almost anything with the CGI technology and some of the chase scenes are genuinely exciting. The kids are both naturally energetic, if not great actors, but they play off each other particularly well. I did enjoy the robot dog Argonaut (voiced in a silly English accent by Ricky Gervais), although there was almost too much of him by film’s end.

My only real complaint with the film is the constant use of flatulence humor throughout the movie! Every time Spy Baby is on screen, she lets out vast gaseous clouds, which I’m assuming had the children in the theaters rolling in the aisles, but just left this former kid feeling… old. There is also one particularly nasty use of throw-up during a chase scene that made me feel a bit queasy. Mr. Rodriguez has kids of his own, so I’ll assume he knew that the children watching this film would love the “potty humor”, but I certainly could have done without it. Thank goodness I didn't see this in the theater in 4-D! I can only imagine how 3-D and "aroma-scope" would have added to these scenes!
If you have children, I’d recommend watching with them. I’m usually able to enjoy kid flicks, but as a middle-aged adult, I must honestly say that I was only mildly entertained.

TECHNICAL: Acting - 8 Directing -9 Cinematography - 9 Script – 7 Special Effects – 9
VISCERAL: Visual - 10 Auditory - 9 Intellectual – 5 Emotional - 8 Involvement -8

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