Lazy, smug and completely self-satisfied, this half-hearted sequel to Agent Cody Banks swaps Sean Connery suavity for Roger Moore stupidity. Ditching all the charisma and most of the half-pint Bond gags that made the original outing such an unexpected treat, Agent Cody Banks 2: Destination London follows CIA child spy Cody Banks (Frankie Muniz) as he ventures over to England in search of a renegade agent (Keith Allen) who's planning to takeover the world with a new mind control device.
Word on the grapevine suggested this wouldn't be good: original helmer Harald Zwart stormed off after learning that the budget had been slashed, and was replaced by Kevin Allen (brother of actor Keith), who foolishly announced to the press that they were writing the script as they filmed it in order to save time. Er, hello?
"AN ALMIGHTY TURKEY"
Still, no one could have expected the goose that laid the golden box office egg to turn into such an almighty turkey. Relocating the action to England and delivering less bang for the studio's buck (it must be the exchange rate), Allen spends a good half hour simply touring the sights with pointless trips to the Tower of London, the London Dungeon, the London Eye, and Big Ben. While it's nice to see our spruced-up capital in a Hollywood production, there's something all too accurate about Cody's po-faced question: "Are we on a mission here, or on vacation?"
Infiltrating a music school for gifted children gives Cody's hormones something to get excited about as he falls for fellow teen and Scotland Yard operative Emily (Hannah Spearritt, formerly of S Club 7 - and surely too old to be playing a teenager). He then proceeds to save the day with the help of his hapless CIA handler (Anthony Anderson, whose homeboy schtick is sublimely funny as always).
What occurs in between involves lots of tea-quaffing, bow tie-twiddling Brit caricatures designed to amuse American multiplexes, a Tony Blair impersonator, and a mind-controlled dog that plays the piano and pours glasses of scotch on the rocks for the evil villains. Now, what was that they said about writing the script as they went along?