AGENT CODY BANKS
There is some amusement to be found in the basic idea, even if one feels that the spy spoof genre is starting to become creatively milked out. That said, Agent Cody Banks does not do a particularly good job of it. It is a film that perpetually seems funnier on paper than it does in watching it. Rarely does anything happening on screen raise more than a vague smile. The film sits between offering up a spoofy parody of the whole spy image, a la Austin Powers and Spy Kids, and playing into it. Most of the scenes are standard adventure scenarios that are tried and true clichés of the genre, conducted without anything detectable in the way of parody the break-in to the sensor-ridden high-security complex by winch, the skier pursued by goons on snowmobiles, the climactic assault on the villains hideout with everything going up in an explosion at the end. As the Bond-ian villain of the show, Ian McShane makes disappointingly little of himself felt. Indeed, Ian McShane is almost entirely negligible as a villain we never even learn what his world domination scheme is about and he is frequently upstaged by Arnold Vosloo as his henchman.
Agent Cody Banks features Frankie Muniz, the star of tvs hit sitcom Malcolm in the Middle (2000-6). The geeky Muniz at least generates a likeable enough screen presence. The scene-stealer of the show proves to be the radiantly lovely Hilary Duff but the film does almost nothing with her.
The film certainly arrays an odd list of talent behind the camera elsewhere. The script comes from Larry Karaszewski and Scott Alexander, the co-writing team better known for biopics such as Ed Wood (1994), The People Vs Larry Flynt (1996), Man on the Moon (1999) and Big Eyes (2014). Listed among the producers credits is everybody from Madonna to Jason Alexander of Seinfeld (1990-8) fame and Robert Meyer Burnett, the director-writer of the fan favourite Free Enterprise (1998).
Dutch born director Harald Zwart had previously made his English-language debut with One Night at McCools (2001) and subsequently went onto The Pink Panther 2 (2009), the remake of The Karate Kid (2010) and the fantasy film The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones (2013).
The sequel was Agent Cody 2 Banks: Destination London (2004).