Movie Review: Agent Cody Banks (2003)

by StevenHelmer

A review of the 2003 action comedy starring Frankie Muniz and Hilary Duff.

Synopsis: A 15-year-old CIA junior agent is given his first assignment, befriend a scientist's daughter so the CIA can find out more about what the scientist is working on. The CIA gives him everything he needs to succeed but there is just one problem, he is extremely shy and has no idea how to talk to girls.

Who's In It?

Review

I came across this film on one of my movie channels early Saturday morning, when the rest of the family was still in bed. And, since I couldn't find a better alternative, I ended up watching it.

I've seen this movie before. But, that was quite a few years ago and, because of that, I couldn't remember much about it or even if I liked it. However, even though it's not a film genre I would normally spend a great deal of time watching, I found it was much more entertaining than expected.

I think the thing that really makes this movie work is the writers made sure not to make the plot overly complicated. The whole idea of a teenager being a government secret agent seemed a little unlikely. But, rather than try to complicate things by adding a bunch of details to make it more believable (something that always has the opposite effect), the film just ran with it. And, as a result of that, it managed to be much more funny.

To tell you the truth, I'm not a big Frankie Muniz fan. I never liked the show Malcolm in the Middle and always thought of him as an actor who was cast because of name recognition (especially with teenagers) than actual talent. But, I thought he did an OK job in this movie. He managed to be serious enough to keep things believable while still pulling off the comedy parts relatively well.

Of course, to be fair, I think he was helped considerably by Hilary Duff, who seemed to pick up the slack for him in the awkward teen-romance type scenes. While he wasn't bad, I don't think the movie would have been nearly as good without her helping him out.

I think my only real complaint about this movie is the bad guys. They were kind of one-dimensional and none of them had any sort of backstory. Without that, it was difficult to really feel like Cody Banks was in any real danger. This is especially true of Francois (Vosloo), who seemed like a really awesome villain but lost a little something as the movie progressed simply because we never learn anything important about him.

Final Opinion

The movie has some flaws, especially when it comes to the villains. But, it still proved to be an entertaining way to spend my early Saturday morning so I would recommend it as a result of that.

My Grade: B

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Updated: 02/13/2017, StevenHelmer
 
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