Agent Cody Banks 2: Destination London

While star Frankie Muniz (of TV's Malcolm in the Middle) once again proves himself an appealing screen presence, his second adventure as a pint-size James Bond is a dud that serves up few laughs and fewer thrills. Since saving the world on his first mission, Cody Banks (Muniz) has become the CIA's top teen operative. Like all junior agents, however, he's...read more

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Reviewed by Ethan Alter
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While star Frankie Muniz (of TV's Malcolm in the Middle) once again proves himself an appealing screen presence, his second adventure as a pint-size James Bond is a dud that serves up few laughs and fewer thrills. Since saving the world on his first mission, Cody Banks (Muniz) has become the CIA's top teen operative. Like all junior agents, however, he's still in need of training so he's spending summer vacation at Kamp Woody, a secret training facility for the agency's youngest members. Late one night, a CIA task force looking for Cody's instructor, Diaz (Keith Allen), invades the camp. Diaz, it ensues, has betrayed the agency by stealing a dangerous mind-control device and manages to escape in the confusion. Assigned to find Diaz in London, Cody is joined at Heathrow by his handler, Derek (Anthony Anderson), a bumbling agent who desperately wants to get back into the CIA's good graces. Cody will be posing as a music student at a top-tier boarding school — where the headmistress just happens to be married to Diaz's partner in crime, rich businessman Kenworth (James Faulkner). But Cody isn't the only undercover agent investigating Kenworth; classmate Emily (Hannah Spearritt) is a high-ranking officer in Scotland Yard. The superteens team up to recover the brain-whammy machine before the villains can use it to take over the minds of world leaders attending an upcoming conference at Buckingham Palace. Apparently recruited for his comedic talents, Anderson is far more annoying than he is entertaining — you have to wonder how Cody stands spending five minutes with Derek, let alone the time it takes to save the world's billion-dollar brains. The movie doesn't even succeed as gee-whiz spectacle; there are no cool stunts or gadgets and the CGI-effects are distractingly shoddy. Clearly modeled after Robert Rodriguez's SPY KIDS trilogy, the BANKS series completely lacks their demented imagination. Where Rodriguez has his kid heroes battle giant hands and reanimated skeletons, Cody is pitted against bush-league Blofelds with tired plans for world domination. It doesn't help that Kevin Allen — who on the basis of 1997's scabrous TWIN TOWN was a daring choice to direct a film aimed at youngsters — shows little visual flair. Continuity errors are as numerous as product placements and though shot on location, the movie captures none of London's local color. DESTINATION: ANYWHERE would have been a more appropriate title.

MIXED-ISH - In "mixed-ish," Rainbow Johnson recounts her experience growing up in a mixed-race family in the '80s and the constant dilemmas they had to face over whether to assimilate or stay true to themselves. Bow's parents Paul and Alicia decide to move from a hippie commune to the suburbs to better provide for their family. As her parents struggle with the challenges of their new life, Bow and her siblings navigate a mainstream school in which they're perceived as neither black nor white. This family's experiences illuminate the challenges of finding one's own identity when the rest of the world can't decide where you belong. (ABC/Kelsey McNeal)
MYKAL-MICHELLE HARRIS, ARICA HIMMEL, ETHAN WILLIAM CHILDRESS

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