Making the Grades
Move over Spy Kids. Step aside James Bond. Cody Banks is ready for action. Agent Cody Banks, that is.
An underground operation headed by an evil entrepreneur named Brinkman (Ian McShane) is pursuing the scientific genius of Dr. Connor (Martin Donovan). The reclusive inventor has developed microscopic nanobots that will eat oil spills and save coastlines. However, Brinkman and his henchman (Arnold Vosloo) have more deviant plans for the little chompers who can be programmed to eat almost any compound.
But trying to stop the crafty mastermind from getting hold of the minute robots has proved to be a challenge for the staff at the CIA. After a string of agents are compromised, the agency decides to take a new approach to chasing down Brinkman.
Fresh faced and loaded down with homework, Cody Banks (Frankie Muniz) looks like any other student. But in reality, he is part of the CIA's child spy ring. Recruited to attend a special summer camp, he learned the finer points of high-speed driving, hand-to-hand combat and high tech gadgetry. Now the agency needs his help in infiltrating enemy lines.
Dressed in a skin tight, low buttoned outfit, Cody's "handler" Ronica Miles (Angie Harmon) shows up in the boys' locker room at the public high school where she turns heads and triggers catcalls. After silencing the taunts with some well placed towel snaps, she uses the secret password to convince Cody to come in for a briefing session with the CIA director (Keith David). His assignment? Secure a date with Connor's daughter and find out whatever he can about her father's project.
Now only one small problem stands in Cody's way. Despite his superior training in self-defense maneuvers, this teen has zero ability when it comes to approaching girls (hardly a Bond-kind of trait). Sputtering his way through a conversation, this junior agent has to overcome his female phobia (one that doesn't seem to apply to Ronica) and secure an invitation to Natalie's upcoming birthday party.
Aimed at the teenaged crowd, this spy flick follows a predictable plot line that includes fistfights, big explosions and in this case, a man who disintegrates from the inside out, along with some mild language and sensuality. However, Agent Cody Banks is full of perks almost any adolescent boy would envy - a jet propelled snowboard, x-ray glasses, access to a hot red car and a host of support agents to take care of chores and homework assignments. Trained in techniques to take out assailants, even high school bullies don't prove to be a problem for this guy.
Still, all the gizmos and classified instruction in the world can't always alleviate fears. While this tongue-tied teen doesn't measure up to the suave superhero we've come to expect, he may appeal to average kids who have to face their own worries -- even without backup from headquarters.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Agent Cody Banks (2003).
Directors often use subtle elements to make the hero/heroine stand out from the crowd. In what ways did they spotlight Natalie and Cody in scenes that involve many other actors?
How much information could someone gather on you? Who would they talk to, what records could they access and what routines would they discover about you?