Agent Cody Banks 2: Destination London (2004)

(In theaters, March 2004) While the first film in the “Cody Banks teenage spy” series had its moment, it suffered from too slavish an adherence to the Bond formula, resulting in a film that lost a lot of interest as it went along. While the sequel isn’t all that much better, it’s somewhat truer to itself and avoids repeating the typical Bond arc. Frankie Munez is back, and charming as ever as the lead character. Angie Harmon is sorely missed as Banks’ “handler”, but Anthony Anderson does his usual buffoon shtick to good effect. While the film occasionally panders to the kiddie audience with stupid plot tricks, some grossness and silly wish-fulfilment, there is still enough here to entertain adult audiences. The violence gets tiresome, though (especially the fist-fights, which seem out of place in a film for younger teens), and this exasperation is carried over in the third act, which is slightly too long for its own good. Otherwise, there are a few good gags, a few good action scenes and a few clever gadgets. It’s not a must-see, but neither is it a must-avoid.

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