Spy Kids

Writer/director/editor Robert Rodriguez brings the same whiplash-inducing pace and ferocious energy that drove DESPERADO and FROM DUSK TILL DAWN to this gentler, but no less high-octane, escapade. The result is a kid's movie that truly can be enjoyed by teenagers and adults as well. Adolescent Carmen's (Alexa Vega) favorite bedtime story is the one about...read more

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Reviewed by Maitland McDonagh
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Writer/director/editor Robert Rodriguez brings the same whiplash-inducing pace and ferocious energy that drove DESPERADO and FROM DUSK TILL DAWN to this gentler, but no less high-octane, escapade. The result is a kid's movie that truly can be enjoyed by teenagers and adults as well. Adolescent Carmen's (Alexa Vega) favorite bedtime story is the one about the glamorous super spies who, assigned to kill each other, instead fall in love, marry and retire from the dirty but exciting business of espionage. Little does she know it's the story of her own parents, Ingrid (Carla Gugino) and Gregorio (Antonio Banderas), whose surrender to domestic bliss is only occasionally tinged with yearning for their old lives of danger and international intrigue. But Carmen and her little brother Juni (Daryl Sabara) are about to find out. Ingrid and Grigorio accept a little job for old times' sake, leaving the kids with their "Uncle" Felix (Cheech Marin). And then something goes very wrong. Ingrid and Gregorio are captured, the Cortez home is invaded by mutant mercenaries shaped like giant thumbs perched on finger legs, and Felix hustles the kids through a secret passageway mere seconds before he's caught. Carmen and Juni find an underwater escape pod that would have made Agent 007 green with envy, and realize that mom and dad are back in the game and in big trouble. After getting over their initial shock, Carmen and Juni must take on the villainous Fegan Floop (Alan Cumming), who's creating a lethal army of pint-sized robots who look just like the children of prime ministers, presidents and power brokers. The cover for his nefarious operation: A surreal kid's TV show in the Pee-Wee's Playhouse mold, with a ghastly secret twist: Floop's singing, dancing sidekicks, the "FloOglies," are really missing secret agents who've been mutated into whimsical monstrosities. Can the kids stop Floop and his evil sidekick, Mr. Minion (Tony Shalhoub), un-mutate the FloOglies and rescue mom and dad? Even more than vintage James Bond movies, Rodriguez's inspiration seems to have been European Bond knockoffs, in which style trumped substance at every turn and espionage conventions were subjugated to baroque, pop-art set design — including whacked-out villains and gadgetry too ridiculous even for Q. The high-profile cast (many veterans of previous Rodriguez projects) plays their roles with just the right mix of seriousness and tongue-in-cheek self-awareness.

The "Special Edition" of SPY KIDS, released to theaters a month before the film's debut on DVD, includes a three-minute scene in which Carmen and Juni swim through a cave of sleeping sharks. The sequence was omitted from the original theatrical release because of concerns that the special effects would break the budget.

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  • Released: 2001
  • Rating: PG
  • Review: Writer/director/editor Robert Rodriguez brings the same whiplash-inducing pace and ferocious energy that drove DESPERADO and FROM DUSK TILL DAWN to this gentler, but no less high-octane, escapade. The result is a kid's movie that truly can be enjoyed by te… (more)

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