Agent Cody Banks 2: Destination London (PG)

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The ViewNewcastle Review

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Review byMatthew Turner22/03/2004

One out of Five stars
Running time: 90 mins

Appalling sequel that fails on every conceivable level, completely lacking the wit or the style of the original.

Agent Cody Banks 2: Destination London is the textbook example of why you should never rush something into production. Last year’s Agent Cody Banks was an enjoyable mini-Bond spoof, but it hardly set the box office alight.

However, that didn’t stop Fox from cranking up the sequel machine and green-lighting a second installment before the first one had even been released in the UK. Unsurprisingly, the result is an unholy mess and the film-makers are unusually candid about it – director Kevin Allen admitted to Total Film that “because it was rushed into production, we’re writing this movie as we go”. Which is almost certainly number one on the list of Things Not To Tell The Press When You’re The Director Of A Big Studio Movie.

Family Ditched

Frankie Muniz (Malcolm from TV’s Malcolm in the Middle) returns as pint-sized secret agent Cody Banks. The actors playing his mother (Cynthia Stevenson), father (Daniel Roebuck) and obnoxious little brother (Connor Widdows) all return too (presumably it was in their contracts), but they’re only in two scenes, which is a shame, because if the film had chosen to focus on Banks’ family it might have been more interesting.

Instead, we get a ridiculous plot involving Evil Camp Counsellor Keith Allen (the director’s brother – what an Astonishing Coincidence) and a mind-control device. When Allen high-tails it to England, Banks is sent undercover as a music prodigy and assigned a new handler in the ample form of Anthony Anderson (the best thing in the film, though that isn’t saying much). He also falls in with fellow music student Hannah Spearritt (late of S-Club), who may be harbouring some surprises of her own.

Aside from committing all the usual geographical errors we’ve come to expect from American films set in London (see What A Girl Wants, or rather, don’t), Agent Cody Banks 2 is completely devoid of gags, even resorting to the Comedy Accents of Banks’ fellow pupils in pursuit of cheap laughs. In addition, there isn’t a single memorable set-piece or action sequence and even the gadgets don’t get much of a look-in.

Horror Doesn’t Stop There

The horrors don’t stop there. Muniz and Anderson are talented, likeable performers, but even their affable presence can’t save this. Allen is passable, but all he really does is snarl a lot. Hannah Spearritt, however, is unspeakably bad and has zero chemistry with her co-star - wisely, the film-makers don’t attempt a romantic sub-plot.

In short, Hilary Duff’s absence is keenly felt; for that matter, so is Angie Harmon’s. In addition, the film has product placement so bad it’s almost a gag in itself: Exploding Mentos.

Finally, although the film is content to hire a (pretty good) Tony Blair-alike and isn’t above making a Queen lookalike strut her funky stuff, it completely fails to take the piss out of George Bush, instead hiring a stocky bloke who looks like a security guard to play the (unnamed) American President. Frankly, this looks like unnecessary pandering.

Basically, if ever a film deserved to go straight to video, it’s this one. It isn’t funny, it doesn’t have a tenth of the wit or inventiveness that made the first film work and it has some appalling performances. In fact, the only good thing you can say about it is that it’ll make you appreciate Johnny English. Avoid.

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Content updated: 12/05/2012 09:48

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