Frankie Muniz as Cody Banks
Hilary Duff as Natalie Connors
Angie Harmon as Ronica Miles
Keith David as CIA Director
Daniel Roebuck as Richard Banks
Cynthia Stevenson as Mrs. Banks
Arnold Vosloo as Molay
Ian McShane as Brinkman
“Banks, Cody Banks.” Sure it sounds derivative but imitation is the highest form of flattery and occasionally the imitation is as good as the original. “Agent Cody Banks” has a couple of things in it’s favor that the most recent James Bond movies do not.
First is that it is fresh. It does not have to live up to 30 years worth of prior expectations. It is obvious that they are making a James Bond movie starring a fifteen year old, but they have the freedom to do many things that you can not do in a Bond movie. For a fan of James Bond movies it is fun to pick out the different references to Bond films.
Second is that Cody Banks is more human than Bond. He does have flaws and he overcomes them. He is a 15 year old boy with the problems that many 15 year old boys face, he just also happens to have ridiculous CIA resources at his hands to help with them.
The target audience for the movie is probably 12 to 16 year old boys, but the good thing is that it is entertaining for people not in the target audience. Cody is given better gadgets than the last few Bonds and instead of being the ultimate lady killer he is painfully pathetic with the opposite sex. Some of the funnier moments of the movie come from Cosy’s attempts to overcome his shyness.
The action scenes are done well, although the stunt double for Frankie Muniz could have been a little closer to his size at times. One annoying aspect of the movie is the number of overt product placements within it. I do not mind seeing branded products in a movie but they should not be framed more importantly than the actors. The musical score flowed well and never overpowered the action.
Who should see this movie? If you are a fan of Frankie Muniz then you will enjoy him here. He carries the movie very well and is an easy hero to root for. There is a nice coming of age love story aspect to the movie that holds its own against the secret agent saves the world main plot. The violence is mostly modern Holywood kung-fu and fairly safe for most kids. While the plot is fairly straight-forward, the character development along the way helps it to not be so predictable. Ultimately the movie will be most enjoyed by young teenage boys, but it is also a good enough story that it will not be a sacrifice if their parents stay and watch it with them.