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AGENT CODY BANKS

If you (or your kids) enjoyed Spy Kids, then youíll relish this one too. Pretty much the same material, itís aimed at a slightly older set and is more loyal to its James Bond roots ó namely the comely babe in the lycra bodysuit. In this case the curvaceous form belongs to Angie Harmonís CIA agent, who "handles" the junior operative (the CIA runs "summer camps" to develop its corps of teen agents) of the title, whoís played by Frankie Muniz of TVís Malcolm in the Middle.

Codyís first assignment is to get close to the daughter of a genius scientist (Hilary Duff from TVís Lizzie McGuire) at a ritzy private school in Seattle. The scientist in question (Martin Donovan) has concocted micro-robots to help clean up the environment, but his nefarious backer (Ian McShane) wants to use the nanotechnology to take over the world. Problems arise when Cody tries to woo his target. He may have Bond gadgets, kung fu moves, and quick wits, but heís a stuttering fool when it comes to girls ó and thatís where the film finds its charm. Under Harald Zwartís direction, Munizís nerdy awkwardness and Duffís confident effervescence spark a likable chemistry. The cheesy lab-hideaway sets seem gloriously borrowed from Austin Powers, and the team of CIA agents in haz-mat suits who perform Codyís chores for him are an uproarious pickle on the side. (110 minutes).

BY TOM MEEK

Issue Date: March 13 - 20, 2003
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