Spy Kids, the tepid kiddie James Bond romp from "serious" director Robert Rodriguez, did boffo box office and was trumpeted a smashing success. With this sequel, the director and the usual suspects return with something fresher, wittier, and altogether more entertaining.
Spy siblings Carmen (Alexa Vega) and Juni (Daryl Sabara) Cortez are now part of the OSS junior intelligence organization. They save the president’s daughter from a gonzo amusement-park ride and then set out to find an uncharted island and locate a cloaking device that can also render electrical equipment inoperable. Steve Buscemi plays the island’s mad scientist, who’s created a Noah’s Ark of genetically altered freaks (literal hybrids of cat-fish, horse-flies and spider-monkeys). Antonio Banderas and Carla Gugino return as the spy parents, and Ricardo Montalban and Holland Taylor check in as cheeky spy grandparents. There’s even a tandem of rival spy kids (Matt O’Leary and Emily Osment) to add a dash of intrigue and romance. The colorful FX spruce up the already sprightly narrative — and be sure to stick around for the Britney-esque video as the credits roll. (97 minutes)