Agent Cody Banks
Directed by Harald Zwart
MGM, opens March 14

This flick takes off with the titular crime-stopper (Frankie Muniz) chasing a toddler-driven car down a Seattle hill, and it’s dispiriting that during the whole pursuit nary a fruit cart nor a pane of glass obstructs their path. Suffering from a dearth of irony, Agent Cody Banks tiptoes between parody and straight-up espionage thriller and is ultimately about as successful as an early-'80s Roger Moore Bond outing. Co-written by (among others) Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski, it would be more entertaining if the funnier Austin Powers and Spy Kids movies hadn’t beaten it to the meta-punch. Generally innocuous, except for an episode featuring a Chinese driver’s-ed instructor straight off an Abercrombie shirt, Cody Banks is notable mainly for its eccentric casting (Martin Donovan as a half-mad scientist, Sexy Beast’s Ian McShane as a Dr. Evil clone). Muniz’s stunt double, it must be said, is going places.

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