Agent Cody Banks 2: Destination London Review
By Shawn McKenzie 04/15/2004
Even though I wasn’t a fan of the original Agent Cody Banks, I guess I could see it being a decent kiddie franchise. After seeing Agent Cody Banks 2: Destination London, I realize that they might have wanted to take a little more time to construct a decent sequel.
Cody Banks (Frankie Muniz) is the now 16-year-old undercover agent working for the C.I.A. who was introduced in the first movie. Cody has been with the agency for a year now, and is training at their junior training facility, disguised as a summer camp called Kamp Woody, at the beginning of the movie. His parents (Cynthia Stevenson & Daniel Roebuck) still don’t know about him being an agent, and though his younger brother Alex (Connor Widdows) found out his secret at the end of the first movie, he seems to not know it anymore. Cody has also apparently dumped (or was dumped by) his girlfriend Natalie, played by Hilary Duff, though her disappearance isn’t explained. Veteran agent Victor Diaz (Keith Allen), a.k.a. Captain Squishy to the parents, runs Kamp Woody, and during what appeared to be a training simulation, Diaz makes off with a top-secret mind-control software program called Softmind. The C.I.A. director (Keith David) assigns Cody the mission to get to Diaz and get the software back. Diaz plans to work with arts benefactor Lord Duncan Kenworth (James Faulkner) and dental assistant Santiago (Santiago Segura) in London to gain control over the world leaders. Cody is sent to London under the guise of a clarinet-playing musical prodigy to train at Kenworth’s London estate for Kenworth’s wife, Josephine (Anna Chancellor), who herself doesn’t know about her husband’s criminal activities. He has to work with C.I.A. agent Derek Bowman (Anthony Anderson) and his driver, Kumar (Rod Silvers) when he gets there. Derek is an American and sees this assignment as a way to get back to the USA. He too goes undercover at the Kenworth estate, posing as the cook. Cody meets Emily Sommers (Hannah Spearritt), a fellow student that he eventually learns is a fellow agent, also posing as a music student. Conductor Isambard Jerkalot (Julian Firth) is teaching Cody, Emily, and others, but Cody has to depend on a self-playing clarinet given to him by the agency’s gadget guy, Neville Trumpshaw (Paul Kaye), to get by, since he doesn’t know how to play it. The agents must stop the bad guys before they succeed in their plan to take over the minds of the world leaders at the G-7 Summit being held at the estate and controlling the Prime Minister to make Kenworth the head of the Royal Mint.
I’m going to say something that I thought I’d never say…I miss Hilary Duff. She hasn’t impressed me yet as an actress, with both the original Agent Cody Banks and The Lizzie McGuire Movie not being my favorites (I haven’t seen Cheaper by the Dozen yet), but she was more appealing than Spearritt. There was no chemistry between her and Muniz.
Speaking of no chemistry, how did this movie make the usually funny Anderson so un-funny? His character was more distracting than funny.
I was also surprised that the action and effects weren’t as impressive. This felt like such a rushed movie, and I still think that Cody should be working for a nameless agency, so it can justify stupid gimmicks like exploding Mentos candies. I did appreciate the fact that they didn’t make Cody a ineffective agent for laughs, a la Johnny English, though a lack of musical skills wasn’t as funny as the lack of girl-wooing skills from the first movie.
I don’t know if Agent Cody Banks 2: Destination London is a worse movie because it was rushed, or if the franchise was never meant to be. Since I have gotten to this review so late, I have witnessed the overwhelming failure of this film (it has earned only $22.9 million in its first five weeks of release), so I doubt we’ll be seeing a third one. In the future, if a studio finds themselves with a hit movie that could be easily franchised, they might want to not rush the sequels out until they are the same quality as the first film.
Thanks to Century Theatres for letting me see this film. Visit them at www.centurytheatres.com to find the location near you.
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